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The Freedom To Listen

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Today is the last day of July, but it’s still not too late to write about freedom, is it?

My time with Jesus yesterday began with some things I was upset about, things I was concerned with, and my unending desire to find a normal rhythm to my schedule.  As I lamented to Jesus about all this, I concluded that I agreed with David’s “one thing” in Psalm 27, mentioned at church on Sunday. This “one thing” theme has come up often for me in recent years.  Here is David’s “one thing” in Psalm 27:4.

“One thing I ask of the Lord, this is what I seek:

that I may dwell in the house of the Lord all the days of my life,

to gaze upon the beauty of the Lord

and to seek him in his temple.”

I looked up the cross-reference to this verse and it took me to the Mary and Martha story in Luke 10:38-42. Truthfully I was looking for the reference to Paul’s declaration of his “one thing,” but curious, I stopped here and read this familiar story again. Verse 42 reads, “…but only ‘one thing’ is needed.  Mary has chosen what is better…”  Wow, I never saw that before.  When I re-read verse 41 where Jesus says, “Martha, Martha,” I heard, “Debbie, Debbie, you are upset about many things,” to which I agreed and began to cry.

Jesus highlighted so much to encourage me deeply in that moment:

  • Martha had opened her home to the Lord (way to go Martha)!
  • Martha openly took her needs in that moment to Jesus without hesitation; she was so real and comfortable with him.
  • Jesus listened and responded to her.
  • Jesus knew her name and spoke it to her with love and concern.
  • Jesus taught her the “one thing” that matters most.
  • The “one thing” was the “better thing” to choose.
  • Jesus gives freedom for Martha to choose it for herself.

Jesus whispered all this so sweetly to my heart as the tears came again. He was so present. He heard my cries and complaints, my prayers and fears of failure. He spoke my name because he knows my name. I cried more. This is the “one thing” – Jesus – that Mary was experiencing.  Mary’s life found its proper place in Christ’s presence and now so was I.

All my troubles didn’t get fixed in these moments, but they did take their proper place at his feet.  He was teaching me that each day I have a choice to invite him into my mess like Martha did.  But most of all, I have been given freedom to listen to him respond to my cares and teach me like Martha.  This must be what David experienced with the Lord as he expressed himself in Psalm 27. We too can find this kind touch from Jesus even in heartache.

Jesus is no less present with you right now than he was with Martha and Mary so long ago.

It is our prayer that together we seek his face and rest at his feet. Know today with a renewed certainty that Jesus knows your name and cares deeply about your concerns. He has something to say to you too. Chose today the “one thing” that is the “better thing,” acting on the freedom we have been given to listen and experience Jesus even now.

We love you too.

Observing Father’s Day. What did God have to say to this father?

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I’m sure God still speaks, and He had something to say to my husband on Father’s Day.

His Plan

My husband Joel’s idea of a perfect day is to go fishing. So when Father’s Day was approaching, he decided that was exactly what he wanted to do. We drove up the Florida coastline on Friday night after work and arrived at our destination just before sundown. The next morning Joel was up early getting bait and rigging his kayak for the day. He disappeared from view within minutes after launching his boat and I didn’t see him again until sundown.

His Day, His Way

Two days later, I was the one up earliest. I headed for the kitchen first thing and flipped the coffeemaker on. Once brewed, I poured myself a cup and sat down with my Bible and journal and began to write: “Good morning and Happy Father’s Day, dear Abba-Father…”

Who’s Day Is It Really?

A while later as I was finishing my quiet time, Joel walked out. “Good morning!”

“Good morning!” I responded. “How’d you sleep?”

“Not bad. Are you going to church?” Being away from home, he wasn’t sure what the plan was.

I said, “I’ve been thinking about trying that little Community Church up the street.”

Joel announced, “I’m not going to church.”

“Oh. Okay. Hey, it’s funny you’re saying that. Do you remember how Bryan recently told us that statistically church attendance on Father’s Day is one of the lowest turnouts of the year? I guess you’re proving his statistic.”

Joel sat down with his cup of coffee and Bible as I got up to get my second cup. Suddenly he announced, “Alright, I’m going to church.”

Puzzled, I asked, “Why now?”

Looking at his Bible almost in disbelief he said, “My next scripture.” I read Jeremiah 16 yesterday, so today the very next scripture in Jeremiah 17 is titled, ‘Observing the Sabbath’. “

I burst out laughing, “Well alright!”

