​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.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

My Journey/Week 2

Sometimes I like to go through Pinterest to read scriptures and then turn them into prayers. Does anyone else do that? Is that weird?

Maybe that isn’t holy enough for some people but there are some really great scriptures on Pinterest! God’s word is God’s word no matter where it’s found.

I love to pray scripture. I feel as though one can never go wrong when they pray God’s word.

Isaiah 55:11 So is my word that goes out from my mouth; it will not return to Me empty but will accomplish what I desire and achieve the purpose for which I sent it.

As I scrolled through Pinterest, the scriptures that stood out to me the most were 1 Thessalonians 5:16-18. Rejoice always, pray continually, give thanks in all circumstances; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.

If you have been following my blog, you know that I found out 2 weeks ago that I have breast cancer. So as I was reading and praying these particular scriptures, I began focusing on the words always, continually, and all.

My prayer went something like this: Lord, help me to always rejoice, to continually be in prayer, and to be thankful in all circumstances. That really got me thinking as I prayed. It went to the very core of me. It made me take inventory of myself.

Under the unpleasant circumstances of breast cancer, am I rejoicing always? Am I praying continually? Am I giving thanks in this circumstance?

This week has been really hard for me. Not only am I still waiting on the results of my bloodwork, before I can make a decision about treatment, but I’ve also had to meet with the breast reconstruction surgeon and the radiation oncologist to get information in order to make a more informed decision concerning treatment.

Nothing hits you in the face with breast cancer reality more than meeting with these two doctors.

So, getting back to my scriptures, as a result of my current circumstance, I can definitely say I am praying continually. I usually talk to the Lord throughout the day anyway, so that hasn’t really changed. But what I talk to Him about has changed as new challenges arise.

I’ve always asked the Lord to help me several times a day throughout the day. Those “Lord, help me” prayers have definitely increased.

What I am struggling with these days is the rejoicing always and giving thanks in all circumstances. Those two go completely against logic and human nature when it comes to a health crisis or any crisis for that matter.

“Lord, do you really expect me to rejoice right now? Do you really expect me to be thankful right now? Seriously?”

His answer is in verse 18; It’s His will for me in Christ Jesus. And it’s His will for you in Christ Jesus.

He didn’t put a stipulation on rejoicing, praying and thankfulness. He didn’t say it is His will for us to do these three things unless we have some sort of life-altering crisis. No! He said rejoice always, pray continually, and be thankful in all circumstances.

Why are these 3 things God’s will for me? For you? Rejoicing, praying, and gratitude is not for God’s good. They are for our good.

It’s as if God is giving us a prescription for what ails us. He is our good Father and He always knows what’s best for His children.

Why should we rejoice always?

Nehemiah 8:10b says that the joy of the Lord is our strength. Proverbs 17:22 says that a cheerful heart is a good medicine, but a crushed spirit dries up the bones.

I don’t know about you, but I sure could use plenty of God’s strength while going through this crisis. And a cheerful heart sounds a whole lot better than dried up bones any day.

Why should we pray continually?

When I am confused and struggling, it always helps me to talk to someone. If I’m going to talk to someone, I might as well talk to the One in control and who has the power to change things.

Prayer is just talking to God. I am so thankful that I can approach the all-powerful Creator of all things, my Father, without fear and talk to Him about anything.

Hebrews 4:16 Let us then approach God’s throne of grace with confidence, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help us in our time of need.

Why should we give thanks in all circumstances?

Being thankful makes us happy. It replaces sadness and self-pity with joy. It takes us back to “rejoice always.” It is hard to be sad and discouraged when we are being thankful.

Romans 1:21 tells us what happens to those who are not thankful. “For although they knew God, they neither glorified Him as God nor gave thanks to Him, but their thinking became futile and their foolish hearts were darkened.” Yikes!

Last week I stated in my blog, that I may not understand why or how I have breast cancer, but I am determined, through the power of the Holy Spirit, to trust God and to submit to His will for me.

According to 1 Thessalonians 5:16-18, God’s will for me is to rejoice always, to pray continually, and to be thankful in all circumstances. And by the power of the Holy Spirit, I will submit to His will for me.

