Tag Archives: Jesus

A Cheap Imitation?

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“Whoever claims to live in him must walk as Jesus did…  Anyone who claims to be in the light but hates his brother is still in the darkness.” 1 John 2:6,9

A couple of weeks ago, I had lunch with a dear friend of mine I hadn’t seen in years.  Over a bizarre series of events, God brought us back in contact with each other, and I couldn’t wait to catch up on all that was going on in her life.  As we visited, she began opening up about the struggles she was facing.  It was soon obvious to both of us that she was at a crossroad.  As a fellow believer in Christ, I asked her where her faith was in all that was going on and if she had prayed over these issues.  Her response was heartbreaking.  This is what she told me.

I don’t think I believe in religion anymore.   Over the past few years, I have seen more love in non-Christians than Christians.  In fact, most of the Christians I know are full of anger, hate and self-righteousness.  Honestly, I just don’t know if I believe in a Heaven where these self-proclaimed Christians are going to spend eternal life just because they believed in Jesus.  I’m beginning to question if I believe in Jesus at all anymore.

Wow.  I was speechless.  She proceeded to tell me of some of the encounters she had experienced with her Christian family and friends.  As I listened, I was shocked at what she shared, and quite honestly, sickened from the words and actions of my fellow brothers and sisters in Christ.  God, in His infinite wisdom and impeccable timing, had brought this friend back into my life, and when she made these statements, I knew exactly why.  You might think it was for me to win her back to Christ (and eventually, I pray that it is), but as I sat there, I realized God was, once again, molding me in my Christian walk.  I began to question if I was showing the true face of Jesus to those around me?  Is love, acceptance and forgiveness what I lead with in my witness to others or do I come across as arrogant, close-minded and unloving as the Christians she had been encountering?  Was I, in fact, a cheap imitation of Christ?

As followers of Jesus, we are called to show the world around us glimpses of Heaven.  We are to strive to live differently, while at the same time, recognizing we too are sinners.  We are to celebrate being a child of God, while acknowledging so is everyone else.  We must concede that God loves each of us equally, and He is desperate for each of us to ultimately come home to Him.    Yes, I am called to hold those around me accountable, but I am also called to do this with love as my motivation – not my selfish, human inspired agenda!  As sinners saved by the precious blood of Christ, who are we to throw stones in the first place?  Remember the adulterous woman in the temple courts?  Jesus point blank asked “If any one of you is without sin, let him be the first to throw a stone at her” (John 8:7)   Yes, Jesus held people accountable.  Yes, He was angry at the sin He encountered.  Yes, He was frustrated with this fallen world.  But, His love overpowered any other emotion He was feeling, and Jesus tells us to do the same – “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” (John 13:34-35).  “Whoever claims to live in (Christ) must walk as Jesus did… anyone who claims to be in the light but hates his brother is still in the darkness” (1 John 2:6,9).  Oh Lord, please don’t allow me to live in the darkness – help me to truly understand it is love that wins others to Christ!

I will be held accountable one day – for my words, my actions, and ultimately my servanthood to our Mighty King.  I pray on that day He will say the words of my mouth and meditations of my heart were pleasing in His sight (Psalm 19:14), but more importantly, I pray He will say He knew me because I looked like His Son – I loved like His Son – I exuded peace like His Son – I practiced patience like His Son – I forgave like His Son – I was gentle and kind like His Son.  This is  how He will recognize each of us.  This is how others around us will recognize Him.  As a family of believers, let us remember, we are always giving glimpses of His wonderful glory – today, may we grasp the power this responsibility gives us in leading others to Christ or away from Him.

Thank you Lord today, for faith, hope and love – help me to remember the greatest of these is love (1 Corinthians 13:13), and help me to always lead with that.

Until next time, practicing my best imitation of our King… Katie

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Past Perfect

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1 Corinthians 5:7-8 “Get rid of the old yeast that you may be a new batch without yeast – as you really are.  For Christ, our Passover lamb, has been sacrificed.  Therefore let us keep the Festival, not with the old yeast, the yeast of malice and wickedness, but with bread without yeast, the bread of sincerity and truth.”