“It’s not alright.” He snapped back, half amused and half annoyed.

Snickering I said, “That’s my Daddy! I guess I won’t have to go to church alone.”

Listeners of the Bible

God spoke to Moses from a burning bush. In 1 Kings 19, God’s spoke in a gentle whisper to Elijah. Ezekiel heard God’s voice as loud as the roar of rushing water. And just before Jesus’ birth, an angel of the Lord spoke to Joseph in a dream. Hearing can happen during fiery circumstances of life or when peacefully sleeping. God’s voice may come like an urgent boom while other times it’s barely audible. His counsel is evident both in the Old and New Testament. Each of these listeners was confident they were hearing God. They listened and believed.

Ears in Training

“But I don’t hear God,” some might say. Jesus assures us in John’s Gospel that Christians do hear Him. “My sheep hear my voice…” (John 10:27). He says He calls us by name. His flock recognize the voice of The Shepherd and follow. Many believers start off like Samuel does in 1 Samuel 3, not recognizing God’s voice. Listening takes practice. Learning to hear God is encouraged when we witness it modeled. It gives us confidence. Elizabeth reassures Mary this way in Luke 1:45. “Blessed is she who has believed that what the Lord has said to her will be accomplished.” Elizabeth’s support can inspire us to do this for one another today! Reading God’s Word daily, documenting it, and sharing what we hear in a safe, small Yada group is vital. Together we’re training ourselves to listen and believe.

The Invitation

It was exciting to witness God inviting Joel to His house on Father’s Day. God still speaks, and sometimes He’s pretty darn funny. Hebrews 4:12 teaches us that God’s Word is alive, active, and breathing. So, hearing sometimes is simply a matter of agreeing with what God has already said.

Therefore everyone who hears these words of mine and puts them into practice is like a wise man who built his house on the rock. The rain came down, the streams rose, and the winds blew and beat against that house; yet it did not fall, because it had its foundation on the rock. (Matthew 7:24-25)

Shepherd’s Voice

Do you expectantly listen for The Shepherd’s voice? Hearing Him is as close as opening your Bible.

Is the honeymoon over?

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I had been a Christian two years. Why wasn’t my life going well? I’d started on a pink cloud and everything was glorious! I was hearing God’s voice. I was all about Bible study. Several people in my family got saved after I did. Then disappointments and discouragements started piling up, and I wasn’t getting answers.

My mother was diagnosed with breast cancer. We had a close relationship and I was afraid she was going to die. My sister was moving to another state, so I was losing her support. And my relationship with my husband was struggling. Our communication was superficial and it left me feeling empty and wanting something more. I was lonely. It definitely felt like the honeymoon was over. I already suffered from anxiety, even as a Christian, but this was like a debilitating panic attack.

In desperation, I got alone in my bedroom and opened up my Bible. I begged God to talk to me and help me. He gave me Psalm 34, where David is pretending to be insane. Feeling I was on the edge of sanity myself, this took my breath away:

I sought the Lord, and he answered me; he delivered me from all my fears.

Those who look to him are radiant; their faces are never covered with shame.

This poor man called, and the Lord heard him; he saved him out of all his troubles.

The angel of the Lord encamps around those who fear him, and he delivers them.

Taste and see that the Lord is good; blessed is the one who takes refuge in him.

One more random flip brought me to:

Peace I leave with you; my peace I give you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid. John 14:27

His peace poured into me like never before. All my anxiety faded as I kept hearing and repeating: “All I want is Jesus.”

With my eyes on Him, I let go of all the expectations for my earthly relationships that day. All these people couldn’t meet my needs, so I kept going to the Bible. I kept reading. I kept writing. I kept sharing in Yada my fears and disappointments, my confessions, my hopes. Time after time, I said, “I’m turning to Jesus. He’s going to have my answers and I’m going to wait.”

Fast forward to Valentine’s Day this year. My husband made me a special, romantic dinner and asked if I wanted to hear a story. When we were dating, I used to ask him to tell me a story, meaning I wanted to know about him and his life. The way he asked took me back there. Of course I wanted to hear a story and said, “Yes!” He began digging in the pocket of his jeans while I waited curiously.

