The Way Everlasting

by Christina Rose

Search me, God, and know my heart; test me and know my anxious thoughts.  See if there is any offensive way in me, and lead me in the way everlasting.” Psalm 139:23-24 NIV

God speaks to us through His Word; the more we study it the more likely we are to recognize and obey His voice. We can pray to release any anxious thoughts that might be interfering with receiving His words. We can also pray to receive more wisdom from the written Word and to trust in what we hear.

“If any of you lacks wisdom, you should ask God, who gives generously to all without finding fault, and it will be given to you. But when you ask, you must believe and not doubt, because the one who doubts is like a wave of the sea, blown and tossed by the wind.” James 1:5-6 NIV

When Moses led the Israelites to freedom they reached the Red Sea with the Egyptians in hot pursuit. Moses listened for God who told him to raise his staff over the Red Sea which then parted allowing the Israelites to cross. Once they were safely through, God then told Moses to again raise his staff so that the walls of the sea would descend upon the advancing Egyptians thus destroying them.

It was Joshua’s listening to God’s instructions that allowed the walls of Jericho to fall and the city to be conquered for God’s glory.  It was Noah’s listening to God’s instructions on how to build the ark that saved him, his family and the animals of the earth from destruction. “My sheep listen to my voice; I know them, and they follow me” (John 10:27 NIV).

 During a very challenging time when sleep escaped me, I cried out, “God, I can’t sleep!”  I heard God answer me, “Talk to me, I never sleep.” My worries dissolved as I poured out my troubles, listened for answers and journaled into my notebook. “He will never let me stumble, slip, or fall. For he is always watching, never sleeping” (Psalm 121:3-4 TLB).

My eyes fell on a beautiful bouquet of sunflowers as I entered the market, but when I reached for them, I heard, “No, buy pink roses.” This made no sense to me, so I dismissed it and put the sunflowers in my cart.  I then heard, “Your flowers are dead, buy pink roses.”  Strangely enough my sunflower bouquet seemed to be wilting and turning brown right in front of me.  Again, the words “pink roses, pink roses,” kept overwhelming me until at last I returned the sunflowers and bought the pink roses.

Michelle was entering the market as I was leaving.  Her eyes fell on the pink roses and she collapsed in heart wrenching sobs. “Michelle, what’s wrong?” I asked.  She answered, “Today is the anniversary of Caroline’s death. I’ve been up all night praying that God would send me a sign to show me that Caroline is okay and that He hears me.  When Caroline died, everyone sent me pink roses and my house was filled with them. Pink roses remind me of her. They remind me of all the people who cared about us.  Now seeing your pink roses makes me think that God hears me and cares.” 

Michelle’s daughter Caroline was about to enter 3rd grade with my daughter a few years ago when she was carried away by a sleeper wave and drowned. She was a beautiful little blond girl full of joy and smiles who followed her mom everywhere. “Michelle, I wasn’t going to buy these pink roses, but I had such a strong feeling that I must buy them. I know God was the one guiding me to buy these for you.” I handed her the pink roses, and we hugged some more.  When we ask God to know our hearts and commit our ways to Him, He will lead us in the way everlasting.

“Then the righteous will shine like the sun in the kingdom of their Father. Whoever has ears, let them hear.”  Matthew 13:43 NIV

This article is brought to you by the Advanced Writers and Speakers Association (AWSA).

About the author: Christina Rose is an author, trainer and speaker certified by the John Maxwell Team of Leadership.  She is a DAR (Daughter of the American Revolution) whose ancestors fought in the Revolutionary War. She is a world traveler, surfer, foodie, cappuccino loving chocoholic and a devoted mom to kids and dogs and auntie to many nieces and nephews who live around the world.

Christina’s book, My Appeal to Heaven, is her story. With her young family on the verge of falling apart, Christina finds herself in a desperate situation with no resources other than herself.  After appealing to heaven, the Lord takes her on a journey of awakening and miraculous empowerment. That power is available to us all, especially those who need hope and freedom.

Join the conversation: Has God ever made a choice clear for you? What happened? Please share!

Enlarge My Ears

by Deborah McCormick Maxey

Speak Lord. Your servant is listening.  1 Samuel 3:9 NIV

Please Lord, enlarge my ears, so I can hear you better!

Our house overlooks a lake. On any morning, in every season, we sit outside and listen to the bevy of bird songs around us. My goodness, they can be so loud! I especially love the jungle type sound of the pileated woodpeckers, and the melodious coo of the doves. There are tons of birds in our cove. Sometimes the “caw caw caw” of a murder of crows drowns out every other species when they begin to “scold” as something around them has been disturbed. At other times, a low ceiling in the atmosphere causes us to hear the sounds of large trucks on a distant highway or the lonesome sound of a train whistle that is even further away.  But I always go back to tuning into the sounds of the birds and watching which birds make which noise as they approach the feeders near our deck.

Tuning into birds is very much like tuning into God. We must turn down the other noises first to hear Him. Noises that tempt us to do something first, other than read His Word, pray, do acts of service, or go to church. Extraneous things sound loud at times. We reason or justify the noises that eventually drown out His voice. We didn’t sleep well, what if we fall asleep in church? Would it be better to just stay home? We feel a call to donate to a cause and start to rationalize: wasn’t that the same charity that got caught with their administration’s hands in the till just a few years ago?