Over the past few months I have become fascinated with the feasts of the Old Testament.  Just a few years ago, this subject matter would have bored me to tears; however, lately, God has opened my eyes to the remarkable foreshadowing He gives us through these feasts in  the arrival of His One and Only Son, His subsequent death and resurrection, and finally the day when Jesus Christ will return.  Our great God has an incredible and intricate plan laid out specifically for us to recognize His Son, and the commandments of these celebrated feasts given to the Israelites in the Old Testament directly demonstrate His illustrious design to us in the 21st century. 

The feasts celebrated by His chosen people became and remain unique and unusual.  The term “feasts” in Hebrew literally means “appointed times.”  They are intended to be a time of meeting between God and man for “holy purposes,” and they certainly reveal a special story to us as Believers in Jesus Christ as our Messiah.  This week, as Easter approaches and we celebrate our risen Savior, I thought it would be the ideal time to revisit the symbolism in three of the seven feasts given in the pages of the Old Testament.

Friday, we celebrate the Passover.  As the Israelites were preparing to escape from their bondage in Egypt, God gave them their first festival – the Lord’s Passover.  It celebrated the protection the Lord gave His chosen people from the final destructive plague on the Egyptians before they set them free.  The Israelites were to sacrifice an unblemished lamb and put its blood on the sides and tops of the doorframes of their houses in order to be saved from the angel of death.  Then, they were to eat the meat of the lamb.  This is the Lord’s Passover (Exodus 12:4-14).  Today, we celebrate Jesus Christ as our Passover Lamb.  “For you know that it was not with perishable things such as silver or gold that you were redeemed from the empty way of life handed down to you from your forefathers, but with the precious blood of Christ, a lamb without blemish or defect.  He was chosen before the creation of the world, but was revealed in these last times for your sake” (1 Peter 1:18-20).  The celebration of the Passover began in the evening at dusk and continued until the next day at dusk.  Jesus Christ ate the Passover meal with His disciples, then, He was slaughtered as our Passover Lamb.

Saturday, we celebrate the Feast of Unleavened Bread.  The day after the Lord’s Passover, God established the Feast of Unleavened Bread.  This particular feast was one that truly caught my attention this year. Leaven, also known as yeast, symbolizes sin in the scriptures.  “Get rid of the old yeast that you may be a new batch without yeast – as you really are.  For Christ, our Passover lamb, has been sacrificed.  Therefore let us keep the Festival, not with the old yeast, the yeast of malice and wickedness, but with bread without yeast, the bread of sincerity and truth” 1 Corinthians 5:7-8.  Jesus’ time in the tomb fulfilled the Feast of Unleavened Bread.  He clearly represented the sinless bread of Heaven that didn’t rise on this day (as bread made without yeast doesn’t rise).  Jesus also tied the past perfectly together with our future as He tells us in John 6:51 “I am the living bread that came down from heaven.  If anyone eats of this bread, he will live forever.  This bread is my flesh, which I will give for the life of the world.”

Sunday, we celebrate the Feast of Firstfruits.  The resurrection of our sinless Savior is Biblically connected to the Feast of Firstfruits in its timing and spirit.  Jesus rose from the grave on this feast day which represented the beginning of the barley season.  Ceremonially at this feast, the first sheaf or firstfruits of the harvest is cut, and in a carefully prescribed and meticulous ceremony is presented to the Lord.  God’s subsequent acceptance of the firstfruits is a pledge on His part of a full harvest to come.   “Now Christ is risen from the dead, and has become the firstfruits of those who have fallen asleep.  For since by man came death, by Man also came the resurrection of the dead.  For as in Adam all die, even so in Christ all shall be made alive.  But each one in his own order:  Christ the firstfruits, afterward those who are Christ’s at His coming” 1 Corinthians 15:20-23.  We, as Believers, will be harvested at the appointed time of Christ’s second coming – it is what we are waiting in anticipation for!

