Listening to the Voice of God

 Recently our Pastor has been talking about listening to God’s voice. To do this, we have to be able to know His voice. To know His voice, we have to be in frequent communication with Him. We must also know the Word of God, reflecting constantly on what we read in the Bible. As well as ongoing intimate prayer time, we must learn to wait on Him and ‘listen’. if we are to simply recite off a slew of petitions and then close down prayer time at that time, it is not being receptive to hearing from Him.

One has to wonder then, why do we pray? Is our time of prayer a means of asking for things or to cry and complain about  our lot in life? Or are we really striving to be intimate with our Abba Father? Do we really want a relationship with Him or are we using Him and His open heart to be our own personal sounding board? I ask myself this from time to time and looking back on my life over these past forty plus years, I can see many times when I have failed miserably. I will also admit with as much humility as I can muster, that thankfully  I am able to see growth too. I would say, that like a child developing into a teen and then a young adult, there are times of growth often in spurts. Months or even years when it would seem things are at a standstill, whilst friends and classmates are stretching beyond in inches and feet, growing faster and stronger in our human eyes. Such a child often feels frustrated and though he would like to be bigger, taller and more mature physically, but there is nothing he or she can do to control these spurts. Or is there? I recall two of my rather short for their age brothers spending hours hanging from a monkey bar set, trying desperately to gain some height. They may have ended up with longer arms but they remained undertall well into manhood. Handsome brothers but not tall by any means! I recall my own son telling me when he was about ten or twelve years old, “Mom, I am aiming to be six foot two one day.” Cute and adorable my son, but you will be what you will be. He might have surrounded himself with disappointment to the extreme or he could accept what God had always intended from before he was born…In the meantime, I watched him grow inwardly and I stood by his side with pride as he became wise beyond his years compared to many friends and classmates his age. He is now a rather nice five foot ten as an adult. What he could control during his years of development was how he nourished his body both nutritionally and athletically.

In my own times of growth, I can see where I stepped forward and allowed myself to be molded and shaped by various life’s circumstances. For every stagnant lapse, there were more times of growth. I am happy to say that this year as I creep reluctantly towards my 65th birthday, I am still learning. I am still growing and learning to rely on God. I am praying and listening; I am praising and waiting for His guidance and direction.

I write this as I sit on an airplane heading for my homeland after a brief trip to the frigid North (Vermont). My husband sits on my right side, deeply engrossed in his book on his ipad and listening to some country tunes. It is as though I am alone. But on my left side is a very nice looking gentleman. He has been quiet and just as I wondered if God wanted me to talk to him about Jesus and Salvation, the flight attendant came by offering soft drinks. The man whose life I was about to change forever, reached across me to accept a ginger ale; he excused himself to me and I almost PASSED OUT…the dear man has to have the worst breath I have even beheld on any human being…in fact, even worse than my stinky dogs’ breaths! Oh my dear Lord, surely this is your way of telling me to “Be still…” I shall herein now pause this missive to pray for this man and his eternal soul, because my dear sweet Jesus, I cannot talk to him.

What would YOU do?

*** After a time of intense prayer, I took out some breath mints, offering one first to my husband and then to him. He declined politely! So being the creative person that I am, I  then, in about five minutes flat, compiled a slide show on my own Ipad of various scripture quotes and lovely photos accompanied by inspirational messages of Salvation and so on. I set up the ipad so that he could easily follow along and sat back closing my eyes….

Again I ask….what would YOU do?

 

