Category Archives: Communication

Christmas Geese

Christmas Geese

A few years ago I heard this story as an analogy of why Jesus came to earth. I thought it was a perfect explanation that makes Jesus incarnation (becoming human) easier to understand. I hope you enjoy it as much as I did.

Wishing you a very Merry Christmas this year and a very Happy, Healthy, and Prosperous 2018!

Here is a longer, written version of the story that I found–the author is unknown:

There was once a man who didn’t believe in God and didn’t hesitate to let others know how he felt about religion and religious holidays, like Christmas. His wife did believe and raised their children to have faith in God and Jesus, despite his disparaging comments.

One snowy Christmas Eve, his wife was taking their children to a Christmas Eve service in the farm community in which they lived. She asked her husband to come, but he refused as usual, “The Christmas story is nonsense!” he exclaimed. “Why would God lower Himself to come to Earth as a man? That’s ridiculous!”

She and the children went, and he stayed home.

That night the wind began to blow and the snow turned into a blizzard. As the man looked out the window, all he could see was a blinding snowstorm. He sat down before the fireplace to relax. Suddenly, there was a loud thump. Something had hit the window.

Then, a second thump. He looked out, but couldn’t see more than a few feet because of the blinding snow.

When the storm let up a little, he ventured out to see what could have been beating on his window. In the field near the house was a flock of wild geese. Apparently they were flying south when they were caught in the blizzard and couldn’t go on.

They were lost and stranded on his farm, without food or shelter. Flapping their wings, they aimlessly flew around the field in low circles. Some had apparently flown into his window.

The man felt concern for the geese and wanted to help them.

The barn would be a great place for them to stay, he thought. It was warm and safe. They would be saved if they spent the night there waiting out the storm.

He opened the barn doors wide. Then he watched and waited, hoping they would notice the open barn and enter. But the geese just fluttered around aimlessly and didn’t seem to notice the barn or realize what it could mean for them.

The man tried to get their attention by waving a lantern, but that just seemed to scare them, and they moved further away. He went into the house and brought out some bread, broke it up, and made a breadcrumb trail leading to the barn. They still didn’t catch on.

Now he was getting frustrated. He got behind them and tried to shoo them toward the barn, but they only became frightened and scattered in every direction except toward the barn.

Nothing he did could get them to go into the barn where they would be safe. “Why don’t they follow me?” he puzzled. “Can’t they see this is the only place where they can survive?”

He thought for a moment and realized that they just wouldn’t follow a human. “If only I were a goose, then I could save them,” he said out loud.

Suddenly, he had an idea. He went into the barn, got one of his own geese, and carried it in his arms as he circled around behind the flock of wild geese. When he released his goose, it flew through the flock and straight into the safety of the barn. One by one the other geese followed it to safety.

He stood silently for a moment as the words he had spoken a few minutes earlier replayed loudly in his mind: “If only I were a goose, then I could save them!” Then he thought about what he had said to his wife earlier that evening, “Why would God want to be like us? That’s ridiculous!”

Suddenly, it all made sense. That is what God had done. We were like the geese–blind, lost, perishing. God had His Son become like us so He could show us the way and save us. That was the meaning of Christmas, he realized. As the winds and blinding snow died down, his soul became quiet. Suddenly he understood what Christmas was all about, why Christ had come.

Years of doubt and disbelief vanished like the passing storm. He fell to his knees in the snow, and prayed his first real prayer: “Thank You, Lord, for coming in human form to get me out of this world and leading me to a better one.”

Recognizing Prompts of the Holy Spirit

Recognizing Prompts of the Holy Spirit

Recognizing Prompts of the Holy Spirit

A friend of mine and I were having a conversation last week about the spiritual realm and how there is spiritual warfare going on around us that we don’t even see.

