Loneliness is something that we all struggle with. Maybe for you it's not a physical loneliness, but it's a spiritual or emotional loneliness. Our enemy wants nothing more than to make us feel alone, weak, and unwanted, but GOD's truth says so much more. In Him we are never alone, strong in our weakness, and have been chosen for a specific purpose.
2 Timothy 4:16-18:
The first time I was brought before the judge, no one came with me. Everyone abandoned me. May it not be counted against them. But the Lord stood with me and gave me strength so that I might preach the Good News in its entirety for all the Gentiles to hear. And he rescued me from certain death. Yes, and the Lord will deliver me from every evil attack and will bring me safely into his heavenly Kingdom. All glory to God forever and ever! Amen.
If you’re a parent, then this may sound familiar “You have all of these toys, why don’t you want to play with them?” Somehow we get thrown off when our busy toddlers want to climb up a table or run across the couch rather than play with their toys. Or for me lately, it’s when I may be trying to cook and both children would rather cram on top of the same stool to help me stir the food over playing together. I realize this is a season, and one day something else may capture their attention more than what I’m cooking for dinner so because of that I believe I need to soak up these moments: the moments where my presence is greater than any “present”.
I knew I would learn much more from my kids than expected. Sometimes so simple yet profound as I look down at 2 sets of beautiful eyes, one tiny tot tugging at my leg while the other asks me for the 3rd time to come check out her really cool princess party she has set up. The real need here isn’t for more of something else to fill the void, or another suggestion of what to play with or color, it’s for me. The need is for affirmation. The need is for my presence.
This same need parallels with our Heavenly Father. We may try to throw things at Him through out the day, a quick thought, request, prayer ... maybe we even present Him with a list of things we feel like we’ve done all in His honor, yet missing one of the most priceless forms of honor, our time.
There’s moments we try to prove with our busyness that we are accomplishing something for Him. But I think what He is really asking for is our presence. When we spend time with our Savior, we change. Maybe growing up you heard the saying “show me your friends, I’ll show you your future” or “you are who you hang out with”. If there’s any truth to these statements, I can’t think of a better person I’d want to be present with than God, someone who is “compassionate and gracious, slow to anger, abounding in love and faithfulness,” (Exodus 34:6). I don’t know about you but during this pandemic and while being cooped in the house, I could use some extra compassion, patience, and kindness to extend to my family during this, sometimes trying, season of life. Sitting at the feet of the One who gives peace that exceeds anything we can understand, a peace that guards our hearts and minds vs sitting at the mercy of the news or my social media feed is going to benefit me much more.
“Then you will experience God’s peace, which exceeds anything we can understand. His peace will guard your hearts and minds as you live in Christ Jesus.” Philippians 4:7 NLT
There’s a key part or that verse, “as you live in Christ Jesus.” When we live in Him, learning our Savior more, we gain attributes that the world can’t give us. Supernatural peace (John 14:7) and wisdom (James 1:5) are a few attributes that we could all use while navigating through the current worldwide crisis we are facing.
Life may be tugging at you in a thousand different directions right now. During a season of quarantining and being socially distanced from friends, family, extra curricular activities, church etc. expectations are all over the place and plans have changed. Your load may be heavier than normal.
Today consider basking in His presence, leaving behind the assumption that you must have a completed checklist or an entertainment schedule for the day to be acceptable. Instead of asking, “what can I get done”, contemplate asking “what can wait?”. The gains we will receive from His presence will exceed any Earthly “present”.
Drew & Valerie Blackston with Special Guests Sonny & Cindy Zentmeyer
In this video podcast, Anchor Movement welcomes special guests Sonny & Cindy Zentmeyer with 2b1life.com to share tips on how marriages and families can become stronger in these uncertain times. During this global crisis, families and relationships can experience added stresses that come with excessive amounts of quality time, being creative with our children, and the challenges that come from economic upheaval. We can choose to turn these situations into faith building moments that make the family unit stronger instead of allowing fear and lack of control to destroy the blessing that GOD has designed family to be. Join us to learn tips that will benefit your marriage and family during this COIVD-19 pandemic and in the years to come. Below is a resource developed by Sonny and Cindy to help your family have a "Strategic Plan to Move Through Trials and Come Out Stronger on the Other Side."
Then Jesus said, “Come to me, all of you who are weary and carry heavy burdens, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you. Let me teach you, because I am humble and gentle at heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy to bear, and the burden I give you is light.”
