Follow the Leader

You may know by now that my husband and I have a dog named Autumn. She has been the subject of a few of my blogs. Maybe you’ve read some of them. She definitely has some interesting behaviors.

Autumn’s newest interesting behavior is that she follows my husband everywhere he goes in the house. When he moves, she moves. When he is standing still, she stands still keeping her eyes on him and waiting for his next move.

Sometimes I’ll say, “Autumn is playing follow the leader again.” We laugh, but in reality, we know that she just loves my husband and feels secure in his presence.

Autumn’s behavior reminds me of a time when the nation of Israel was in the wilderness. God led them with a pillar of fire by night and a cloud by day.

When the fire or cloud moved, Israel moved. When the fire or cloud was still, Israel was still. The fire by night or the cloud by day was always in front of them. [Exodus 13:21-22]

The fire and the cloud were the presence of God. He was always with them. Leading them, protecting them, and providing for them. As long as they followed the Lord, they were safe, secure, and always headed in the right direction.

Israel was following the Leader!

Today, God doesn’t lead us with pillars of fire or clouds but He does still lead us. He leads us through His word-the Bible-and through His Holy Spirit.

Psalms 119:105 Your word is a lamp for my feet, a light on my path.

John 16:13 “But when He, the Spirit of truth, comes, He will guide you into all the truth; for He will not speak on His own initiative, but whatever He hears, He will speak; and He will disclose to you what is to come.”

Maybe you have accepted Christ as your savior but you feel afraid, insecure, alone, and confused. You’ve lost your peace and your joy. Get back into the presence of God!

Keep God’s word before your eyes and in your hearing. Spend time worshiping the Lord, even when you don’t feel like it. Fellowship with other believers who will encourage you and pray with you and for you.

Maybe you are not a believer or follower of Jesus and you feel afraid, insecure, lost, alone and confused. You are not in the presence of God because your sin separates you from Him. I invite you to pray the prayer at the end of this blog.

There is only one access to God’s presence and that’s through Jesus. Jesus paid for all sin for all time when He gave His life as a sacrifice for our sins. When we accept Jesus’ payment for our sins we have full access to God, eternal life, peace, and joy.

John 14:6 Jesus answered, “I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.”

There is no excuse for any of us to not be in God’s presence. He invites us to be with Him. He’s made a way for us to be with Him. In His presence, we are safe, secure, and never alone.

Deuteronomy 31:8 The Lord himself goes before you and will be with you; he will never leave you nor forsake you. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged.

Likewise, there is no reason for us to feel lost or confused. God has given us His word and His Spirit to lead us and guide us into all truth.

Let’s follow the Leader. Let’s follow the Lord into the new year. Let’s resolve to stay in His presence and to allow His word and His Spirit to lead us and guide us into His purpose and His plan for our lives this year and every year.

I pray you all will have a safe and happy 2020. God bless you all!

~Patrice Maguire

Dear God, I know I am a sinner, and I ask for Your forgiveness. I believe Jesus Christ is Your Son. I believe that He died for my sin and that You raised Him to life. I want to trust Him as my Savior and follow Him as Lord, from this day forward. Guide my life and help me to do Your will through the power of Your Holy Spirit. I pray this in the name of Jesus. Amen.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

​Broken Ears

While recently participating in a local children’s book festival and enjoying the interaction with the children and their parents, I overheard a conversation between an adult and a child. The adult was explaining to the child that because her ears were broken, she needed a special device to help her hear.

What stood out to me was how she referred to her hearing impairment. She said her ears were broken. She wanted to explain her impairment in a way a child would understand.

When our ears are broken we can’t hear what is being said to us or around us. The inability to hear could result in confusion or a lack of understanding.

Thankfully there are devices to assist us in hearing better, therefore, eliminating much of the confusion and lack of understanding.

When our spiritual ears are broken we can’t understand what God is saying to us through His word. And trying to read His word can be very confusing.

