SIMPLE CONVERSATIONS

 

road

Do you ever have conversations with God? You know, just talk to him as you drive along or walk down the street by yourself.

I do.

All the time.

It’s different from praying in church or over a list of people and concerns.

It’s more like talking to a friend.

Stay with me here.

Before you call me crazy and jump off this page, hear me out.

I can’t say I’ve ever heard God’s voice audibly. And I can’t exactly explain how I differentiate what I hear from my own thoughts, but I’ll try.

Be Wise

For one thing, as a Christian, I know there are lots of voices out there. So I use the Bible as my point of reference when I evaluate what I think I’ve heard, mainly the New Testament. (Lots of things have been done in the name of God that He had nothing to do with.)

If it involves important decisions, I run it past someone I respect spiritually. I also ask myself if it’s just my wishful thinking. And I do my best not rush into anything.

How Do Answers Come?

Sometimes I get my answer when I read or hear the same thing several different places. (After the third time, I really pay attention.)

Or a Bible verse may play over and over in my mind the way one did at the beginning of the year. If you missed that post, you can still read it here.

Other times, an answer will come in the form of a new thought that leads me to do a little research, which gives me a new perspective.

Consider the Trees

wintertrees

 

 

As I walked down the street one afternoon recently, I heard,

Slow down.

No need to rush.

Look around  you.

See the deciduous trees?

This is their season of rest.

tree3

I began to look closely at the beauty of barren branches. Some reached upward like slender ballerinas.

 

Others stood guard like sturdy He-men, arms outspread.

Some were old and ragged, missing limbs. Others leaned in one direction, stretching toward the sun.

Each was beautiful in its own way.

tree4Questions Are Okay

“But Lord,” I said, “aren’t they doing something that I can’t see? Like putting down roots deep in the earth?” (And, yes. I talk to him the way I might talk to you.)

Look it up, I heard.

So when I got home, I Googled What do deciduous trees do in winter?

I found, according to Mother Nature Network, Northern Woodlands and several other sources, deciduous trees go through a dormant period in the winter similar to animals hibernating.

Webster’s Dictionary notes dormancy as being marked by a suspension of activity. It’s a resting phase in which essential life processes continue at a minimum rate.

“Okay,” I said. “But if that means you want me to slow down even more, you’ll have to help me let go of saying yes when I shouldn’t, falling back into striving, and measuring my worth by what I achieve.”

What I Heard

Just meet me every morning with your Bible and your journal. Sit with me. Be present to Me. Tell me what’s on your heart. Then listen.  Allow Me to restore your soul. I’ll show you how to be present in the moment so that later you can be truly present to those around you.

quiet-time

Be still and know that I am God.

Be still and know I am.

Be still and know.

Be still.

Be.

baa8b-img_0427

Just BE in the presence of the Great I AM.

My Answer

“Here I am, Lord.”

What about you?

Can you identify your own particular season of life ?

I’d love to hear about it.

 

And your ears shall hear a word behind you, saying, “This is the way, walk in it,”
when you turn to the right or when you turn to the left.

Isaiah 30:21

 

WHO ARE YOU GONNA CALL?

elevator-panel

We were going out to lunch, so we got on the elevator on the fifth floor, and I pushed G.

The door closed and the lights flickered. Was that an uncharacteristic bump?

“Did you feel that?” I asked.

Evidently, he didn’t.

We began the slow descent. When we stopped, we waited for the door to open.

We’re used to a pause so we waited a little longer.

Nothing.

I pushed  elevator-door

Nothing.

I looked at the floor indicator. It read  elevator-1

I pushed elevator-g  again.

Nothing.

“I’ll call Bob,” he said. “and ask him to go back out and push the button. Maybe we’ll go back  up to five.” (Bob’s a neighbor we had been talking to just before we got on the elevator.)

Except he didn’t have Bob’s phone number.

“If we push HELP, the guys from the fire station across the street will answer,” I said. (I know that because I accidentally pushed it with one of the bags I was loaded down with one day.

elevator-help

“No, I’ll call Phil,” he said. “I just saw them downstairs. Maybe he’s still here or has Bob’s number.”

Except Phil was already on the road headed home, and he didn’t have Bob’s number.

“I can push HELP,” I said.

He just  looked at me.

“Do you have Deborah’s number?” I asked. (She’s our maintenance person.)

“I do. Good idea.”

He called Deborah, and said she would reset the elevator’s program.

It wasn’t long until we began a slow descent. When we stopped, the door slid open and we got off. I moved quicker than usual.

“I want to put her number in my phone,” I said.

Just as I finished, Deborah came down the stairs and said, “The power went off for just a moment. Sometimes it affects the elevator, but I reset it.”

We thanked her and went on our way to lunch.