Will you do the same? What are you going through today? Have you recently received a devastating life-altering diagnosis? Are you going through any sort of crisis? Do you know someone who is?

Will you submit to God’s will for you today? Will you commit to, through the power of the Holy Spirit, rejoice always, pray continually, and be thankful despite your circumstances?

I’m not saying it will be easy. It’s not easy for me. But it’s God’s prescription for what ails us. We just need to be good little children and take our medicine. It’s for our good and His glory!

~Patrice Maguire

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Nowhere to Run to! Nowhere to Hide!

Temptation is all around us! It’s in our homes, in our workplaces, in our classrooms. It’s in our cars, at parties, at the grocery store and even in our churches. It’s everywhere!

Sometimes I feel like Martha Reeves and the Vandellas when they sang the words, “Nowhere to run to, baby, nowhere to hide.”

Or is there?

Thankfully the temptation to sin is not a sin. The sin is when we give in to the temptation.

James 1:14-15 But each person is tempted when they are dragged away by their own evil desire and enticed. Then, after desire has conceived, it gives birth to sin; and sin, when it is full-grown, gives birth to death.

Whoa! Temptation leads to sin and sin leads to death.

Romans 6:23 For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.

So what should we do when we are tempted to sin? Should we ignore it and hope it goes away? Should we play with fire and see how close we can get to sin without getting burned? Should we use will power?

I’m just like everyone else. I’m human. I am tempted to sin every day just like you. Over time I’ve learned that I have to rely on God for help to resist temptation or I will eventually fail.

Matthew 26:41 “Watch and pray so that you will not fall into temptation. The spirit is willing, but the flesh is weak.”

Notice Jesus said to watch and pray. That means we have to stay on our guard because temptation is coming and it’s dangerous.

1 Peter 5:8 Be alert and of sober mind. Your enemy the devil prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour.

Once we see that we are being tempted, we should pray. Will power alone won’t be enough to fight the temptation. Even if we manage to resist the temptation the first time, it will come back, again and again, to wear us down.

When we pray we are humbling ourselves and asking God for help. Basically, we are saying to God, “I can’t fight this temptation on my own. I need Your help or I will fail!”

James 4:7 Submit yourselves, then, to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you.

To submit to God is to yield to His authority; surrender to His will [Merriam-Webster App].

When we surrender to God’s will we are saying “no” to our own will. When we say “no” to our own will we are saying “yes” to God’s will. God’s will is that we desire to please Him and not ourselves.

Galatians 5:16 So I say, walk by the Spirit, and you will not gratify the desires of the flesh.

Submitting to God helps us to resist the devil. The devil is the one behind the temptation. He’s the one that’s always trying to entice us to sin because he knows that sin separates us from a holy God.

Ultimately separation from God without repentance leads to spiritual death. Thus the scripture earlier, the wages of sin is death [Romans 6:23].

Resist means to exert force in opposition [Merriam-Webster App].

Exerting force in opposition to something requires violence. Meaning we have to see temptation as our enemy; a threat and a danger. This is not a time for passivity.

We have to see that the possibility of giving in to temptation is a threat to our reputation, our relationships, our family, and our future. It can also be a threat to our health. And as Christians, it is a threat to our spiritual growth and our influence for the kingdom of God.

We have to view temptation as a thief that is trying to steal everything from us! We have to see it as our enemy!

John 10:10a The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy.

God is our only hope to not fall into temptation.

1 Corinthians 10:13 No temptation has overtaken you except what is common to mankind. And God is faithful; He will not let you be tempted beyond what you can bear. But when you are tempted, He will also provide a way out so that you can endure it.

Even Jesus was tempted by the devil. Each time the devil tempted Him He fought back with God’s word; the scriptures [Luke 4:1-13].

The Bible refers to the word of God as a sword [Ephesians 6:17]. It is a weapon! A weapon to use against our enemy; temptation.

What are some things you are tempted by? Lust, gluttony, greed? Laziness, anger, envy, pride? Hate, adultery, stealing? Lying, cheating, gossiping? Drugs, sexual perversion? The list goes on and on.