“For we are not fighting against flesh-and-blood enemies, but against evil rulers and authorities of the unseen world, against mighty powers in this dark world, and against evil spirits in the heavenly places.” Ephesians 6:12 (NLT)

“So one night the king of Aram sent a great army with many chariots and horses to surround the city. When the servant of the man of God got up early the next morning and went outside, there were troops, horses, and chariots everywhere. “Oh, sir, what will we do now?” the young man cried to Elisha. “Don’t be afraid!” Elisha told him. “For there are more on our side than on theirs!”  Then Elisha prayed, “O LORD, open his eyes and let him see!” The LORD opened the young man’s eyes, and when he looked up, he saw that the hillside around Elisha was filled with horses and chariots of fire.” 2 Kings 6:14-17 (NLT)

We can sense the spiritual realm and hear the Holy Spirit

My friend and I talked about how we are sometimes able to sense this warfare or sense the presence of evil. Sometimes it’s just a creepy feeling we can’t shake or maybe even a presence of something that’s not there or that we can’t see. Occasionally, we might have a thought or hear an inaudible “voice”. I think the closer we walk with God, the more we will be able to sense these kinds of things. We will also be able to recognize the Holy Spirit communicating with us. The Holy Spirit will frequently reveal things to us, warn us, or prompt us into prayer or action. God will often speak to us through the Holy Spirit living inside of us. Read more here on how to recognize God’s voice.

“But when the Father sends the Advocate as my representative–that is, the Holy Spirit–he will teach you everything and will remind you of everything I have told you.” John 14:26 (NLT)

“When the Spirit of truth comes, he will guide you into all truth. He will not speak on his own but will tell you what he has heard. He will tell you about the future. He will bring me glory by telling you whatever he receives from me. All that belongs to the Father is mine; this is why I said, ‘The Spirit will tell you whatever he receives from me.’” John 16:13-15 (NLT)

“For all who are led by the Spirit of God are children of God.” Romans 8:14 (NLT)

Sensing the Holy Spirit’s directions and warnings

Previously I wrote a post about hearing the Holy Spirit (God’s voice) when Jesus told me where his arm was. In that post I mentioned how I once heard comedian Michael Jr. say how God’s name is “Something”…You know, like “Something told me not to do that!” I’ve had several of the “something told me” moments over the years, but it wasn’t until I matured more spiritually that I began to understand that it was the Holy Spirit prompting, directing, or warning me about things.

A bad feeling in the middle of the night 

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Be a Light in the Darkness

Be a Light in the Darkness

Be a Light in the Darkness

“You are the light of the world—like a city on a hilltop that cannot be hidden. No one lights a lamp and then puts it under a basket. Instead, a lamp is placed on a stand, where it gives light to everyone in the house. In the same way, let your good deeds shine out for all to see, so that everyone will praise your heavenly Father.” Matthew 5:14-16 (NLT)

It seems like lately there has been so much awful, negative stuff going on all around us. There have been numerous devastating hurricanes and storms one right after another. Tragedies, attacks, murders and threats are happening both on grand scales and at individual levels affecting families all over the world. Suicide is wreaking havoc on the families and friends of its victims. Racial tensions are causing division. I could go on, but I think you get the picture. A lot stuff going on in the world lately just really kind of sucks to be honest! It’s dark. It’s broken.

Be a light in the darkness...The darkest nights produce the brightest stars.

The darkest nights produce the brightest stars.

On a side note…I have a friend that’s endured a lot of dark and tough times throughout the course of her life. No matter what she has gone through or continues to go through, she continues to stay positive even during some of the toughest times. She consistently remains a light in the darkness and a beacon of hope. This year for her birthday I got her a bracelet that reminded me so much of her that said, “The darkest nights produce the brightest stars.” More Christians need to follow her example to be a light in the darkness. 

Just this past weekend my pastor did a message on “What Difference Does God Make…In the Face of Evil?” One of our pastors pointed out that in dark times it’s an opportunity for Christians to shine even brighter. One of my devotions this week also emphasized the importance of sharing hope and bearing witness of Jesus. It’s kind of been a theme that I’ve seen repeated lately—that we need to be a light.

Now, how can we practically do that?

Practical wisdom on how to be a light in scripture

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Scriptures for Troubling Times

Scriptures for Troubling Times: God gives us promises throughout scripture. We can apply these scriptures to our situations and circumstances to give us peace, to build our faith, to encourage us, and sometimes to even turn the situation around.

Scriptures for Troubling Times

Over the past couple of weeks, I’ve shared about preparing for the storms of life and some ways to endure those storms when they come. One of the practical ways we can endure and overcome these storms is to utilize God’s word. We can use scriptures for troubling times.

God gives us promises throughout scripture. We can apply these scriptures to our situations and circumstances to give us peace, to build our faith, to encourage us, and sometimes to even turn the situation around. God also tells us to remind Him, or put Him in remembrance, of His Word. When we remind God, we remind ourselves too! (Here’s a great post on the subject by Victoria Osteen.)

