The Seed of Hope

A gift for tomorrow

One Wednesday in October

Have you ever wondered what God sounds like…I mean, as in tonal quality, inflection, and pronunciation? Would he speak to someone from the South with a draaawl? How about a follower from Boston Haaabah? Longiiisland? Minnesooota? Come on…you gonna tell me that you’ve never even thought about it? I bet you will now! J

All joking aside, I believe that God talks to us, or sends us messages all the time. Sometimes it’s to answer questions that we have for Him, and sometimes it’s to guide us through life. And it’s up to us to recognize His “voice” when He speaks.

I want to tell you what happened to me a couple of weeks ago. Actually, it was Wednesday, October 28, 2009. We had just returned the day before from a weekend in Florida where we had attended a salon industry event with several members of our team. If you’ve ever owned a business, or been in a management position, you know that there’s a price to pay for taking time off! After arriving back in Birmingham on Tuesday morning, I spent most of the day “catching up”; payroll, bank deposits, placing orders, paying bills, etc. In other words, Tuesday had been a long, long, day.

There’s something that bears mentioning; that Monday’s post had been about Satan (The Enemy Within). If you had the opportunity to read it, you know that the devil was messin’ with my mind while I was writing it and after it had been completed. Wrestling with Satan can take the wind out of your sails and derail you; it certainly had with me.

Disconnected

Have you ever had the feeling that you were disconnected from God? I mean, you knew that God was with you, but you didn’t feel His presence? That’s exactly how I felt when I got up on Wednesday morning; disconnected. I was tired, both mentally and physically. To make matters worse, doubts about me, my abilities, and my purpose in life were beginning to plant themselves in my subconscious. I was questioning if I was making a difference in the world at all.

I made my way to my prayer chair in our kitchen, turned on Church of The Highlands Arise music on my iPod, and settled in for prayer and meditation. Fifteen minutes later…nothing…nada…zilch. It had been a long week and I was desperate to feel God…to be with Him. And I was getting nowhere. And I was getting frustrated.

Then I did something that I’d never done before…I picked up my Bible, held it in my hands, and asked God to reveal Himself to me through His Word. I decided to just open the Bible and start reading. I believed that God would indeed give me a message, and I asked Him to give me spiritual eyes to see it, an open mind to receive it, and an open heart to feel it.

The Book of Daniel

That’s where I opened the Book…to the first page of Daniel. I fervently began reading, looking for my “message.” First page…kings and people with hard to pronounce names…like reading a history book. I was a little disappointed, but still filled with anticipation. Second page…more of the same…more of Daniel’s story. I began to think that I had opened the Bible in the wrong place, that I had been wrong…more doubt.

I decided to read more of Daniel. There, at the bottom of the third page…

“Praise be to the name of God for ever and ever; wisdom and power are his. He changes times and seasons; he sets up kings and deposes them. He gives wisdom to the wise and knowledge to the discerning. He reveals deep and hidden things; he knows what lies in the darkness, and light dwells with him. I thank you and praise you, O God of my fathers: You have given me wisdom and power, you have made known to me what we asked of you, you have made known to us the dream of a king.”    DANIEL 2:20-23 (NIV)

Wisdom…knowledge…reveals…light. I was beginning to feel better. If nothing else, the anxious feeling that had been my companion for several days was going away. That was a start! Thank you God.

An e-mail

When I had finished with my prayers I decided to see if I had received any e-mails or comments through The Seed of Hope. This too, is one of my morning rituals…it’s always a blessing for me to hear from you guys!

Well, I was blessed x 3 that morning! One of the e-mails was from a lady that had read a post (“BUT” August 16, 2009) that had been printed in a local publication here in Birmingham. She graciously informed me that reading the article had “blessed me so”, and was wondering if I might send her a copy so that she may forward it to some of her friends. Of course, I immediately did exactly that, thanking her for sharing the message with others.

Oh, and I almost forgot to mention that this lady’s name was Faith. On a day when I’m plagued by questions and doubt, I receive a beautiful message from a complete stranger; a stranger named Faith. Thank you God.

That night…

Despite being tired from both the previous weekend and work that day, my wife Jackie and I made a last minute decision to attend church that night. Though I always want and need to go to church, there are days when I really need to be in church…I felt that this was one of them. As it turned out, I’m thankful that we went…

Church of The Highlands Pastor Chris Hodges’ message that night was all about the existence of Satan and spiritual warfare! Jackie turned to me with this knowing look on her face the moment she realized that the Pastor’s topic was exactly what my post had been about on Monday. I sat there in stunned silence with tears in my eyes. Why?

Look, I’ve told you before that I am nothing more than a regular guy with a message. I am an authority on nothing, and I never profess to be more than that. I just write about what God puts on my heart and in my mind. Walking into a church, my church, and hearing not just any Pastor, but my Pastor give a message on a very touchy subject, just two days after I had done the same, and citing the same verse from the Bible in doing so, just blew me away. Thank you God.

