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Thursday, September 26, 2013

The Lord’s Ocean of Love

Relevant Ministry Blog Schedule:
Tuesday - "About Spiritual Health in Life and Ministry"

Thursday - "About Relevant Women"

by Cyndi Coleman
Today, my daughter, Cameryn, showed me a picture she discovered of baby sea turtles hatching from their eggs. As she pulled the picture away, she remarked, “It’s too bad only a few will actually survive.” We have watched enough nature shows to know about the harsh world these tender turtles encounter beyond the nest. In fact, sadly, only 1% of these turtles survive to reach adulthood. They usually fall prey to crabs or flocks of gulls, all before they can reach the ocean. 



Upon hatching, these babies are headed straight for the ocean. It is innate within them to go straight for the water. There are no parental guides, nothing but instinct driving them. These tiny turtles have two things happening at once - predators threatening to take them out and the safety of the ocean calling them onward.

Tuesday, September 24, 2013

Works of providence

Relevant Ministry Blog Schedule:
Tuesday - "About Spiritual Health in Life and Ministry"

Thursday - "About Relevant Women"

by Nelson Roth
Big picture, providence, according to the International Standard Bible Encyclopedia, is the care that God exercises over all things that He has created, in order that they may accomplish the ends for which they were created.  


Another factor in hearing God's voice is works of providence.

Deuteronomy 29:29, "The secret things belong to the Lord our God, but the things revealed belong to us and to our children forever, that we may follow all the words of this law."

How does God reveal his will to us in circumstances? How do we have confidence in hearing his voice so that we know what to say 'yes' and 'no' to?

Proverbs 16:9, "In their hearts humans plan their course, but the Lord establishes their steps."

The illustration from last week about a ship needing two lights to be directed through a dangerous channel at night also applies to works of providence.  If we were to use circumstance alone, as a single light, we could navigate to shore from a number of directions and some routes may result in being wrecked.



We can’t make decisions pulling petals from a flower.

Thursday, September 19, 2013

A harvest is yet to come

Relevant Ministry Blog Schedule:
Tuesday - "About Spiritual Health in Life and Ministry"

Thursday - "About Relevant Women"

by Pam Roth
Fall – what a great time of the year.  Depending on where you live, you may be experiencing a harvest of grains, fruits and vegetables, or for us along the Gulf Coast – a harvest of shrimp and oysters.

Growing up in the Midwest, I vividly remember the farmers out in the fields – late at night, driving their combines through the rows of corn.  There was something magical about seeing the lights of the tractor in a sea of corn on a crisp, moonlit night.  Row by row, methodically the farmer would take down rows of corn as he swiped through his corn field.  When it was extremely dry, the movement of the combines would create a cloud of dust in the fields that would roll across the roads.  Reminding us that no matter how intriguing the process looked from a distance – it all added up to a lot of hard work and patience. 

And for the folks that harvest shrimp and oysters along the Gulf Coast, the same is true.  The equipment for harvesting may be different; but the task is still laborious.  Setting their sights on bringing in a large harvest of shrimp or oysters, many of these men and women will spend days out in the Gulf patiently waiting for the right spot to drop their nets. 

Tuesday, September 17, 2013

The witness of the Spirit

Relevant Ministry Blog Schedule:
Tuesday - "About Spiritual Health in Life and Ministry"

Thursday - "About Relevant Women"

by Nelson Roth
This story is told how skippers of ships find their way safely into certain ports.  A passenger was concerned how the ship he was sailing in could make it safely to shore in the dark of night.  Though visibility was minimal, the captain spoke with confidence.  He pointed out two lights in the distance, saying, “If the skipper keeps them lined up as one light from his position behind the wheel – we will be on perfect course and make it safely through the channel to shore.


As we listen to God, we have multiple lights to line up helping us move forward and on course.  The lights are the Word, the witness of the Spirit and works of providence.  Each is needed, and neither are intended to stand along.  When each one lines up with the other, we can be confident in hearing God.

Thursday, September 12, 2013

Life Traffic

Relevant Ministry Blog Schedule:
Tuesday - "About Spiritual Health in Life and Ministry"

Thursday - "About Relevant Women"

by Cyndi Coleman
Know the feeling when you escape getting a traffic ticket? Currently, I am on a five-year streak of “ticketlessness” that I am not eager to break! Here’s what happened a few weeks ago that almost changed everything.  I was trying to turn left across oncoming traffic. I was in the appropriate turn lane and my blinker was on; however, as I prepared to make my move, the green arrow changed - meaning I had to yield to oncoming traffic to turn. I got so focused on the fact there was a break in traffic that when the break came, the light was no longer green; it had changed to red. Of course, I noticed this as I was already turning.