Finally, he pulled out a single white pearl and set it on the table before me. “See this pearl? It really has no value.” Then he paused. “But it’s priceless to me. For the past several days, I’ve noticed this pearl lying in the same place on the ground as I rushed by. Each time I saw it, it reminded me of you. Then yesterday I decided to pick it up so I could give it to you today. It represents how priceless you are to me. Passing it by several times before actually picking it up reminded me not to take you for granted.”

I was stunned. Speechless. With tears in my eyes, I thanked him. It took me another day to really process what had happened. I even asked him to repeat the story. It reminded me of Matthew 13:45-46, the Parable of the Pearl of Great Price. I journaled the story and the scripture and prayed, thanking God, so grateful for this husband. It beautifully illustrated the work God had done in our marriage with this extraordinarily touching and tender moment.

Do you long for something that seems impossible to restore? Is the honeymoon over in your marriage, in a friendship, in your job, especially in your relationship with Jesus?

I wasn’t looking to God for my answers. I kept trying to fix things myself. It was only when I let go of all but Him through reading, writing, and sharing over a long period of time that he restored years of disconnect. Jesus became enough in the midst of my struggles.

Praying this is an encouragement to you today.

PS. Save the date of April 4th for our live webinar! More details to come next week.

Where is Your There?

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Brennan Manning was an amazing man of God who said, “Define yourself radically as one beloved by God. This is the true self. Every other identity is an illusion.” The Bible is about this kind of radical love. In the book of Hosea, Gomer was loved despite all the ways she hurt her husband and God. Hosea was instructed by God to marry a woman he knew would betray him. What courage, what obedience. But even greater is how God uses this story to tell of His love for His beloved people, Israel. He gave them everything and they betrayed Him for the lust of other lovers. Many of us know the hurt and pain unfaithfulness causes. In the midst of this betrayal, God shows love and mercy. Reading Hosea 2:14-23, God makes an amazing declaration for Gomer and Israel then, and more importantly to us today:

“Therefore, I am now going to allure her;

I will lead her into the desert and speak tenderly to her.

There I will give her back her vineyards,

and will make the Valley of Achor (trouble) a door of hope.

There she will sing (respond) as in the days of her youth,

as in the day she came up out of Egypt (slavery).”

Where is there for Gomer, for Israel? Where is there for us today? Where is God taking you to know and hear His tender voice, redeem what you once had, and find a door of hope from the trouble you face? There was a desert for Gomer, Israel and Jesus. But there they get back the vineyards, hope and an opportunity to respond to the One that provided the mercy and love to get back what they once had–a relationship with radical love.

The desert is a dry place where thirst and hunger are not satisfied. It is hot, and without provision death comes fast. It is not a place of vineyards and hope. But there was where God was and he was at work to draw back a people, not His people, to be His beloved. He loved in the midst of His pain, as they and we chose other lovers.

Maybe your desert place, your there, is the very place God is drawing you to renew your true identity as radically loved by God? It is in desolation and desert places of the heart that God desires to speak tenderly to you and draw you back to what has always been there – God the Father’s love. God goes on in these verses to declare His commitment to an undying relationship in an unbreakable covenant of love for Israel and for us today: 

“I will betroth you to me forever;

I will betroth you in righteousness and justice,

in love and compassion…”

Jesus Christ has fulfilled this promise and has betrothed us to Himself. He is the Bridegroom and we are His beloved Bride, the Church. He has given us everything. In this season of love may we all be willing to go there with our Lover. Let God satisfy our true longing with His radical love because “beloved by God” is our true identity.

(Please play “Love Like This” by Lauren Daigle. Let’s celebrate True Love today!)

Intentional Wondering Buys the Field

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Jeremiah 32:8 “I knew this was the word of the Lord, so I bought the field”

The city of Jerusalem was besieged; Jeremiah would likely have heard the siege ramps being built against the high walls protecting the city.  But Jeremiah did not concern himself with that.He had a story to tell about God and how he was calling him to personal action in the midst of chaos.

He was affirmed by God to buy a field at such an unreasonable time. But he knew God was speaking to him, right there in the middle of all the commotion. Later in the chapter, God gives Jeremiah a deeper understanding of what the deed to this property meant to the covenant promises God had for Israel.  But only after Jeremiah obeyed.

Wondering

A commentary on this story said, “We wonder sometimes what God’s will for us is, or how we can know what it is, then something happens or we meet someone who, without knowing it, says or does something that confirms for us the way ahead.”