“Put me in remembrance; let us argue together; set forth your case, that you may be proved right.” Isaiah 43:26 (ESV)

In order to remind God, we have to find and know the verses first to be able to use those scriptures for troubling times. It’s helpful to make a list of some go-to verses to access when those times arise. I’ve put together just a few of my personal favorites here. 

General scriptures for troubling times:

“Many are the afflictions of the righteous, but the LORD delivers him out of them all.” Psalm 34:19 (ESV)

“No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us.” Romans 8:37 (NIV)

“And we know that God causes everything to work together for the good of those who love God and are called according to his purpose for them.” Romans 8:28 (NLT)

“What, then, shall we say in response to these things? If God is for us, who can be against us?” Romans 8:31 (NLT)

“I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.” John 16:33 (NIV)

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How Christians Should Be Like Dust

How Christians Should Be Like Dust

How Christians Should Be Like Dust

This past week my family and I took a vacation to Colorado. It was amazing! Believe it or not, it was the first time I’ve ever seen the mountains up close and personal. Talk about amazing and inspiring…I could stay in the mountains for a LONG time and write and study and write and study… I’ll post a few of our pics on Instagram. In addition to sightseeing, hiking, and fishing, we participated in some pretty adventurous undertakings too! We did some summer alpine activities on a mountain in Breckenridge. We ziplined through the mountains (in the rain!), and we also went white water rafting.

While we were there, we also had an opportunity to attend a church bible study in Canon City with some family. The kids weren’t quite as excited as I was about this activity, but I sure enjoyed it! Call me crazy, but I eat that kind of stuff up. It’s super fun for me. I especially love gleaning wisdom from older, more experienced people. However, the coolest bit of insight I gained at this study was from my 15-year-old cousin. And of all things…her insight was about dust.

We are like dust

One of the passages we studied was Genesis 28:10-19 about Jacob’s dream at Bethel. My young cousin focused on verse 14 in this passage:

“Your descendants will be as numerous as the dust of the earth! They will spread out in all directions–to the west and the east, to the north and the south. And all the families of the earth will be blessed through you and your descendants.” Genesis 28:14 (NLT)

She explained how this made her think of Christians being like dust, pointing out that dust spreads in all directions and gets everywhere. Then another lady brought up a verse that came to her mind which also indicates that we are like dust:

“For he knows how weak we are; he remembers we are only dust.” Psalm 103:14 (NLT)

Their conversation got my wheels turning about the qualities of dust and how we are to exhibit some of those same qualities as Christians. This also reminded me of when I studied salt and wrote previously about the qualities of salt and how we should be like it.

Let’s talk about some of the qualities of dust that we should emulate… Continue reading

Be Kind and Gentle to Gain Respect

Be Kind and Gentle to Gain Respect

Be Kind and Gentle to Gain Respect

“A kind and gentle woman gains respect but violent men gain only wealth.” Proverbs 11:16 (ERV)

We must be KIND and GENTLE to gain the respect of others and win people over. When I read this verse a short time ago I thought of the mean ol’ bitty lady at the family reunion I attended recently. Actually, Eric and I had just been discussing how mean she was and how she has a negative impact on people because of it. She could have a lot more influence if she’d only be nicer and less harsh (i.e. more kind and gentle…like the verse says!). She goes on and on about the family reunion dying out and the lack of attendance as the older generations are passing away. Her continuous reprimand each year is that the young people need to take over so the family, its stories, and the reunion will live on.

However, she then proceeds to belittle the younger people and act condescending toward them lashing out constant insults. She’s bossy and harsh with her mannerisms and words. Quite honestly, she’s really just flat-out rude. Because of this, she’s turning and driving the young people away. She’s losing her influence. More than likely, she’s having the exact opposite effect of what she wants. After all, who wants to keep a family tradition of meanness, rudeness, and condescension alive?

On the other hand, if she would do as Proverbs 11:16 says showing kindness and acting more gentle, she would earn the respect of the younger generation to whom she is trying so hard to pass the reigns. They would probably bend over backwards to help out and keep the family traditions alive if only she would be kind and gentle.

A bad first impression of this less than kind and gentle lady 

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Proverbs 31…It’s Not Just For Women

Men should possess the Proverbs 31 characteristics too. These same character traits this passage praises the Proverbs 31 woman for having are also desirable for men. They are not gender-specific. ALL people, men and women alike, should strive to have this type of character.