Now I have two options.

If I can’t reach Deborah, I can push the HELP button. Those firefighters across the street are real nice. I talked to them one day.

Who do you call when you need help?

elevator-help2

“Because he loves me,” says the Lord, “I will rescue him;
    I will protect him, for he acknowledges my name.
15 He will call on me, and I will answer him;
    I will be with him in trouble,
    I will deliver him and honor him.
16 With long life I will satisfy him
    and show him my salvation.

Psalm 91:14-16

 

 

 

MEET THE AUTHOR

Today, I want to introduce you to another writer friend, Karen Jordan, and her first book, Words That Change Everything. 
Karen is a wife to a newly retired guy, mother of two, grandmother of seven, teacher, speaker and friend. When I met her in a local Christian writers’ organization, one of the things that impressed me most was her teacher’s heart and the way she encouraged us to write our own stories–even the one that might be hardest to tell. I love the way Karen practices what she preaches. 
As I read Words That Change Everything, I was touched by Karen’s transparency and encouraged by the way she turned to God’s Word to chase away the fears and negative emotions that surfaced during her most trying times. 
In the true teacher’s spirit, Karen gives us a blueprint for facing and corralling our own worst reactions to life’s trials through 
REST. 
  • Remember our great God and His promises. 
  • Exalt Him for who He is and His faithfulness. 
  • Surrender to Him completely. 
  • Trust Him.

The following is taken from an interview made available by her publisher         Leafwood Publishing. 
Author Spotlight on KAREN JORDAN
Words That Change Everything: Speaking Truth to Your Soul

Who is the book primarily for?
Women desiring true peace and relief from overwhelming worries and stress, who are tired of pretending all is well on the outside while silently suffering on the inside.
What do you love to write and what inspired you to start?
I love to write nonfiction, especially memoirs and devotionals. Reading Christian books that contained the faith stories of others inspired me to take a class on writing for publication while attending seminary. Then, when one of my stories from that class was accepted for publication, I considered submitting more stories for publication.
How and where do you write?
I love to write surrounded by nature outdoors or in a room with a view of the lake.
Where do you find inspiration?
Observing God’s work in creation and hearing or reading the faith stories of others. 
Who has inspired you most?
Besides the Lord—my husband, Dan. He has stood by me through the good times and the bad. He’s behind the scenes in most of the stories I’ve written. I know I can always get an honest response from him. I’m so grateful for his prayerful support and encouragement. 
Talk about mentoring and the creative process.
Since I’m also a writing instructor, I know the importance of getting feedback in the writing process. But I also know the value of gleaning wisdom from someone else’s experience and knowledge. Plus, I believe that God’s Word calls all Christ-followers to encourage others in the faith and share their faith stories.
What in your growing up years fed your desire to write?
I always loved reading autobiographies and biographies. [I know, weird, right?] And I always loved to listen to people tell the stories that mattered most to them, especially their faith and family stories.
How do ideas for books or storylines or characters come to you?
I’m also compelled to write the stories that matter most to me, especially my faith and family stories. And sometimes the ideas come when I least expect them—as I recognize a need that I might be able to address, discover an inspirational thought or truth, or think of a memory that I want to share.
What a-ha moments have shaped your life and writing?
At some of my lowest points in life, God Word’s has pulled me out of the trenches of negative thinking, despair, and hopelessness, as he guided me to the truth. And as I try to encourage other women with the lessons I’ve learned in the waiting rooms of life, his Word continues to speak truth to my soul when my own logic fails me.
What legacy would you like to leave?
I hope to leave a legacy of faith—that is why I write about my faith stories. I think this scripture best expresses the reason I write my stories: “Write this down for the next generation so people not yet born will praise God” (Ps. 102:18 The Message).
How do you want your reader to feel after closing your book?
As people read Words That Change Everything, I pray they will be encouraged and inspired to find REST and peace, as they seek the Word of God for themselves.
What deep underlying truth do you want your reader to know?
The Lord is near. Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus” (Phil 4:5-7 NIV)
How do your readers encourage you? 
I love it when I hear that something I’ve written has encouraged someone. The writing life is a bit discouraging at times when I don’t get feedback. So, just one word of encouragement can make my day better.
Which form of social media, if any, do you enjoy using the most?  (Blogs, twitter and Facebook fan page)
I also love blogging, but I tend to sign up for more posts on other blogs than I can handle. I really enjoy Facebook—I have a personal page and an author page. I also share my posts on Twitter @Karen Jordan and LinkedIn. And I can get hooked on Pinterest! I also post on YouTube and Periscope @KarenJordan. 
I hope you’ll check out her book on Amazon or Lifeway. It will bring peace to your soul.

Write this down for the next generation so people
not yet born will praise God:

Ps. 102:18

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