Where we live in the Tampa Bay Area we are surrounded by water on all sides. Anytime we are driving from one place to the next, there is a pretty good chance that you will have to use a bridge to go over some body of water. One of the most famous bridges in our area is called the Sunshine Skyway Bridge. If you’ve never seen it or driven over this massive icon, the Skyway Bridge is 430 feet tall and is the is considered the longest cable stayed concrete bridges in the world. For work, I have the opportunity to drive over the Skyway about once and week and I notice something every time I get to the top of the bridge: I lose cell phone service. Now I know this sounds weird because at 430 feet above the ground I should have perfect cell phone service, but something about the bridge and crossing Tampa Bay causes my phone to either lose all service or go down to only one bar. If I happen to be on the phone, hands free of course, when I start my ascent up the bridge, the person on the other end sounds like an old radio transmitter. I get bits and pieces of the conversation, but nothing more than that. It’s not until my car starts its decent on the other side of the bridge that I begin to hear what the other person is saying clearly again. Sometimes, I feel like our conversations with GOD are like my phone conversations crossing the Skyway Bridge. On my end, I am speaking clearly and I can hear myself, but on GOD’s end I’m only picking up bits and pieces. Like my cell phone with zero bars, I don’t know if GOD’s actually speaking because I can't hear anything through my receiver. I know that many Christians feel the same way and that is why I wanted to write this blog post in our “Back to Basics” series. I believe that GOD speaks to us in more ways than we know, but we aren’t tuned in to how He is speaking. Let’s look at 3 simple ways that GOD speaks directly to you and identify those moments so that you can be better prepared to hear the direction of our Creator.
1. Reading your Bible
“Your word is a lamp to guide my feet and a light for my path.”
Psalms 119:105 NLT
GOD is always speaking to us. Maybe not verbally, but He is always speaking through His written word. In America, we have the amazing opportunity to have the Word of GOD, the Bible, at our fingertips whenever we want. Whether it's the physical book, online, or in the Bible App, the Bible is readily available at all times and in all places. Throughout the 66 books of the Bible, GOD is speaking in every one of them. From Genesis to Revelation, the Bible is filled with the wisdom, direction, and even humor of GOD. When we read the Bible, we are not just reading a book, but we are reading the actual words of GOD. Have you ever noticed that when a certain situation has come up in your life and you go to read the Bible, what you are going through seems to show up in the pages you are reading? I know that I have. That is GOD speaking directly to you through the pages of your Bible. Don’t discount the Word of GOD as just a good book to live by. Hebrews 4:12 says the Word of GOD is “living and active” and “it exposes our innermost thoughts and motives.” You could say the Bible is our cell phone to Heaven connecting us directly to GOD our Father. When you question whether or not you are hearing GOD, open up your Bible and see what His Word says about your specific situation. Your physical Bible has a concordance in the back and Bible apps give you the ability to search for anything you want.
2. Through other people
“Teach a wise man what is right and he’ll grow even wiser. Instruct the lovers of God and they’ll learn even more.” Proverbs 9:9 TPT
Many times GOD will use other people to speak directly to us. Whether it's a pastor's sermon, the counsel of a close friend, or even a strangers quick conversation, GOD oftentimes speaks through those around us. In my own life, I have seen where the words of my wife have been the wisdom of GOD in many different situations. In other situations, the words from a podcast or sermon have touched my life and spoken something directly to me. In one moment I might be stressing about bills or expenses and then GOD will bring me across a particular podcast where the preacher is urging listeners to remember the promises of GOD on provision and abundance. Instantly I realize that GOD is speaking to me through that podcast and reminding me of His promises over my life. In the scripture referenced above, Solomon is urging an already wise man to listen and be taught so that he can become wiser. What is the secret to becoming wiser? Listen to wise people. How do we hear the voice of ultimate wisdom which is GOD the Father? Listen to the wisdom that He has put in other people.
3. In your heart
“And now in these final days, he has spoken to us through his Son.
Hebrews 1:2 NLT
The most common way that GOD speaks to you and to me is through the Holy Spirit Who lives on the inside of us. In order for us to hear the voice of GOD, we have to put ourselves into position to hear His voice clearly. If you read one of our recent posts, “How do I study the Bible (click here to read)” you’ll remember that one point to having good study time is to put away all distractions. The same is true for hearing the voice of GOD. When you have a conversation with someone, can you really hear them if you are constantly looking at your phone or watching TV? In the same way, how can we hear the voice of GOD if we are surrounding ourselves with distractions in our prayer time. There’s a difference between distracting ourselves and distractions around us. We can push through the distractions around us and focus solely on talking and listening to GOD, but it's much harder to hear GOD’s voice when we are the ones putting the distractions in place. A book that I highly recommend is “The GOD I never knew” by Pastor Robert Morris (click here to buy on Amazon) which dives deeper into recognizing and hearing the voice of the Holy Spirit.
GOD is always speaking, the question is are we listening? Through His Word, other people, and the Holy Spirit, GOD is always giving us opportunities to hear His voice.
Over the next several weeks and months, Anchor Movement is going to focus on a series called “Back to the Basics” where we answer and define what it actually means to be a Christian. We want to answer some of the questions that new and old believers have in their walk of faith. Some examples include, “How to study the Bible,” and “Why should I go to church.” If you have a question you’d like us to answer or explore on the blog, go to our connect page and leave your response or visit our Instagram page here and leave your response in the comments.