Often in life, we come to intersections where change is either a must or a convenient possibility. We are in our vehicles navigating through life and our God is our divine traffic light. For the most part, we are willing to go by the light system. However, I believe I am not alone in my urge to speed when in a hurry and go when I should stop while distracted. Life gets congested and we get distracted in this rush-hour world. However, when we get negligent on the road, there are consequences to our actions. Sirens wail and we get that sinking feeling that it’s for us. I usually run through a series of really good reasons why I am breaking the law, that just maybe Mr. Officer will buy... you too? He doesn’t know me, maybe he will sympathize with me. But, the truth is, there are laws and I should do my part to drive according to them. Why? Because these laws are good for me and they keep me safe, as well as you and a multitude of other people.

Tuesday, September 10, 2013

Tuning in and hearing God

Relevant Ministry Blog Schedule:
Tuesday - "About Spiritual Health in Life and Ministry"

Thursday - "About Relevant Women"

by Nelson Roth
God has a plan for you and He is willing and eager to communicate that plan.  One very significant way God communicates is through the Bible.  Romans 10:17, "Faith comes from hearing the message, and the message is heard through the word of Christ."

If we are listening, we will be able to hear God speaking to us through the Word as we read.

Years ago, when the first Christian radio station began broadcasting in a community where I was a pastor; the station promoted their plans to go on the air on a certain day at 8:00 am.  I was excited to hear their launch and remember having my radio turned on and set to the FM numbers - 88.7, so I could hear it all.  Eight o'clock came and past, soon it was 8:10. "Something must be wrong at the station." I thought.  I read the promotional flyer that I had.  Sure enough, I had the day and time right - but, the station frequency was 88.5.  I turned the dial to the right numbers and there they were loud and clear - a favorite worship song was being broadcast over our city.

God taught me through that experience the importance of being tuned in to Him.  He has something to say and he is communicating.  In a similar way, I'm like the radio receiver and my part is to be tuned in!

Thursday, September 5, 2013

Mind the Gap

Relevant Ministry Blog Schedule:
Tuesday - "About Spiritual Health in Life and Ministry"

Thursday - "About Relevant Women"

by Pam Roth
A couple of weeks ago, I was reminded of a something that happened while I was in London with my daughter.  I was a rookie to the Underground rail system; but my daughter had traveled to other cities where she had used subways and train systems to get around, so she was the one in charge of navigating us through the web of the Underground when we were out sightseeing.    

One day, we were out on an adventure…standing in the Underground waiting on a train to come.  It was extremely crowded on the platform that day, so my daughter said, “We are going to need to move quickly, if we are going to get on this train.”  Everyone could see the lights of the train coming down the track, so they began pushing toward the edge of the platform.  The train stopped, the doors opened, and the automated message came on, mind the gap.  The crowd began to pour out as those of use waiting on the platform began to work our way toward the doors of the train.  My daughter had made it onto the train with the rush of people.  I was the next person to get on the train, when all of sudden, this man came out of nowhere – jumped in front of me and caused me to be pushed back into the crowd.  Within that moment of hesitation, everything changed.  When I looked up across the gap between the platform and the train, I saw the doors of the train closing.  There I was, standing on the platform; while my daughter was on the train.

Tuesday, September 3, 2013

The capacity to hear God

Relevant Ministry Blog Schedule:
Tuesday - "About Spiritual Health in Life and Ministry"

Thursday - "About Relevant Women"

by Nelson Roth 
The picture of a shepherd and their sheep is given a number of times in the Bible in reference to the relationship that Christians have with God.  One of the unique characteristics of that relationship is that there is communication going on! John 10:3-4, "The sheep listen to his voice ... and they know his voice."

Is hearing God to be a normal experience for a Christian?  John 8:47, "He who belongs to God hears what God says."  It certainly sounds like it doesn't it?


So, what is your experience?  Do you hear him from time-to-time?
 
Beginning today, and over the next several weeks I invite you to join me in learning about and experiencing - hearing God's voice. 

To begin, let's first consider the possibility.  Is it possible to hear God's voice?