Many noises can stop us from hearing. We set our priorities wrong, or we have a vain goal that we push towards and ignore the little urges and signs He sends our way to “hold up.” He wants us to do something different.  Ignoring our intuition (one way He speaks to us through His Holy Spirit) can often lead to calamity.

Maybe we would be more responsive to His warnings if we had Hollywood soundtrack music that rang in our ears. You know, the deep moaning tones they use in movies when trouble is afoot? Or upbeat music that signals everything is going great!

But the Lord does indeed use everything to speak to us. We don’t just use our senses to listen! And when we listen, we don’t always obey.

The Holy Spirit speaks, but we must train our brains and hearts to hear. And we must keep asking and listening because God likes diversity. He didn’t tell Moses to strike a rock the second time for water. Moses just took it upon himself to hit a similar rock in the same way, because, well…that worked the first time. But our precious Lord wants us to always be close and listen, to come to Him with everything, all the time. We can’t rely on a formula. What He instructed us to do one time may not be the route He wants us to take the next.

Take the manna from heaven, for example. What a fitting example! God told His people: I will provide for you one day at a time. Don’t try and outfox that.  So, when the Israelites tried to store manna, it became full of maggots and was not just inedible, it was disgusting!  That story highlights what a close walk God wants with us. He isn’t giving us a map, he’s asking us to use him like a GPS and hear Him while He guides us with constant direction, “Turn this way. Stop here. Watch out, slow moving traffic ahead.”

I marvel at this thought: I ask, and the author of my soul speaks. When I listen, I am connected to the Creator of the Universe, the Holy of Holies, Master of Everything! The Alpha and Omega is speaking to little ole me. What a miracle! I am more than a vapor on the wind to Him. I am important, and He wants to guide me!  I’m not insignificant or absentmindedly created, then put on a shelf until I yell for help. Our great omnipotent, sovereign God wants me to know He’s in every second of my life. Me!

And you!

This article was brought to you by the Advanced Writers and Speakers Association (AWSA).

About the author: A licensed therapist, Deborah McCormick Maxey retired from her counseling practice in 2020 to joyfully invest her energy in writing Christian fiction, devotions, and her website that focuses on miracles.  

The Endling: A Novel by [Deborah Maxey]

Deborah’s debut novel, The Endling, is available for preorder on Amazon, due to release (by Firefly Southern Fiction/Iron Stream Media) on May 11, 2021. Native American Emerson Coffee is the last surviving member of her tribe. When US Marshals inform her she’s being hunted by a mob hit man, Emerson declines their offer of witness protection. But when three innocent children become caught in the crosshairs, Emerson must decide if she will risk it all—her mountains, her heritage . . . even her life—to secure their safety. 

Join the conversation: Have you ever “heard” from God? Please share your story!

How to Successfully Partner with God

by Debbie Wilson @DebbieWWilson

I’d stayed home from church because I wasn’t feeling well. Instead of a relaxing morning, an inexplicable urgency burdened my heart for someone I’d never met. Months earlier a friend had confidentially asked me to pray for this woman, but what did this mean? Was she in trouble? Why was I feeling this now? What was I to do?

“Should I ask for her number and call her?” I asked my husband when he returned home.

“I think you should pray. When you need to do more God will show you.”

Monday morning Larry called from work. Sunday afternoon the woman had left a message on our ministry phone line. She wanted to meet with me.

Another time God burdened me to pray for a neighborhood teen that I learned had gotten involved with drugs. I yearned to talk to her. I reached out, but her mother wasn’t receptive. One day as I drove home and spotted her house, concern for her crushed me. I poured out my distress to God.

Within days of that experience the doorbell rang. The teen I’d prayed for stood at my door, locked out of her house. I invited her in, and God gave us a wonderful connection. I offered her something to take and read. She seemed genuinely grateful.

None of these burdens came at my bidding. But when they landed I had to pray. The urgency was all consuming.

You might think that after God brought each of them to me, it wasn’t long until I saw lasting transformation in each of them. I did not.

Deeper hardening followed temporary repentance in one. But since God loved these women enough to burden one of His children to pray for them and orchestrated opportunities for them to receive spiritual healing I can’t believe either of their stories with Him is over.

When we do our part we’ve successfully partnered with God, whether we see the results or not. Our part is to respond to His leading in the power of the Holy Spirit and leave the results to Him. We don’t know if our role falls in the beginning, middle, or end of someone’s story. It may be someone else’s role to gather the fruit of many people’s labor.

It’s not important who does the planting, or who does the watering. What’s important is that God makes the seed grow.” 1 Corinthians 3:7 NLT

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debbie wilsonBio: Debbie W. Wilson is an ordinary woman who has experienced an extraordinary God. Drawing from her personal walk with Christ, twenty-four years as a Christian counselor, and decades as a Bible teacher, Debbie speaks, writes, and coaches to help women discover relevant faith. She is the author of Little Women, Big God and Give Yourself a Break. She and her husband, Larry, founded Lighthouse Ministries in 1991. Share her journey to refreshing faith at her blog. debbieWwilson.com

Join the conversation: Has God ever burdened you to pray for someone?