Later that night…

When we returned home after church, I decided to check my e-mails one last time. I was excited to see that I had received a new weekly Verse and Message from my good friend, fellow blogger, and awesome Christian lady Susie McCullum! (Susie’s blog page is http://susiemc.wordpress.com . You need to check it out!)

Here’s an excerpt from Susie’s blog:

“BUT, the devil wants to condemn us as Christians. He wants to declare that we are guilty, causing us shame for our wrongdoing. In fact, one of his main objectives is to blur our perspective in a way that causes us to see ourselves as we were before Christ redeemed us, with a dark cloud over our heads. The devil’s plight is to manipulate us into becoming miserable Christians that will be ineffective for God’s Kingdom.”

Reading Susie’s message made me realize that Satan had still been messin’ with me. I got in the bed and covered myself and Jackie in prayer as I drifted off to sleep. Thank you Susie. Thank you God.

One Wednesday in October,

God knew that I was struggling. I was doubting, not Him, but myself. I was in one of those dark tunnels that we find ourselves in from time to time. He heard my prayers, asking Him for clarity, light, and assurance. So He decided to send me a message not once, or twice, but four times. I asked…He answered.

How great is our God!

See you next week.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Comments

Susie McCullum wrote on 11/09/09 7:52 AM

What a blessed thing it is when God uses confirmation through other brothers and sisters in Christ. I am happy He used me to give you some Godfidence in your writing on the enemy. Thank you for sharing this today....beautifully tied together all of the angles of God's assurance to you that day. Thank you for your continued encouragement....
Donna wrote on 11/09/09 8:10 AM

What blessings the LORD has already given you through your desire to live for Him--a new friend named Faith and a fellow blogger with a gift for encouragement! Your story is a perfect example of how God can use our weakness to make us stronger (2 Cor. 12:10).
Linda wrote on 11/09/09 8:28 AM

Amazing how easy it is for us to fall into doubt in regards to ourselves. I mean, Satan has much to work with, doesn't he? But we serve a God who is faithful, always, to keep His promises. And when we seek Him, really seek Him, we will always find Him. Thanks for another great post!
Faith wrote on 11/12/09 2:16 PM

Amazing! Even this blog in and of itself has spoken volumes to me and once again "BLESSED ME SO!!!" Satan is definitely trying to attack me with feelings of condemnation and inadequacy. He is trying to make me think that I can't hear from God as well as I could and that pass mess ups are forgiven but God hasn't completely forgotten them yet (which is why some things have not been fully manifested in my life right now). BUT OH, THE POWER OF THE WORD OF GOD!!!! I found comfort in Romans 8:1 where Paul tells us there THERE IS THEREFORE NOW N-O CONDEMNATION FOR THOSE WHO ARE IN CHRIST JESUS; THOSE WHO WALK AFTER THE SPIRIT AND NOT AFTER THE FLESH. FOR THE LAW OF THE SPIRIT OF LIFE HAS SET US F-R-E-E FROM THE LAW OF SIN AND DEATH!!! (THE WHOLE CHAPTER IS ABSOLUTELY AMAZING...IF YOU HAVEN'T READ IT BEFORE, READ IT!!!! AND IF YOU HAVE, READ IT AGAIN AND RECEIVE NEW REVELATION!!!!) In my quest to look up something else, Daddy brought me back across an old favorite of mine...PSALM 103 which says "Bless the Lord oh MY soul and all that is within me, Bless His HOLY name. Bless the Lord Oh my Soul and FORGET NOT ALL HIS BENEFITS, WHO 1) FORGIVES ALL OF OUR SINS, AND 2) HEALS ALL OF OUR DISEASES, WHO 3) REDEEMS OUR LIVES FROM THE PITS, AND 4) CROWNS US WITH LOVE AND COMPASSION, WHO 5) SATISFIES OUR LIVES WITH GOOD THINGS 6) SO THAT OUR YOUR IS RENEWED LIKE THE EAGLE!!! Then a little further down, David said (v.12) As far as the east is from the west, so far has He removed our trangressions from us!!! David goes on to say how God is so compassionate and how He doesn't always give us what we deserve. One of the most awesome parts is how God REMEMBERS HOW HE MADE US...THAT WE ARE DUST!!! THAT IS NOT A LICENSE TO SIN, however, if God did not know that we would need redemption, there would have been no reason to send Jesus! Why would we need atoning for sins that aren't committed??? One song I love says "Jesus, tell me just how far the east is from the west...it's from one scarred hand to the other." How awesome is that! So be enoouraged my brothers and sisters. God sees, He knows, and He cares. Be encouraged! I didn't mean to go off on a tangent but I had to share what He put in my heart. I pray this blesses someone as much as it has blessed me!
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