Ezekiel 12:2 “Son of man, you are living among a rebellious people. They have eyes to see but do not see and ears to hear but do not hear, for they are a rebellious people.”

Sometimes our spiritual ears may not be broken but we may instead have selective hearing. Having raised three boys, I am very familiar with selective hearing.

2 Timothy 4:3 For the time will come when people will not put up with sound doctrine. Instead, to suit their own desires, they will gather around them a great number of teachers to say what their itching ears want to hear.

Or sometimes we may choose to stick our fingers in our spiritual ears while drowning out God’s voice with a loud la-la-la-la-la. Many times we just don’t want to know the truth because we don’t want to change or lose control of our lives, which in reality is a mess.

Isaiah 42:20 “You have seen many things, but you pay no attention; your ears are open, but you do not listen.”

Whether our spiritual ears are broken, being selective, or choosing not to listen at all, it’s because we do not belong to God.

John 8:47 “Whoever belongs to God hears what God says. The reason you do not hear is that you do not belong to God.” Ouch!

But just as the woman at the Book Festival explained, in her conversation with the child, there is a way to help our broken ears hear. Even our broken spiritual ears.

The Holy Spirit helps us understand what God is saying and doing. He helps us hear God with our spiritual ears and understand what He is saying to us, therefore eliminating confusion.

1 Corinthians 2:9-10a However, as it is written: “What no eye has seen, what no ear has heard, and what no human mind has conceived” – the things God has prepared for those who love him – these are the things God has revealed to us by his Spirit.

The only way to receive the gift of the Holy Spirit, which is needed to hear and comprehend the things God is saying and doing, is through Jesus. Jesus is the only access to God and He is the only access to the Holy Spirit.

Acts 2:38 Peter replied, “Repent and be baptized, every one of you, in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins. And you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit.”

Do you read your bible but can’t understand what God is trying to say to you? Do you have selective hearing when it comes to the things of God? Or maybe you just choose not to hear what God is saying.

The Holy Spirit is the answer; the help for the spiritually hearing impaired. He will give you a better understanding of God and His word. He will give you a desire to know the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth. He will change your heart and mind and give you new desires.

All you have to do is pray the prayer at the end of this post and mean it with all of your heart.

Prepare to hear things you’ve never heard before. Prepare for new understanding. Prepare for spiritual assurance, certainty, and confidence. Prepare to be amazed!

~Patrice Maguire

Dear God, I know I am a sinner, and I ask for Your forgiveness. I believe Jesus Christ is Your Son. I believe that He died for my sin and that You raised Him to life. I want to trust Him as my Savior and follow Him as Lord, from this day forward. Guide my life and help me to do Your will through the power of Your Holy Spirit. I pray this in the name of Jesus. Amen.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Do You Know Your Father?

I enjoy the TV show “Finding Your Roots.” It’s a show that hosts famous people and reveals their ancestry to them. They learn things about their family that they never knew before. I like the history behind it all. It’s extremely fascinating! Maybe you’ve seen it.

Recently as I was watching, there were two guests on the show that wanted to know more about their fathers. One’s father was an absentee father and the other had a biological father but was raised by a man she considered to be her “real dad.”

To discover the unknowns about the guest’s fathers, the professionals used a genealogy paper trail and genetic DNA analysis to reveal hundreds of years old secrets. Then they compiled it all into a book they called a “book of life.”

These two individuals had spent most of their lives wondering about fathers they barely knew. They knew their father’s names but almost nothing about their father’s lineage. They wondered how their lives would have been different if their fathers had been part of their lives a little bit more.

They both felt that if they explored their paternal roots they would see themselves more completely than ever before.

The highly anticipated moment had arrived. They both received the information they had been waiting for and longing for.

Some of their comments, after receiving their book of life, were: “There is a peace in knowing the truth about who you are and where you come from; it’s empowering.” “I have a feeling of wholeness.” “Learning about the father I never knew is transforming.” “You gave me information, context and a journey to go on.” “This changes the way I look at myself.” “It’s healing to know who I am and where I come from. I leave here a changed person; healed on the inside. It’s very powerful!”