“Intentional” Wondering

At YadaFactor we still wonder, but we do it with intention!  Without an intentional action plan for discernment and spiritual growth, we are far more apt to lose focus and get distracted.  Without an intentional plan, we start dismissing the internal wondering for voices and choices not of God.  We are more easily wooed by our own wants and desires. Voices like:  “You can’t know for certain.” “Things won’t change.” “Does it really matter anyway?”

Intentionality in Yada is reading, re-reading, writing, reviewing, verbally processing a week at a time to see and hear God; we learn to wonder intentionally.

An Invitation To Increased Clarity

We invite you to our next online course, YadaFactor Experience.  This is an invitation to do more than take a course to learn to hear God.  It is an invitation to enter more deeply into God’s story with your own life story one day at a time.  Whatever is happening in your life, God wants to speak to you, to lead you, and experience with you the joy of knowing that He is speaking.

The Yada Experience

Learning to hear God from an experienced Yada Coach provides the essential guidance you need to listen and hear with confidence.  We believe it may be what is missing in the church today.  We have so much Christian information available, but how do we know what is for us personally?

If Jeremiah had relied on his reasoning as to whether he should buy the field that day, it may have not happened.  But, having learned to hear God over many years of experiences with God, he could confidently take action.

Our next course starts soon.  Learn more at www.YadaFactor.com

Who’s Speaking?

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Demanding Voices

The cries were deafening. They demanded, loudly screaming, “Crucify him, Crucify him! Jesus was a threat on many levels. The leaders and crowds were unwilling to examine what Jesus threatened in them. History was being fulfilled. God’s long awaited Messiah had come, but they refused to listen to him. The crowds loud demands moved Pilate to please them over the truth he knew. Jesus was an innocent man.

 “…they were urgent, demanding with loud cries that He should be crucified. And their voices prevailed. So Pilate decided that their demands should be granted.” Luke 23:23-24 

I have to admit; I understand the power of demands that scream so loudly. They come in the form of expectations, obligations, opinions, and decisions. Pilate heard audible voices, but it’s the silent demands in the mind that are harder to detect. Yet if undetected and unexamined they will attempt to crucify our lives.

Internal Thoughts

Seeking God one morning, I was challenged to examine my thoughts and  feelings. I had been studying about the enemy of the soul and how he operates. Here are some of his characteristics:

  • He is a liar and his goal is deception.
  • He manipulates believers to doubt God and his Word.
  • He tempts to move one away from God.

 

Getting Honest

As I began to write down the thoughts I was having I was appalled. I was not conscious of the voices demanding and condeming in silence  until I asked God to show me what was going on. As I wrote these thoughts down they became real, realizing I had been mediating and believing them instead of God’s living Words. These were negative internal thoughts screaming familiar tones;

  • “You can’t do this, why do you keep trying?”
  • “You’re wasting your time with that project, you are not smart enough”
  • “This will never work, give up before you make a fool of yourself.”
  • “You will fail anyway so why not quit now.”

 

These thoughts brought anger and discouragement. I began crying out to God and He said clearly as I read my next place in 1 Corinthians…stand firm.

“Thanks be to God, He gives victory through our Lord Jesus Christ. Therefore, stand firm. Let nothing move you…”  1 Corinthians 15:57-58

The negative voices were moving me in the wrong direction, and tempting me. It took time in God’s presence with his Word for insight to come. I had to get real with myself and God. In that confessing and brokenness God spoke, his voice commanded me with gentleness, authority, and love to “stand firm and let nothing move me.” He hushed what was false, overcoming the battle in an instant. God and I were alone together deeply connecting. It was an amazing moment knowing He heard me. He was enabling me in great personal weakness to stand above the loud demands that day. I was sustained firmly within by God himself. It is quite unbelievable, but this is why we share YadaFactor with others. These moments add up within us and He uses each experience to morph us into what He has designed us to be, His. To know Him and love Him above all.

Make a Decision Everyday

Everyday is a battle for our attention, the world is loud and the crowds are demanding. Make a decision now, be willing to seek God with all your heart everyday to understand yourself and your thoughts from his living Word, but even greater to know God. Taking time with Him can change everything with only a whisper, silencing the demanding voices of this world that desires our crucifixion.

Who’s voice are you listening to today?

 Take some time to examine your thoughts and let us know how God’s voice is prevailing in your life today. What is He saying to you from His ancient scrolls? 