Proverbs 31…It’s Not Just For Women

Proverbs 31 is one of those chapters that I think a lot of women sometimes read and then feel deficient. It’s almost like we can never measure up to her. I mean, really, who can do and be proficient at ALL of the things that she does? Talk about a Renaissance Woman!

However, recently I had some different insights while reading Proverbs 31 in The Message translation. As I read through the verses about the Proverbs 31 woman, I jotted down her characteristics in my journal. It dawned on me that it’s not necessarily the activities that she does that matter, but the character and traits she possesses are what are truly important. That should be our primary takeaway from the reading. Thank goodness because I don’t think I’ll EVER be proficient at sewing!

In Proverbs 31, verses 10-31 form an alphabetic acrostic, used here as a type of Hebrew poem about a woman who exemplifies godly character and wisdom from A to Z. J.A. Motyer says, “In the common form of acrostic found in Old Testament Poetry, each line or stanza begins with a letter of the Hebrew alphabet in order. This literary form may have been intended as an aid to memory, but more likely it was a poetic way of saying that a total coverage of the subject was being offered — as we would say, ‘from A to Z.‘”[1] So in this case, the Proverbs 31 woman exemplifies godly traits and wisdom throughout and completely. She’s the full package.

Proverbs 31 is not just for women

In part of my recent study of the Proverbs 31 passages, I came across a really good article by Rachel Held Evans. In her post, she mentions that the “target audience” of Proverbs 31 is actually men. I did not know this! Rachel mentioned that she learned from a Jewish friend of hers that in the Jewish culture, it’s the men who memorize the passage, not the women.

In fact, the men actually sing or recite it to the women as a way of praising and blessing them! This special “Eshet Chayil” song is typically done each Friday night before the Sabbath or Shabbat meal.

Here is a video of a traditional Eschet Chayil song with the Hebrew lyrics and English translation shown:

I LOVE this English rendition by Ari Lesser as he sings to his wife:

I also realized these are NOT just characteristics that a woman should possess. Men should possess the Proverbs 31 characteristics too. These same character traits this passage praises the Proverbs 31 woman for having are also desirable for men. They are not gender-specific. ALL people, men and women alike, should strive to have this type of character. 

Proverbs 31:10-31 in The Message Translation

Below is a look at my takeaways about character from the passages. I use the feminine pronouns “she” and “her” when describing her characteristics, but read through them keeping in mind that we should all endeavor to display this type of character in our lives. Continue reading

Stop and Take Time to Listen to God

Learn how to Stop and Take Time to Listen to God...

Stop and Take Time to Listen to God

Taking regular time to stop and listen to God is not a strong suit of mine. I do hear from God on a fairly regular basis. I know his voice and how he talks to me. Unfortunately I hate to admit that I kind of stink at being intentional about taking time to listen to God. This topic isn’t what I was going to originally write about this week. It was only because of taking time to listen to God that I decided to write about listening to God!

My notes are lost

I seem to have lost my notes for my original topic. I’m serious – I can’t find them anywhere! I searched my quiet time journal. I’ve looked through my Bible and sermon notes. I looked through my computer documents. I’ve looked through my phone notes. I even looked around for random post-it notes where I may have written some things down. Nothing. Now, I can’t even remember if I even wrote the notes down to begin with, but I could’ve sworn that I did.

After searching around frantically for my notes for well over an hour, I decided to just pray about it and ask God to help me find them. Then I remembered my quiet time about stopping and listening to God. It was about taking time to just stop and be quiet. So I decided to do that after I prayed about losing my notes.

Maybe they were “lost” on purpose

I began to think that maybe my notes were “lost” on purpose because God had other intentions of what he wanted me to write about this week. If I’m right, it’s what he’s been gently correcting me about recently. It’s about making time to stop and listen to him on purpose.

While listening, I had the thought, “Well, maybe they’re lost on purpose because I’m not supposed to write about them. Maybe I’m supposed to write about something else. I usually pray every week about what I’m going to write about, but I don’t think I did this week. I think I just decided last week what this week’s topic would be and then didn’t really spend a whole lot of time in prayer about it. Well, I guess it serves me right!” Leave it to God to conveniently cause my notes to go missing when I try to do things my way without consulting him or listening to him!

Oh, the irony

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