Don’t make the mistake of thinking temptation is harmless and something that can be entertained or played with. See it for what it is…your enemy; a real threat and very dangerous.

Let’s be on the watch for temptation because it is coming. Let’s humbly submit to God by praying and asking Him to help us to resist temptation. Let’s use God’s word to fight temptation like Jesus did.

So, to the questions, is there someplace to run to or someplace to hide in times of temptation?

Absolutely!

Proverbs 18:10 The name of the Lord is a fortified tower; the righteous run to it and are safe. Psalm 32:7 You are my hiding place; You will protect me from trouble and surround me with songs of deliverance.

~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. I pray this in the name of Jesus. Amen.

 

Worry is a Waste of Time

It was an extremely stressful time, at my husband’s place of employment, a few weeks ago. Employees were becoming unemployed left and right. Two-thirds of the employees were losing their jobs. Everyone was wondering if they were included in that fraction. Worry was definitly in the air.

Their mindset determined their behavior as they waited to discover the fate of their employment status. Some were physically ill; throwing up. Some were angry. Some were surprised and others were not so surprised. Some were hopeful while others were nervous. There was undeniably a smorgasbord of feelings and emotions on display that day.

My husband had a different attitude concerning the situation. He cleaned his office thinking if he was losing his job he didn’t want to leave it dirty for the next person. Then he sat down at his desk and proceeded to get plenty of work done. Everyone else was preoccupied so he had more time for completing tasks.

Most other employees were busy roaming around discussing what might happen to them. They couldn’t understand how my husband could sit at his desk and work while being surrounded by chaos and uncertainty.

My husband’s attitude was, “If I lose my job, I lose my job. That is something that is out of my control. And it doesn’t change the fact that work has to be done today.”

Was being worried about the situation going to help the employees keep their jobs? Was making themselves so sick with worry, that they were physically ill, going to secure their positions? Was walking around talking about possible scenarios going to insure their employment?

No! All of those things were a waste of precious time and energy. None of those actions were going to change the decisions that had already been made before members from corporate had arrived that day. Their employment status had already been decided.

Matthew 6:25,27,32,34 “Therefore I tell you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat or drink; or about your body, what you will wear. Is not life more than food, and the body more than clothes? Can anyone of you by worrying add a single hour to your life?Your heavenly Father knows that you need these things. Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own.”

When we see man as our provider instead of God as our provider, worry can and will easily set in. The world’s perspective is opposite from God’s perspective.

Romans 12:2 Do not conform to the pattern of this world but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is; His good, pleasing and perfect will.

The only way to change your way of thinking, to coincide with God’s way of thinking, is by reading, listening and studying God’s word (the bible) and by praying; asking God to give you an understanding of His word and asking Him to help you see things from His perspective.

Faith is the opposite of fear. Fear results in worry. Faith results in peace and joy.

Romans 10:17 Consequently, faith comes from hearing the message, and the message is heard through the word about Jesus.

When we know the creator and sustainer of heaven and earth; we don’t have to worry. Things don’t always turn out the way we think they should but they are no surprise to God.

God has a plan and a purpose for all that He allows. He uses even the things that we perceive to be negative for our good and His glory. Therefore, worry is useless and pointless.

Genesis 50:20 You intended to harm me, but God intended it for good to accomplish what is now being done, the saving of many lives.

Instead of making ourselves sick with worry, let’s make better use of our precious time, spending it in prayer and trusting our all powerful, all knowing Heavenly Father. The creator and sustainer of all, knows what’s best for us. We just need to trust Him.

Romans 8:28 And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love Him, who have been called according to His purpose.

~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.

 

 

 

What do you do with your Pain?

What do you do with your pain? What do you do when someone hurts you? How do you react when, out of nowhere, someone becomes Mr. Hyde?

What do you say when someone makes you feel insignificant…again? It’s hard, isn’t it? Especially when it comes from someone close to you.

Just as when incurring a physical injury, our first instinct is to recoil from what is causing us pain. No one keeps their hand in the fire once they have been burned.