 

 

 

Many Disguises

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“We create a mask to meet the masks of others.
Then we wonder why we cannot love,
and why we feel so alone” 
– Brenda Shoshanna

 

Many Disguises

We don’t need to wear our masks to hide our true emotions. Emotions like anger can be a mask to cover our pain. How do you handle your anger?

After doing Yada for a few years, I discovered I needed to take the elevator down from my anger and determine what I was really hiding from. I saw the need to remove some masks of my own. Working through my anger and pain, God showed me my call was to help others work through recognizing their disguises of pain. I went back to college, and after several years I have become a licensed professional counselor.

Disguised Emotions

Anger presents itself in different ways. It can be expressed as outward anger such as rage. But it can also go underground and be expressed in depression or anxiety. When asked how we are doing, we often respond, “I’m fine.” We put on a smile and wear a mask of happiness when in reality, we are not.

Anger is like an engine warning light in your car. When the light is on, it is important to look under the hood to see what the real problem is. We may overreact to a simple incident in anger, but if looked at closely, it can be traced to a buried hurt or a painful event. We may also see or experience injustice, and anger rises up. Psalm 4:4 says, “In your anger do not sin, when you are on your beds, search your hearts and be silent.”

It is possible to be angry and not to sin but we must not let our anger go underground or spew out in rage above ground. How can we learn to allow anger to reveal the real pain of our heart? James gives the answer in 1:19, “Everyone should be quick to listen, slow to speak and slow to become angry, for man’s anger does not bring the righteous life that God desires.”

Sometimes we need to share with someone the painful memories we have stored in our hearts. Who can we turn to share the inner hurts we carry?

Mask Removal

All the anger management skills won’t help control our anger if the deep wounds are not exposed and brought into the light for healing. Anger in itself is not a sin, as many believe. It is what we do with our anger that will lead to healing or to sinful behavior. A question we must ask ourselves when anger rises up is “What am I really upset about?” If you cannot figure out the answer on your own, take your hurts to God. The steps are easy.

  • Read His Word
  • Journal honestly what you are feeling and what you think God is saying through scripture
  • Share with a safe Yada group.

Hopefully you can allow God to reveal the submerged emotions and bring them out so the masks of anger can be removed. Removing all our masks can allow us to reflect all God has created us to be in vulnerability. Share your hidden hurts with God and Yada Sisters or Brothers today. By taking off our masks, we give permission for others to do the same, while we all become liberated in the process!

No Ordinary Know

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What The World Knows

Yada yada yada!

If you’re an American, you probably became familiar with the word “yada” thanks to the infamous “Yada” episode on the Jerry Seinfeld T.V. sitcom in the 1990’s. When interjected in conversations, “yada yada yada” cleverly avoids sharing details of intimate encounters. Since then, yada has become common slang used like “blah-blah-blah” to describe meaningless talk.

Merriam-Webster online dictionary defines yada as boring talk or words regarded as too dull or predictable to be worth repeating. But, nothing can be farther from the truth. God’s truth, that is. Even today when people are introduced to YadaFactor for the first time, some impishly grin while others can’t seem to resist blurting out “yada yada yada.” Be prepared fellow yada’ers! Use it as an opportunity to share how you know God intimately and daily. Yada is anything but meaningless talk or improper relationship. God created us for yada relationship with Him and to be in relationship with others too and it’s good!

God Knows

The Torah is the original source of “yada.” It’s a Hebrew word, pronounced “yah-dah,” that translates as know or knowledge. But yada is no ordinary know. It’s also far more than intellectual understanding. Yada is not just a head stuffed with the information of geniuses’ or bleary-eyed students cramming for final exams. Yada means being aware in the most intimate relational sense. In the Old Testament it describes husband and wife relationships like how Adam knew Eve. When Paul expresses how he wants to know Jesus in the New Testament, Philippians 3:10, this man’s man and pillar of the faith is talking about having personal intimate yada. Yada relationships involve both head and heart understanding and shared personal experience. Yada is power packed. It’s the superglue of soul intimacy and unity between kindred spirits.

Do You Know?

