Thursday Tips: Silence

God’s loyal love couldn’t have run out, 
   his merciful love couldn’t have dried up.
They’re created new every morning. 
   How great your faithfulness!
I’m sticking with God (I say it over and over). 
   He’s all I’ve got left.

 God proves to be good to the man who passionately waits
   to the woman who diligently seeks.
It’s a good thing to quietly hope, 
   quietly hope for help from God.

Lamentations 3:22-26, MSG

I’m still learning to apply those three things to my situation.

1. Passionately wait.

2. Diligently seek.

3. Quietly hope.

And I would add to that list:

4. Keep walking by faith.

Sometimes I forget to continue moving while I’m waiting, seeking and hoping. Jesus demonstrated leaving the throngs of people and going off on a mountain to pray… but after a few hours he came back down and kept loving those very people.

So how do I face the unknown future?

I walk in the truth that I know, I claim God’s good promises, and I confidently acknowledge that He will guide the life I have entrusted to Him.

Still learning,
Ginger

Water is Life

“I daren’t come and drink,” said Jill. 
Then you will die of thirst,” said the Lion. 
Oh dear!” said Jill, coming another step nearer.”I suppose I must go and look for another stream then.” 
There is no other stream,” said the Lion.” 
― C.S. LewisThe Silver Chair

We began our journey through Israel in the desert – Makhtesh Ramon.

Dry. Arid.

And yet every so often we spied brilliant evidences of life.

One tree.

One bush.

One flower.

Water is life in the desert.

– – – – – – – –

Where do you wet your lips?

How do you attempt to quench your thirst?

– – – – – – – –

This week is all about the Living Water.

“Whoever believes in me, as the Scripture has said, ‘Out of his heart will flow rivers of living water.'” John 7:38, ESV

Following and Listening,
Ginger

Following

Kevin East

Today I have the honor to be guest blogging over at Kevin East’s blog, Following to Lead. Kevin is the Executive Director of Ministries at Pine Cove, a place that is near and dear to my heart.  I have referenced Kevin’s words and blogs in the past as someone I very much admire and respect as a leader. When he offered the chance for me to contribute I jumped at the chance.

 

Here’s a snippet from the post:

Jesus said, “My sheep listen to my voice; I know them, and they follow me” (John 10:27, NIV).  I am one of God’s sheep and I have been for a long time.  That familiarity can lend itself to assuming that I know what God wants.  The years I’ve spent as a follower of Jesus often lead me to believe that I can somehow follow without listening.

I hope you’ll follow THIS LINK to read the post in its entirety and then continue to follow Kevin’s blog!

 

Listening and Following,
Ginger

Starting Fresh

Hi friends!  I hope this finds you excited about the year that’s upon us!  I’m praying that you are rested and filled up from the Advent Season and ready to hit the ground running.

In my last post of 2011 I described the need to take time and be still before the Lord.  When I wasn’t reading, I spent most of my quiet times trying to actually be still and quiet.  It turns out I’m a bit of a conversation hog when it comes to prayer.

During those times of prayer when I actually stopped and listened, I felt like the Lord impressed a few specific things on my heart.  I want to share them with you today.

HEART NOTES
-I must listen more.  God has been whispering… (make that shouting) that listening is obedience.  I need to listen to His voice, follow in His ways and trust Him at all times.

I need to claim and believe that God is glorious – so that I don’t fear or compare myself with others.

-I am blessed to be a blessing.  I need to start actively and purposefully blessing others with what I’ve been given: time, talents, and treasure.

-I must apply the gospel to my heart every moment of every day.

-I can manage my struggles on my own, but I can’t change them.  Only God can transform me.

-I must simplify my ministry by giving it determined focus – (Know the target and make the aim sure.)

CHANGES
Because of these things (and many more) I’m going to be making some changes here on the bliggity-blog.  Some will be superficial like the font type and formatting, but a few other changes will be more purposeful and noticeable.

Let’s start with this one: A theme for the year.  I thought we could use something to direct us into deeper relationship with our Abba Father.