It’s normal to draw back from pain. But once we recover from the shock, realize what has happened, and access the damage, then what?

Should we confront the person who has hurt us? Should we retaliate? Would telling others about it help? Should we ostracize them? What should we do with our pain?

If it is possible to approach the person to discuss the situation as two mature individuals, then, of course, we should try to resolve the issue. But what if we can’t go to the person that has hurt us and confront them? What if they are unreasonable?

What if we do approach them but they only blame us for the situation or deny responsibility and never apologize; causing more pain? What then?

Initially, we have a couple of choices to make: we could either lash out in anger, making things worse or remain calm, letting the incident go, until we have had time to think things through.

Ecclesiastes 7:9 Do not be quickly provoked in your spirit, for anger resides in the lap of fools.

When we don’t know what to do we should always go to God in prayer to ask for help and go to His word for guidance. Just like a good father, God always knows what’s best.

Unfortunately, God seldom gives us a convenient or comfortable way out of this sort of dilemma. He usually asks us to do something that is completely contrary to normal human behavior.

Isaiah 55:8 “For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways, declares the Lord.”

In these painful situations, our human nature wants to retaliate, speak negatively about the person to others, shun them and refuse to forgive them. But that’s not how God says we should handle these types of situations.

Instead of retaliating against a person, Jesus instructs us to love them, do good to them and pray for them.

Luke 6:32-33, 35 Jesus said, “If you love those who love you, what credit is that to you? And if you do good to those who are good to you, what credit is that to you? But love your enemies, do good to them.”

Instead of telling others about a person’s hurtful ways, tarnishing their reputation, God’s word tells us to show love towards them by remaining quiet about what they’ve done.

Proverbs 10:12 Hatred stirs up conflict, but love covers over all wrongs.

Instead of shunning a person who mistreats us, God tells us to make peace with them and treat them well.

Romans 12:18 If it is possible, as far as it depends on you, live at peace with everyone. Luke 6:31 And as you wish that others would do to you, do so to them.

Instead of refusing to forgive those who inflict pain, God tells us to…you guessed it; forgive them.

Colossians 3:13 Bear with each other and forgive one another if any of you has a grievance against someone. Forgive as the Lord forgave you.

These are all very difficult tasks. When I am faced with a challenging assignment, I often remind myself that it may be tough but it’s not impossible. With God, all things are possible [Matthew 19:26]!

Through the power of God’s Spirit, we can accomplish God’s will.

Ephesians 3:20 Now to Him who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to His power that is at work within us.

What if we remain quiet about the person’s hurtful deeds or words, pray for them, do good to them, forgive them and make peace with them but we still have a broken heart? What if after all of that we are still hurting? What then?

We continue doing what God has told us to do in His word and trust Him to heal our broken hearts. We do our part and God always does His part.

Psalm 147:3 He heals the brokenhearted and binds up their wounds.

God’s instructions may be difficult but they do not go without reward. The rewards of obedience to God and His word are blessings and spiritual growth.

Psalm 128:1 blessed are all who fear the Lord, who walk in obedience to Him. Romans 5:3 Not only so, but we also glory in our sufferings, because we know that suffering produces perseverance; perseverance, character; and character, hope. And hope does not put us to shame, because God’s love has been poured into our hearts through the Holy Spirit, who has been given to us.

When I find it grueling to follow God’s instructions on what to do when someone hurts me, I remember what Jesus did and said while He was being mistreated in the hours before He was put to death.

First He washed Judas’ feet knowing Judas would soon betray Him. During His “so-called trial” many false accusations were made against Him but He did not defend Himself.

Jesus was beaten, mocked and whipped and never complained. He had committed no sin or wrong and yet did not resist being nailed to a cross. And, after all of that, before dying, He prayed for those who had hurt Him saying, “Father forgive them for they know not what they do [Luke 23:34].”

No matter what anyone has done to you or me, we have never endured the sort of pain, rejection, or humiliation that Jesus has endured. He had every right to defend Himself or retaliate the wrong that had been done to Him but instead, He chose to forgive. How much more should we?

~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.