Freezing Bermudians

snowy car
We should have known when in the early dawn, this was the site that greeted us in our Vermont driveway……
But we are BRAVE Bermudians. And yes, to clarify, though I have lived all my adult life in Bermuda (ahem…more than 43 years), and I was born and bred in North-Eastern Canada, this little girl is totally Bermudianized and I do NOT care for temperatures below 40 degrees!
So at four o’clock in the afternoon, my adventurous husband and I set off for Foxborough, just outside Boston to enjoy an NFL game…specifically the New England Patriots versus the Denver Broncos, a promise of an exciting game for sure. Did I mention that this stadium which seats close to 100,000 people is OUTDOORS? and that the only tickets my darling husband could procure were in the nose-bleed section? IN THE WIND? Yes but we dressed warmly….I mean, we were so prepared, what could a little arctic freeze do to spoil our fun? In preparation for this, I even stopped shaving my legs for two days, telling Ray those few little scraggly hairs would add to my blanket of warmth. But I digress and I am once more sharing too much information. But honestly, with three pairs of socks, tights and two pairs of warm slacks, boots, a heavy wool blanket etc etc, well…..you will understand….
Snowy Game
ya see? It is not a pretty site!
To shorten this rather wordy report, I lost feeling in one foot after a half an hour but I was courageous as I huddled against the gale force (???) winds. The game itself started off very badly if one was a Patriots fan so the mood around us was not pleasant. Both Ray and I were blown away at the foul language and hateful snide remarks shouted at the top of drunken (at least that is my explanation) voices all around. Perhaps Ray was not as shocked since he had been to several such games throughout the years but I was saddened and disgusted. The game continued to go downhill and other parts of my body began to ice up. My fingers did not belong to me but rather were encased somewhere in the woolen mittens I wore. At least I hoped at the time that someday that’s where they would be found. Thankfully my back and head were warm but my face was as frozen as a new Botox recipient. Hey, maybe there was a silver lining here? by the time the second quarter was well underway, I was trembling. I no longer reacted to the foul messages being sent forth around me. Instead I spoke the love and warmth of Jesus over myself and all my loved ones, should this be the way I would be finally leaving this earth. They say just before you freeze to death, you get very very sleepy. I tried yawning a few times to test the expected time of my impending doom but once too often my jaw stayed that way and Ray had to force it shut! Well, this IS my blog and I can exaggerate if I feel the need to draw in any readers. The point was, I would not die seated in row 15 at the second to top tier of that massive stadium. I began to feverishly make plans for another day on this earth. Hurray….Perhaps tomorrow I would sit all day by a blazing fire in our cute pot-belly stove? hmmm
OK the 2 minute warning sounded and Ray promised that since it was such a terrible game anyway and I had suffered enough penance to earn 1000 people their way out of purgatory IF I were still a catholic so I perked up and peeped from under the blanket. Did I mention that most football players played the game in SHORT sleeved shirts???? I was aghast! By the way, any of you who may watch NFL games know that TWO MINUTES on the clock do NOT mean two actual minutes. I would have cried but any moisture in or around my eyes had long since frozen solid. I looked at my darling, handsome, protective husband and without a complaint, he smiled angelically (well that is how I saw it), took my arm and said, “Come on honey, let’s go home!” I fell madly, deeply and passionately in love AGAIN!

Colour Infusion

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As I sit here in Vermont on this rather cold November day, my heart pines for some homeland colour and warmth. While I love having this get-a-way time away from Bermuda, it is funny that I would purposely choose such a bleak time of year. At this time of year, the beautiful colours Fall leaves have faded into blah. Most trees are bare, the ground is brown and grey. The sun is hidden behind a blanket of gloomy grey clouds and even people are mostly dressed in greys, black and ugly browns.
So to brighten up this day I have decided to post some of my favourite colourful photos of my Bermuda homeland. Hope you will enjoy them and imagine yourself on a warm tropical beach….

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Far Above What I Asked For

Something happened this afternoon that got me thinking…..You see, I had made an appointment for an hour’s long deep-tissue massage. I was excitedly looking forward to what I know from past experiences to be an hour of blissful relaxation with much needed soothed muscles. A good massage can leave one with a type of euphoria that lasts for days, even well into the following week. It has to be among the best forms of stress relief and relaxation.

This appointment was not an inkling to what I had been expecting. My anticipation that drove me through the morning could be said to have suffered a great defeat. I didn’t have strong hands rub and massage my tired old muscles. I didn’t feel that I ought to hire said masseuse for my own personal service on an ongoing daily basis.

This massage was not at all the answer I had sought for my aches and pains…. It was FAR BETTER!

This kindly gentleman masseuse  asked one  question before serving up the “answer” to my simple plea. Was I having trouble  in a specific area?  Realizing that I was suffering with neck and shoulder pain for some weeks now, he knew what I needed today. I could have enjoyed the traditional and even specific request to my needs  but being armed with full knowledge of my problems, he instead gave me JUST WHAT I NEEDED.

I shan’t go into details on the wonderful treatments on  my neck and shoulders since it is technical and pertinent to my own issue. I only state that I feel revitalized and strong. Instead let me relate what occurred to me when I came home to my husband.