Our precious Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ, was crucified as our unblemished Lamb on the day of the Passover.  His sinless body lay unrisen in the tomb on the Feast of Unleavened Bread, and He was resurrected from the dead on the day of the Firstfruits celebration – could God have made it more plain?!  His hands began this elaborate, yet simplistic design 3500 years ago, and through the gift of His Holy Spirit (appropriately given at the Jewish Festival, Feast of Weeks or Pentecost), He allows us to connect the dots today.  Praise our great God this week for giving the Israelites these great celebrations which point us, as Believers, to our ultimate destination.  “Oh, my Strength, I watch for you; you, Oh God, are my fortress” (Psalm 59:9).

Until next week, celebrating the risen King… Katie

Incidently, if you are in  the Birmingham area and would be interested in experiencing our Messiah’s last supper, rich with Jewish roots and heritage, you can go to www.shalombirmingham.com for tickets and details.  It is to be held at the Cahaba Grand April 7th.  I’m anticipating it to be a wonderful experience of unity in the body of Christ!

Trust Issues

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Proverbs 3:5-6 to “Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways acknowledge Him and He will make your paths straight.” 

This past week, I had the opportunity to see the viral video, Kony2012.com.  You may have heard about this on the news or even seen the video yourself, but, if not, let me briefly explain its content.  Kony 2012 is a campaign by a San Diego-based charity called Invisible Children, and it was developed to bring global awareness of Ugandan warlord Joseph Kony.  Kony, a self-proclaimed Christian, is the head of a guerrilla group called the Lord’s Resistance Army (LRA) which began in 1987.  The LRA began in Uganda, but has since moved to the Central African Republic, South Sudan, and the Democratic Republic of Congo.   Kony claims that success for the LRA would mean a theocracy for these areas with laws based on the Ten Commandments.  But, there is a problem in his view of a sovereign government ruled by our great God.  Kony has used and continues to use extreme violence and immoral activity to fight this war he has raged.  In fact, over the years, Kony and the LRA have kidnapped more than 60,000 children to use as fighters or sex slaves.  It is also reported the LRA forces each child to kill their own parents so they won’t have homes to return to.  Needless to say, the video is heart-wrenching, and it has forced me to think and pray a great deal this week about the immense amount of evil in our world today. 

For me, it is incredibly easy to turn a blind eye to areas where evil abounds.  I like to remain content and happy in my neighborhood “bubble” which keeps me safe and sound.  When my eyes are opened to the horrific acts which are occurring even as I write, my emotions are overcome with a profound feeling of helplessness, and quite honestly, it shakes my faith.  I begin to question God.  But, as I’ve learned, questions can be good – especially when you take them directly to His Throne and allow Him to guide you in His Word for answers.  One word God kept bringing to the forefront of my mind was “trust.”  Do you trust Me Katie?  Despite the evil in the world and the innocent lives being affected as a result, do you trust Me?  I wanted to answer wholeheartedly, “yes!”  But, I really wasn’t sure if I did, and I realized I needed to reevaluate my heart on this issue.

As Christians, trust in our Holy God is crucial in our relationship with Him.  Isaiah 26:4 tells us to “trust in the Lord forever, for the Lord, the Lord, is the Rock eternal.”  Nahum 1:7 says “the Lord is good, a refuge in times of trouble.  He cares for those who trust in Him.”  And, we are also told in the familiar verses of Proverbs 3:5-6 to “trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways acknowledge Him and He will make your paths straight.”  Trust God.  Acknowledge God.  Seems simple enough – however, “trust” in its very nature, requires unanswered questions.  Therefore, in reality, our trust in our wonderful Heavenly Father is actually based on our acknowledgement of Him.  The word “acknowledge” in Proverbs 3:6 means “to know, to perceive and see, to find out and discern,” but it also means “to be made known or to be revealed.”  It’s not enough for us to read God’s Word and know His scriptures.  Our acknowledgement of God has to also be based on our observations of Him and His ways.  The more we observe Him, the more He will make Himself known.  In turn, our faith and trust will grow – allowing us to be content with our unanswered questions. 

So, yes, we will continue to experience evil in this fallen world – extreme, horrific evil – but, we serve a God who is good and trustworthy (2 Samuel 7:28).  Do I still have unanswered questions?  Absolutely!  But, I recognize my questions are based on what is seen and temporal.  I must continually adjust my eyes to the unseen (2 Corinthians 4:18).  In the meantime, I rest in the words of our Creator in Isaiah 55:9 – “As the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways and my thoughts than your thoughts.”  Amen, my powerful and mighty Father.  Amen.