We have a Heavenly Father that wants us to know more about Him. There is a paper trail called the Bible that reveals hundreds of years old secrets about our Heavenly Father; God.

We can get to know God better through the study of His word (the bible). The bible is also one of the ways God speaks to us. We also get to know Him through prayer (talking to Him) and experiencing Him; spending quality time with Him and noticing His presence in our lives. These are all the same ways we get to know anyone.

We can’t get to know someone if we don’t listen to them, talk to them and spend time with them. Right?

Most of us know more about our earthly father than we do about our Heavenly Father. We may know His name but we know almost nothing about Him or His character. He doesn’t want to be an absentee Father. He wants very much to be included in every aspect of our lives.

Psalm 53:2 God looks down from heaven on all mankind to see if there are any who understand, any who seek Him.

How would our lives be different if we got to know our Heavenly Father better and allowed Him to be part of our lives a little bit more?

Would we feel more complete and whole? Would we have more peace and joy? Feel more empowered? Would the knowledge of our Heavenly Father transform our lives? Would that knowledge cause us to see ourselves differently? Would His presence be healing to us in every way?

In my own life, I can emphatically answer yes to all these questions.

Ephesians 1:17-19 I keep asking that the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the glorious Father, may give you the Spirit of wisdom and revelation, so that you may know Him better. I pray that the eyes of your heart may be enlightened so that you may know the hope to which He has called you, the riches of His glorious inheritance in His holy people, and His incomparably great power for us who believe.

Did you know that our Heavenly Father also has a book of life? We get to choose whether or not our names are written in His book.

Choosing to have our names in God’s book of life is as simple as accepting forgiveness for our sins through the blood sacrifice of Jesus on the cross.

Hebrews 9:28 So Christ was sacrificed once to take away the sins of many.  Romans 10:9 If you declare with your mouth, “Jesus is Lord,” and believe in your heart that God raised Him from the dead, you will be saved.

Revelation 21:27 [Speaking of heaven] Nothing impure will ever enter it, nor will anyone who does what is shameful or deceitful, but only those whose names are written in the Lamb’s book of life.

Knowing the truth about our Heavenly Father and what He has provided through Christ, to be in a relationship with us, sets us on a journey to tell others this same truth.

Mark 16:15 He [Jesus] said to them, “Go into all the world and preach the gospel to all creation.

The gospel is the good news concerning Christ, the kingdom of God and salvation (Merriam-Webster Dictionary App).

Will you get to know your Heavenly Father better today? Will you choose to have your name written in His book of life? Would you be willing to set out on the fascinating, adventurous journey that your Heavenly Father has in store for you?

The above questions are the most important questions you will ever answer in your lifetime. I hope and pray that your answer is yes to all of them.

~Patrice Maguire

Prayer for salvation: Dear God, I know I am a sinner, and I ask for your forgiveness. I believe Jesus Christ is Your Son. I believe that He died for my sin and that You raised Him to life. I want to trust Him as my Savior and follow Him as Lord, from this day forward. Guide my life and help me to do Your will. I pray this in the name of Jesus. Amen.

 

 

Prayer

And it came to pass in those days, that He went out into a mountain to pray, and continued all night in prayer to God (Luke 6:12). 

One question that comes to mind when we ponder the prayer life of Jesus is why He prayed at all. To put it another way, why does God need to pray to God? This is indeed a challenging question, and the Scriptures do not offer any explanation as to why Jesus prayed. They simply tell us that He did; so we are left to speculate on something like this.

Let’s consider some plausible explanations: 

First, because He is the Son of God, He wanted to maintain a very close relationship with His Father. Notice that He refers to the Father in the prayers that are recorded in the Bible. Examples: Our Father, which art in heaven (Matthew 6:9); and father, the hour has come; glorify Thy Son… (John 17:1).