God created you to know-yada Him. In John 17:3, Jesus identifies eternal life as dependent on our having this yada relationship with God and Jesus. God wants you to know Him. But there’s a problem. Sin keeps imperfect people from having a personal relationship with the perfect God. And you’re not alone in this. The Bible says,

For everyone has sinned; we all fall short of God’s glorious standard. (Romans 3:23 NLT)

But the Good News of the Gospel is that God sent His Son, Jesus Christ, to save sinners like you and me. Only through Him can we have a personal relationship with God.

 In the Bible, Book of John 14:6, Jesus said, “I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one can come to the Father except through me.”

Do you want to know God? You respond by receiving Jesus Christ and by trusting Jesus as Savior and Lord.

“But to all who did receive him, who believed in his name, he gave the right to become children of God,” (John 1:12 ESV)

The Bible promises in the Book of Romans “…if you confess with your mouth that Jesus is Lord and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved.” (Romans 10:9 ESV)

Have you done this? Awesome! You’ve just begun your yada relationship with Jesus.

Know What?

The word “know” in John 17:3 from the Amplified Bible expresses the word know as progressively more intimately getting to know. Like any relationship, it takes time and effort to get to know God and Jesus after your salvation introduction. This relationship includes many, if not all, of the same growing pains and highs and lows as any other relationship. There’s building trust, learning how to hear God’s voice, discovering your love language with God, just to name a few. But because it’s founded on Christ’s love and hopefully motivated by our desire to grow increasingly more in love with Him, this is a match made in heaven. In YadaFactor the three daily commitments to read it, write it, share it (the Bible) keep us growing in intimacy with God and with each other. They are not laws we have to follow but practices that help us persevere, overcome trials, and celebrate triumphs together!

“There’s a difference between knowing God and knowing about God. When you truly know God, you have energy to serve him, boldness to share him, and contentment in him.” ~ Author J.I. Packer

 Who Do You Know?

How is your yada relationship with God today?

  • I don’t have a personal relationship.
  • I would like a personal relationship.
  • I have a personal relationship and would like to deepen it.

Let us know how we can help you know Him.

 

 

Observing Father’s Day

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I’m sure God still speaks and He had something to say to my husband on Father’s Day.

His Plan 

Joel’s my husband. His idea of a perfect day is fishing. So when Father’s Day was approaching he decided that was exactly what he wanted to do. We drove up the coast to Cocoa Beach on Friday night after work, arriving just before sundown. The next morning Joel was up early getting bait and rigging his kayak for the day. He disappeared from view within minutes after launching his boat and I didn’t see him again until dinnertime.

His Day, His Way

I was the first up on Sunday morning and headed for the kitchen to turn on the coffeemaker. Once brewed, I poured myself a cup and sat down with my Bible and journal and began to write: “Good morning and Happy Father’s Day dear Abba-Father …”

Who’s Day?

About the time I was finishing my quiet time, Joel walked out.

“Good morning!”
“Good morning!” I responded.
“Are you going to church?” he asked.

Going to church is flexible when we are away on weekends. We often decide last minute if we’re going to attend the familiar “big” church, try a new church, or perhaps listen to a sermon online.

“I’ve been thinking about trying that little Community Church up the street. It’s randomly come to mind several times this past week.” I answered.
Joel quickly replied, “I’m not going to church.”
“Oh. Okay.” I said, “Funny you’re saying that. Remember what Bryan said about church attendance being one of the lowest turnouts of the year on Father’s Day? I guess he was right.”

Joel sat down at the table with a cup of coffee and his Bible as I got up to get my second cup.

Suddenly he announced, “Alright, I’m going to church.”
Puzzled I asked, “Why?”
“My next scripture” he said. “The title of the very next scripture I am reading today from Jeremiah is chapter 17: “Observing the Sabbath”
I burst out laughing, “Well alright!”
He retorted, half amused and half annoyed, “It’s not alright.”
I laughed again and said, “ That’s my Daddy! Now I won’t have to go to church alone.” 

Listeners of the Bible

God spoke to Moses from a burning bush. In 1 Kings 19, God’s spoke in a gentle whisper to Elijah. Ezekiel heard God’s voice as loud as the roar of rushing water. And just before Jesus’ birth, an angel of the Lord spoke to Joseph in a dream. Hearing can happen during fiery circumstances of life or when peacefully sleeping. God’s voice may come like an urgent boom while other times it’s barely audible. His counsel is evident both in Old and New Testament. Each of these listeners were confident they were hearing God, listened, and believed.