Until next week, relying on His ways… Katie

You Are What You Eat

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Matthew 4:4 “Jesus answered, ‘It is written; Man does not live on bread alone, but on every word that comes from the mouth of God.’”

Our bodies are magnificent pieces of machinery.  When our Creator sculpted us in His incredible image, He gave us not only a glimpse into His eternal realm, but He also left us with an amazing amount of imagery that correlates directly with His Word.  I saw this imagery last weekend when I attended a continuing education course on nutrition and our bodies.  The instructor who was leading the course at one point in her lecture said, “Simply put, you are what you eat.”  She continued saying if we make poor food choices on a regular basis, we will inevitably begin to feel awful; but if we fuel our bodies with what they were built to run on (the right amount of protein, carbohydrates, and fats, with little processed foods), we will experience a more active, healthier life.  Toward the end of the course, she assured us, if we began to consistently eat the way our bodies were intended to be fueled, we would crave the right foods and never desire to go back to the junk food way of living.  I left the lecture that day thinking about the choices I was making for my health, but then, as He is known to do, God redirected my thoughts.  While my food choices are essential to my well-being, my intake of His nourishment is indispensable to my soul.

As Believers, we know we are spiritual beings, and as such our bodies crave spiritual food – that food consists of two major components – Jesus Christ (John 6:55) and God’s Holy Word (Matthew 4:4).  They are what we were created to run on.  This concept is  illustrated beautifully in the Gospel of Matthew.  “Jesus was led by the Spirit into the desert to be tempted by Satan.  After fasting forty days and forty nights, He was hungry.  The tempter came to (Jesus) and said, ‘If you are the Son of God, tell these stones to become bread.’  Jesus answered, ‘It is written; Man does not live on bread alone, but on every word that comes from the mouth of God’” (Matthew 4:2-4).  Are we, as Christians, getting enough of God’s precious Holy Word so that our spiritual souls don’t starve?  Research shows we aren’t.  In fact, an article published at Christianity.com, showed that the number of Christians who read the Bible on a daily or even regular basis is dropping at an alarming rate.  It went on to state, “Nowadays, it seems, many (Christians) view Scripture, not as a book to read regularly, but as a text book one dips into when wishing to remind oneself of the basis of faith or when seeking an answer to some perplexing spiritual issue.”   What is wrong with us?  Are we just not getting it?!  After all, the Bible is God’s one and only published book – shouldn’t we, as His followers, be immersing ourselves in it on a consistent basis?  Or, maybe we are so used to filling our hearts, minds, and souls with the junk food of the world that we rarely allow ourselves the opportunity to eat the pure, non-processed spiritual food found only in His Word.

We must remind ourselves that reading the Bible occassionally versus immersion in the Word is the difference between a liquid diet and one of solid food.  The writer of Hebrews explains this –  “anyone who lives on milk, being still an infant, is not acquainted with the teaching about righteousness.  But solid food is for the mature, who by constant use have trained themselves to distinguish good from evil” (5:13-14).  There are two phrases in this scripture that give us a hint as to what is expected of us in order to receive this solid spiritual food.  First, the words “constant use” are actually translated “a power acquired by custom, practice, or use; a habit.”  We must make reading His word a daily practice in our life, an act that comes as a natural response to living.  Second, the phrase “trained themselves”  means to “exercise vigorously the faculty of the mind for perceiving, understanding, and judging.”  Much like an athlete vigorously trains for his sport, we must vigorously train ourselves to be in His Word in order to digest His magnificent gift of solid spiritual food and subsequent nourishment for our souls. 

So, how are you feeling these days – depressed, anxious, sluggish, powerless?  Maybe it has to do with the food you are eating.  Go get His Holy Word and feed your soul today! I have a feeling, like the nutritionist assured me with my food choices, once you get a generous helping of Jesus Christ and God’s Word, you will never crave anything in its place!