Sometimes we ask God for specific answers to our various needs. As believers, we wait with excited anticipation. We KNOW without a doubt that our awesome God answers prayers and we know He wants to bring us peace in our lives. The reality is that He alone knows just what we need for each situation. He even knows that in giving us what we need, sometimes He has to allow us to travel different paths. Often times we even have to endure new pain and aches as He makes known to us where we should be.

“His ways are not our ways…”

Are we willing to submit to Him that He knows best how to bring forth blessings, healings, restoration and redemption in our lives?       Or do we want to limit God? Sure He can bring us what we ask for in prayer. But more than likely He has even more for us!

“For what father, knowing his child needs bread, brings him instead a stone…”

I did not come home today with the satisfaction of having had a good long massage. I came home with the knowledge that old kinks and creaks have been broken and with continued attention to stretches and exercise, I can look forward to a painless future.

This man gave me more than I asked for. He granted me far beyond what I paid for.

Jesus Christ wants to give us more than we could ever even think of asking for. He wants to be limitless in provision for us. He wants to pour out blessings that go on and on so that we can testify to His love and mercy.

What will you be thankful for looking to Christ in all areas of your life?

My God is Limitless!

A New Song

Do you ever wake up with an annoying song stuck in your head? Or some silly little TV advert? Worse yet….some children’s nursery rhyme on auto-rewind?!!

Well for the past week, I have started each day  with a new song that is lovely, comforting and ever-present with me as I go about my rather ordinary life. Now this could have presented a problem once upon a time because I rarely know ALL the words to any one song. That in itself can be torture to my feeble mind but then again years of such experiences have made me quite creative as I replace my own words to fill in such gaps in the repertoire that is my mind. But for some months  now  and I suspect every day from here on in, the words and music are clear and concise;  the melody is sweet; the music unforgettable. And I rest assured even  Bach could not compete.

I remember one day not so long ago, when my heart was heavy and my thoughts were troubled. You see, though I had been a Christian for many years, I had come to a place where I was not being fed and nourished Spiritually. I was attending a church just for the sake of duty and I was surrounded by nominal lukewarm believers. I thought that I would ‘get by’ feeding myself here and there with little tidbits of Scripture when I could make time. A dangerous game I was playing. The time became less and less and I allowed worldly matters to consume my days. Oh I wasn’t out bar-hopping or creating a ruckus but worse perhaps, I allowed myself to be satisfied with less than I  deserved and certainly less than God did. I knew I loved Jesus and I knew, without a doubt, that He loved me. I knew I was His child and was safe even, under His wings,  but I was settling for second best. In all of this,  depression crept upon me and tears flowed daily. I was putting blame everywhere but where it belonged. I had taken my eyes off the prize. I had set standards according to my feelings and attitudes.

Then came the day when I walked through the doors of a gathering that was serving up a great feast. The banquet hall set before me that day was made up of serious children of God worshipping Him freely with joy abounding! As I looked through my own tears, I began to recognize each and every person there as a long-lost brother or sister. I began to realize that this was the family God intended me to be a part of. Having been surrounded from my youth with ten loving brothers and sisters, I knew that they were just the beginning of a real family God had in store for me. And I did not have to wait until eternity to know the true love and joy of such fellowship. As the Praise  music faded, the Pastor came forth and began that morning, a year or so ago, to bring me into his fold. He and the other Godly Pastors taught that to be a Christian itself is not enough. It was never intended for any of us to rest on our laurels. God never meant for us to settle and stay in one place. At any age, He still had plans for us to prosper, not in the worlds’ ways but in His ways. He wants to use a lady in her 60’s as much as a man in his prime. He wants to see us grow daily. He wants to heal us and make all things new. He wants to bless us with His mercy and grace every morning and He wants to give us a new song in our hearts.

As I write this, I reflect on my new time of prayer and praise, my learning more and reaching farther. Still, there is much to be done. I still must place one foot in front of the other; I still fail too often but belonging to a family such as I have discovered on this small island of Bermuda, in this tiny church, with God’s dear people, has made me sing anew each day!

“I call upon your name Lord, the name above all names….You are the One Jesus…”cropped-2323232327ffp35-nu326-577578wsnrcg32359363955-nu0mrj.jpg