Second,  in order to be the effective Teacher on prayer, He needed to pray in the presence of His disciples. When He was about to feed the 5,000 men, He offered a prayer of thanksgiving in the presence of all the people and the disciples (John 6:11); and at the Last Supper, He took the cup, and gave thanks (Luke 22:17; see also Luke 22:19). In His Sermon on the Mount He taught that we should pray without hypocrisy (Matthew 6:5), pray privately (Matthew 6:6a), realize the Father rewards prayer (Matthew 6:6b), avoid empty praying (Matthew 6:7), recognize that the Father knows our need even before we ask (Matthew 6:8), pray directly to the Father (Matthew 6:9a), recognize God’s holiness when we pray (Matthew 6:9b), recognize God’s sovereignty when we pray (Matthew 6:10), pray for our basic needs (Matthew 6:11), pray for forgiveness and be willing to forgive others (Matthew 6:12),pray for deliverance from Satan and His attacks (Matthew 6:13a), and pray constantly with an expectation that God will answer (Matthew 7:7-8). 

Here are some other basic facts about the prayer life of our Savior:

He often prayed alone (Matthew 14:22-23; Mark 6:46; Luke 9:18). 

He prayed for children (Matthew 19:13).

He often prayed early in the morning (Mark 1:35).

Sometimes He prayed all night (Luke 6:12).

He prayed, knowing the Father heard Him (John 11:41-42).

He considered His Temple a house of prayer (Matthew 21:13).

May we as God’s people learn to pray as He did! And He spake a parable unto them to this end, that men ought always to pray, and not faint (Luke 18:1).

Keep on praying to God on high,

Keep on praying, He hears your cry!

God will answer the sincere heart;

Keep on praying! He will do His part!

Keep on praying all through the strife;

Prayer will purchase a crown of life;

Heav’n is ringing with songs above,

Hallelujah for a Savior’s love!

For Jesus hears you,

He’s listening to your plea,

So keep on praying,

And He will answer thee! 

Keep on Praying

Frederick W. Vandersloot

These thoughts from a higher perspective were presented by John Rataczak, Ph.D.

                                         www.eleutherosbooks.com

Lacking Humility

Have you ever felt annoyed by someone who just can’t seem to get it together? They always seem to be going through some sort of crisis and they are always asking for prayer. You may find yourself saying things like “This person is supposed to be a Christian. What is their problem?” Well, don’t feel too bad, I do it too. In fact, I just did it today.

This summer I have been studying the subject of faith. This afternoon I was studying Romans 14:1-3 Accept him whose faith is weak, without passing judgment on disputable matters. One man’s faith allows him to eat everything, but another man, whose faith is weak, eats only vegetables. The man who eats everything must not look down on him who does not, and the one who does not eat everything must not condemn the one who does, for God has accepted him.

The way I study the bible is I read the passage then reflect on it and then respond to what I’ve read and reflected on. My response is usually in the form of a prayer. As I was praying, the Lord showed me that I was guilty of judging others whose faith may be weaker than my own. He has accepted them, therefore, I should accept them. Besides who do I think I am?  I go through plenty of my own crisis and often need prayer and ask for prayer. Who knows maybe someone is annoyed by my seemingly weak faith.

Ultimately it’s basically all rooted in pride. God’s word says in Proverbs 16:18 that Pride goes before destruction, a haughty spirit before a fall. And Zephaniah 2:3 says Seek the Lord, all you humble of the land, you who do what He commands. Seek righteousness, seek humility; perhaps you will be sheltered on the day of the Lord’s anger. Obviously, God is not pleased with my pridefulness and lack of humility.

So it’s with a repentant heart that I ask the Lord to forgive me and to help me to do unto others as I would have them do unto me (Luke 6:31). I am thankful and honored for the privilege to intercede on behalf of others. It is part of my purpose. And I will do it with a humble and loving heart. After all, isn’t that what the Holy Spirit is doing for me and for you right now? Romans 8:27 And He who searches our hearts knows the mind of the Spirit because the Spirit intercedes for God’s people in accordance with the will of God.

~Patrice Maguire