Until next week, stuffing my face at His banquet table… Katie

Infectious Attitudes

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James 3:9-10 “With the tongue we praise our Lord and Father, and with it we curse men, who have been made in God’s likeness.  Out of the same mouth come praise and cursing.  My brothers this should not be.”

I have a dear friend who got me thinking last week about infectious attitudes.  She did this through an event she recapped in the funniest way.  I asked her permission to share her story with you, because I think, like me, you just might relate. This is how she told it.

“Katie, you’re going to die when I tell you what I did the other day.  I’m so embarrassed over what happened that I don’t even want to tell you.  (She certainly had my attention now – she continued)  I was  driving morning carpool, enjoying the ride and talking with my son, when it happened.  I made a turn from a stop sign, and as I turned, I noticed an older gentleman walking his dog in the middle of the other lane.  As I got closer to him, I could see he noticed me as well, because he was screaming at me to slow down and obnoxiously waving his hands to emphasize his anger with me.  As I passed by, completely annoyed at the ugliness I had just witnessed, I couldn’t help myself –  I had to turn around and give that man a piece of my mind.  After all, I wasn’t speeding, and he was walking in the middle of the road!  As I rolled down my window to make him see the error of his ways, my plan backfired.  Embarrassingly enough, we ended up having a shouting match with absolutely no resolution.  As I drove away from him, I was so mad at myself for turning around!  I should have let it go.  But, I didn’t!  Instead, I let his mean get all over me!”

Can you relate? Oh, how I can! I loved her analogy “I let his mean get all over me!”  Have you ever let someone’s mean get all over you?  I have many times.  It’s certainly not something I’m proud of, it’s just the truth.   As a result of my retaliations, I always had regrets.   Regret for not holding my tongue.  Regret for not having self-control.  Regret for not honoring my heavenly Father with my actions.  It reminds me of James’ words, “If anyone considers himself religious and yet does not keep a tight rein on his tongue, he deceives himself and his religion is worthless…With the tongue we praise our Lord and Father, and with it we curse men, who have been made in God’s likeness.  Out of the same mouth come praise and cursing.  My brothers this should not be” (James 1:26, 3:9-10).  No, it should not be.  Mean for mean is unspiritual.  But, how do we fight our flesh?  Simply put, as followers of Christ, we must be willing to accept the offenses of others with humility and silence our precious pride. 

In the Gospels, Jesus tells us to love our enemies, to pray for those who persecute us, and to treat others as we would have them treat us.  It’s radically different from what our society tells us to do!  When we are offended we must be willing to turn the other cheek and stand with Jesus.  Please know, this is not a weak form of complacency.  It’s a strong, self-determined, God-motivated love for Christ.  Can you imagine the impact we, as Christians, could have on our culture if we truly practiced everything Jesus preached?  Our Christ-like attitudes just might become contagious!  

This week I challenge myself and each of you in the body of Christ to start a revolution.  “Clothe yourself with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness, and patience” (Col. 3:12).  “Rid yourself of anger, rage, malice, slander and filthy language from your lips” (Col. 3:8).   Immerse yourself in His word which breeds wisdom that is “pure, peace-loving, considerate, submissive, full of mercy and good fruit” (James 3:17).  In doing so, you just might infect someone’s attitude with the life-giving Spirit of Christ.