Ears in Training 

“But I don’t hear God”, some might say. Jesus assures us in John’s Gospel that Christians do hear Him. “My sheep hear my voice…”(Jn 10:27). He says He calls us by name. His flock recognize the voice of The Shepherd and follow Him. Many believers start off like Samuel does in 1 Samuel 3, not recognizing God’s voice. Listening takes practice. Learning to hear God is encouraged when we witness it modeled. It gives us confidence. Elizabeth reassures Mary this way in Luke 1:45. “Blessed is she who has believed that what the Lord has said to her will be accomplished.” Elizabeth’s support can inspire us to do this for one another today! Reading God’s Word daily, documenting it, and sharing what we hear in a safe small Yada Group is vital. Together we’re training ourselves to listen and believe.

The Invitation

It was exciting to witness God inviting Joel to His house on Father’s Day. God still speaks, and sometimes He’s pretty darn funny. Hebrews 4:12 teaches us that God’s Word is alive, active, and breathing. So, hearing sometimes is simply a matter of agreeing with what God has already said.

“Therefore everyone who hears these words of mine and puts them into practice is like a wise man who built his house on the rock. The rain came down, the streams rose, and the winds blew and beat against that house; yet it did not fall, because it had its foundation on the rock (Matthew 7:24-25).

Shepherd’s Voice

Do you expectantly listen for The Shepherd’s voice? Hearing Him is as close as opening your Bible. What Did God Say To You Today?

One Degree of Glory

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What is a Degree?

Webster defines degree as; “any of a series of steps or stages, as in a process or course of action.” In the Bible, 2 Corinthians 3:16 tells us that when we enter life with Jesus we will begin to change, one-step or one degree at a time.

“And we all, with unveiled face, beholding the glory of the Lord, are being transformed into the same image from one degree of glory to another. For this comes from the Lord who is the Spirit.” ESV …Glory to Glory in the NIV translation.

Yada Writing and Sharing

Sharing in YadaFactor facilitates degrees of change. In many ways it is like climbing a mountain, it is a slow and sometimes challenging process. Change doesn’t always come in the time frame or grandeur that we might be expecting in today’s high-speed 21st century. God’s ways are not our ways, and He doesn’t need the transformation; we do.

God’s ultimate goal is to make us into the image of His Son. He wants to transform our thoughts, behaviors, desires, and attitudes to reflect Himself. Jesus’s desire was to love the Father and obey His commands.

Yada meetings are the time and place we take serious our relationship with God and our relationship with one another. Sharing from our journals in Yada helps us to identify sins and gives us an opportunity to confess them. Writing enables us to capture subtle nuances of God insights we would otherwise miss. Processing out loud can help us see our part in any life situation so we can take personal responsibility for what God is teaching us.

Personally

God is dealing with my tongue, and what comes out of it at times. Recently in a Yada meeting, my YadaSister had the courage to gently ask me, “Are you frustrated? Do you know where this anger is coming from right now?” I hated that moment! At the time I didn’t know why I was feeling frustrated; but she nailed it. I couldn’t answer her. All I wanted to do was run and hide or just stay angry. But after 12 years of sharing in Yada and building safe intimacy with friends, you learn that you must vulnerably “go through” the pain of change, in faith, rather than run from it. Later that evening and continuing into the next day, I had to deal with the real feelings behind the frustrations and take it to God. I listened and He lead the way to another degree of healing.

God Met Me

He reminded me that He is making me into His image. He revealed a specific wound of rejection deep inside, that had nothing to do with what was happening on the surface, yet everything to do with what was going on in my heart. God spoke with love and discipline through Proverbs 10. His Word encouraged prayer, change and more confession. He reminded me of what He had said to me two weeks prior. “ I am changing you from glory to glory, one degree of glory at a time.” This degree of change was arrived at only when I shared my writing in group and a YadaSister was inspired to ask a perceptive God question.

One Degree Today and Another Tomorrow

Each day we get to decide if we will take a step toward God or run. We chose the direction. God has something for us at the top of life’s mountains, but the goal is to know Him more with each step. The path to Him is His Word to us daily. He is guiding and speaking. Hearing Him changes us. Which direction are you walking in today? Who are you listening to? Ask God. Write something. Then share it. He will transform your life one step at a time!

Please Jesus change us one degree at a time, give us courage to move closer to you one step at a time. And help us do this just for today. Amen