2012 is the year of “Living History” – there are lots of avenues to explore within that theme, but more than anything I want us to truly realize that we all have a vibrant part to play in HIS story.  By living with an eternal perspective you and I can begin to live a better story than we ever thought possible.  Let’s move from being reality-TV buffs and facebook addicts to dreamers, risk takers, and adventurers for the Kingdom of God.  I’m in… are you with me?

THEME
My personal theme from this year finds it’s source in two action verbs: Listen and Follow.  I’ve selected Deuteronomy 30:15-20 as my theme verse for the year.

“See, I have set before you today life and good, death and evil. If you obey the commandments of the LORD your God that I command you today, by loving the LORD your God, by walking in his ways, and by keeping his commandments and his statutes and his rules, then you shall live and multiply, and the LORD your God will bless you in the land that you are entering to take possession of it. But if your heart turns away, and you will not hear, but are drawn away to worship other gods and serve them, I declare to you today, that you shall surely perish. You shall not live long in the land that you are going over the Jordan to enter and possess.  I call heaven and earth to witness against you today, that I have set before you life and death, blessing and curse. Therefore choose life, that you and your offspring may live, loving the LORD your God, obeying his voice and holding fast to him, for he is your life and length of days, that you may dwell in the land that the LORD swore to your fathers, to Abraham, to Isaac, and to Jacob, to give them.” Deuteronomy 30:15-20, ESV  (I know it’s a chunk of a verse to memorize, but I’m excited to hide this word in my heart!)

So what about you?  Here’s your challenge for the day/week: What is an action verb/character trait/or fruit of the spirit that you want to focus on this year?  Care to join me in memorizing a theme verse to go along with your theme word?  I would love to hear about it once you’ve decided so that we can encourage each other.

2012… it’s so on.

Living out His story,
Ginger

Listening

Long story short: I’m learning how to listen.

I’m learning how to listen to the Lord, to receive and accept constructive criticism from others, and to give my full attention when I’m in a conversation with ANYONE.  I wanted to take some time and focus on that last portion of listening.

My small group addressed this question last Wednesday: “Who do you know that’s a good listener?”

I know lots of good listeners, but one face stuck in my mind.

“What makes them a good listener?”

After a long evening of conversation we came to the conclusion that a good listener:
-asks intentional questions
-leaves space for an answer
-responds with interest
-remembers

A good listener leaves you feeling valued as a person and friend.

My friend Megan is such a good listener that I have to FORCE questions her way… otherwise we might end a conversation with me knowing nothing new about her life!  She’s spends entire phone calls asking ME questions.

I described Megan to my group and they wanted to know WHY I thought she had become such an intentional listener.  I guessed that a portion of it was personality, a portion was learned respectful behavior from loving parents, and a portion was more than likely the presence of other quality listeners in her life.  I know of one woman in particular, Carrie, whose presence in Megan’s life has been very influential.  Carrie asks great questions!

I’m about to call Megan on the phone right now and wanted to let you in on my plan to listen to her.  Carrie has an exercise that both Megan and I are familiar with – one that she uses with new groups of women every summer… The 5 H’s.  If you are looking for some intentional questions that will inspire great conversation then write these down or save them in your memory bank!

Ask someone:

-Who are your Heroes? (Who do you admire?  Who has shaped you into the person you are today?)

-What is your Heritage?  (Tell me about your family, life growing up, your heritage of faith.)

-What are your Highlights?  (What are the high points in your life story? – the things that thrilled you, still put a smile on your face)

-What are your Heartaches? (What has hurt your heart in this life?)

-What are your Hopes? (What are your hopes, dreams, goals, or vision for the future?)

I’ve seen these questions used in everything from a phone conversation to a women’s Bible study with 10 in the group.  Take your time.  Space them out.  More than anything else – listen.  Don’t be thinking of your OWN answers while supposedly listening.  Honor and love the people in your life by listening to their hearts.

“When you do things, do not let selfishness or pride be your guide. Instead, be humble and give more honor to others than to yourselves. Do not be interested only in your own life, but be interested in the lives of others.”  Philippians 2:3-4, NCV

Do you have any tips for listening?  What questions have you found that help stir up great conversation with others?

Following,
Ginger