Until next week, striving to start a revolution…Katie


Running Through Stings

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Romans 5:3-4 “We also rejoice in our sufferings, because we know that suffering produces perseverance, perseverance, character, and character, hope.”  
My husband, Allen, and I are training for our second ½ marathon (we ran our first one a little over 13 years ago, so we felt it was time to torture ourselves again).  Anyway, for the past ten weeks we have been diligently hitting the treadmills or the streets, trying to prepare our bodies for the day of the race. We have scheduled our long runs to be on Sunday afternoon, and I have to say, I rarely look forward to them, as they have cut into my routine of church, lunch, and nap – not run!  Nevertheless, a couple of Sundays ago,  our training schedule had us making our first 11-mile run.  I wasn’t looking forward to it!
As always, the first few miles weren’t bad at all, but once we hit mile 8, we certainly had to push ourselves to finish.  Then, while we were closing in on mile 10, our run was unexpectantly  interrupted.  Allen had stopped, hunched over, and was grabbing his eye.  I kept my feet moving (I feared if I stopped, I might not start again).  I looked back at him and asked what was wrong.  No answer.  He was still stooped over, and I could see him rubbing his eye intensely.  Now, a little worried, I jogged back to him; and once there, I knew my feet had to stop along with his.  After Allen struggled with his eye, he finally regained his composure and was able to tell me what was wrong.  Something had flown into his eye and stung it! I thought he had to be mistaken, bugs don’t fly into your eye and sting it, but he was right.  Some sort of bug had flown in, out of nowhere, and landed on his eyeball and stung it – it was bloodshot and already beginning to swell.
I asked Allen if he wanted to stop or walk the rest of the way back (after all, he couldn’t see out of his eye), but he was determined to finish the run.  We started back, slowly but steadily picking up our speed, and before long, we were finished.  The pain in Allen’s eye was still there, and you could see the effects of the sting; but his vision had cleared up.  We laughed at how odd that was – a bug flying around, that happened to land on and sting his eyeball.  It was definitely an interruption we hadn’t foreseen and certainly one we couldn’t have planned on!   I thought isn’t that what our life here on earth is all about?  Those crazy, painful interruptions we don’t see coming.  They hit us head on, skew our vision, and stop us in our run with Christ.
Over the past year, I’ve seen many of those stings in my circle of family and friends, as I’m sure you have – the sudden death of a loved one, the diagnosis of a life-threatening disease, the illness of a child, an addiction gone awry, the aftermath of a natural disaster, the loss of a job – the list goes on and on.  And while Jesus is clear to His followers that we will face suffering on this earth, His foresight doesn’t make the hurt and the heartache go away. In fact, sometimes the wounds those stings leave on our lives are devastating, and we are left with a choice to pick back up and continue running with Christ or to stop the race all together. I’ve seen both choices made, and only one breeds hope and eternal life.
As Christians, we are told to rejoice in our sufferings (1 Peter 4:13) and to consider it pure joy when we face trials of many kinds (James 1:2).  However, how do we do that?!  The answer – we can’t!  We weren’t made to.  But our Savior was.  It is only through the power of Jesus Christ we can allow our “suffering to produce perseverance, perseverance, character and character, hope” (Romans 5:3-4); and, therefore, “run with perseverance the race marked out for us” (Hebrews 12:1).  We must endure this life in order to reap the extraordinary benefits of the life to come.  But that endurance must be sought.  In fact, the Apostle Paul tells us to “pursue endurance” (1 Tim. 6:11) – “endurance that is inspired by hope in our Lord Jesus Christ” (1 Thess 1:3).  Strong’s concordance tells us this word endurance Paul speaks of means “the characteristic of a man who is not swerved from his deliberate purpose and his loyalty to faith and piety by even the greatest trials and suffering.”  Read that definition again.  Have you seen this type of spiritual endurance in action?  Over the past few years, I have.  I’ve seen it in men and women of faith who have prepared themselves for the stings of life through their complete devotion to our Lord and their unwavering faith in the hope He promises.  How grateful I am to those who, through their pain and anguish, have given me a glimpse of our Father’s love through their loyalty to Christ!
Yes, we will suffer, but we suffer with hope.  We continue running through the stings, and we endure the after effects – being certain that one day “He will wipe away every tear from (our) eyes.  There will be no more death or mourning or crying or pain, for the old order of things (will have) passed away” (Rev. 21:4).  What a beautiful picture we are painted of our eternal destination!  In the meantime, through our tears and our heartache and our pain, we keep our eyes focused on the prize that awaits – assured we aren’t running this race alone.  For we have a great cloud of witnesses running alongside of  us, and the mighty power of our Savior within us.  Thank you Lord.  Thank you.
Until next week, running the race (stings and all)…Katie
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Matthew 13:15 “These people’s heart has become calloused; they hardly hear with their ears, and they have closed their eyes.  Otherwise, they might see with their eyes, hear with their ears, and understand with their hearts and turn and I would heal them.  But blessed are your eyes because they see and your ears because they hear.”

Last week, my husband and I went to Naples, Florida on a business trip for him.  En route we had a little over an hour layover in  Orlando.  After grabbing some water and a snack, we sat down and waited for our flight to board.  While we were sitting, I heard an elderly gentleman a few seats away from me say in a loud voice “hello.”  A couple of seconds went by, then, again, “hello.”  This time, I glanced over to make sure he wasn’t speaking to me.  Nope, he was looking straight ahead.  Again, with a little more authority in his voice, he hollered, “hello!”  By now (no surprise for those of you who know me), I was tickled.  I quickly glanced over at the gentleman and noticed he was on his cell phone.  No sooner had I looked, he screamed, yet again, “hello!”  I waited in anticipation if the person on the other end would respond, because by now, of course, I was engaged in his one-way conversation.  A minute goes by and I heard him say, “I’m in Florida” – a pause – “no, Florida” – another pause – “I’m in Florida” – pause – “I’m in Orlando, Florida, yes, Orlando” – pause – “I’m in Orlando, Florida!”  It was obvious he could clearly hear the person on the other end of the line, but his receiver couldn’t hear him. Finally, after much persistence, the elderly gentleman decided it was time to hang up.

As I sat there amused at his determination and surprised at his patience, I wondered, was the connection bad or was the person on the other end of the line hard of hearing or not paying attention to him.  Regardless, it was interesting how the man handled it – there was no sign of frustration on his face, no hint of aggravation towards the person on the other end.  It was as if he had experienced this before, and he would just try the call again later.

Now, since I have started this blog, I have been making every effort to be more aware of what God might be teaching me at any given moment; and at this moment, through this elderly man, in a busy, crowded airport, God spoke to me.  This is what I heard:

“Katie, for so many years, that was Me talking to you.  I would call your name over and over again, but you would not answer.  Sometimes it was because our connection was bad.  You had placed yourself in a spot where it was hard for my call to go through.  Other times, it was because you weren’t paying attention when I called.  You were too busy with the calls of the world around you that you didn’t even know I was on the line.  And, other times, you plugged your ears because you didn’t want to hear what I had to say.  Did it frustrate me?  No.  Did I lose patience with you?  Absolutely not.  Did it make me sad?  A little.  You see, I knew the life I had waiting for you.  A life that would bring you opportunities to share My love and to build My kingdom.  I knew once we had a good connection and you heard My voice, you would begin to look forward to my calls.  I’m pleased and relieved we are talking now.  For as My son, Jeremiah wrote, thousands of years ago, I know the plans I have for you, plans to prosper you, not to harm you, plans to give you a hope and a future (Jer. 29:11).  I am optimistic you see that future now. Just be sure to continue taking My calls.  Stay in range of My connection.  Listen for My ringtone.  Hear My voice.  I’m proud of you.  I love you.”

How thankful I am for my Father’s persistence, patience, and determination to get me on the line.  For so many years, I was deaf to His precious voice.  I was in the group Jesus speaks of in Matthew 13:15 – “these peoples’ heart has become calloused; they hardly hear with their ears, and they have closed their eyes.  Otherwise they might see with their eyes, hear with their ears, understand with their hearts and turn and I would heal them.”  In recognition of God’s wonderful healing through His mercy and grace, I now find myself in the latter portion of this verse – “But blessed are your eyes because they see, and your ears because they hear.”  Just because I took His call, listened, and responded, my eyes and ears are blessed – what a generous God we serve!  However, with this blessedness comes a responsibility.  I “must pay more careful attention, therefore to what (I) have heard, so that (I) do not drift away” (Hebrews 2:1). My responsibility is to continue to hear Him calling – to place myself in a position where I can really recognize and listen to His voice.

How about you?  Do you hear His voice calling you?  Sometimes the ringtone comes through the reading of His word, other times its through one of His servants, and still other times it comes straight through your heart.  Be certain, He is ready to talk whenever you are ready to listen.  For in the middle of a hectic travel day, through a stranger in the airport, He called me.  Rest assured, He’s calling you too!

Until next week, listening for His ringtone… Katie   

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