Monday, June 14, 2010

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The Voice Of The Lord In My Life

Learning to hear from the Lord is an ongoing process that I pray will grow stronger within me throughout my allotted time on Earth. For the most part, I believe that He speaks to me through his Word. Given to those who believe in Him. His Word is as He is, the same yesterday, today, and forever. It is never old fashioned or out of date. Not merely a work of mere men as some may profess; it is given to us by the inspiration of His Holy Spirit. To proclaim that the Bible is simply a group of nice myths and symbolic stories produced by men is to place it in the same category as the works of Shakespeare. Furthermore, that assumption completely denies the power of the Holy Spirit as that part of the triune God and His ability to lead and guide us into all truth. The disciples of the Lord were told to go to the Upper Room and to tarry there until they had been empowered by the Holy Spirit. Remember how Peter swore to the Lord that He would always defend Him, and yet, due to fear, he denied the Lord three times before the cock crowed just as Jesus had foreseen. However, this same Peter, after receiving the Holy Spirit, was so changed and strengthened, he went on to spread the gospel even to his death without fear or intimidation. It is the Holy Spirit that draws us to the Lord and unfolds the truth of His Word to enlighten our understanding of God that we will not be left to depend upon our own infinite and limited abilities to think and reason.

There have been several times in my life that I have been given the privilege of recognizing that my thoughts were not of my own, but rather the voice of the Lord speaking to me. I’m sure that He has spoken to me more often than I realized, but I just didn’t recognize the difference between my own thoughts and His voice speaking and revealing truths and knowledge to me. I share the following moments to give the glory to God for His ever loving care and influence in my life, and to hopefully give impetus to the belief that He does and will do the same for others, as we learn to listen and yield ourselves to His will in our lives.

One of the first times that I remember hearing His voice telling me something that I had no way of knowing in the natural, may seem trivial and meaningless at first glance. Upon returning from college for the summer, I had decided not to let any of my friends know that I was home. Rick, who is now my husband of forty-five years, and I had broken up and I had no idea that we would ever see each other, much less reunite. I had also broken up with the boy that I had bee seeing at college after realizing that life with him was not what I wanted. That in itself was a gift from God. I have said many times that one of the greatest gifts I received through the experience of dating others was to gain a greater appreciation for my wonderful and loving husband. At any rate, that morning I chose to go to the pool with my brother, Dave. While there, this voice within said, “You need to go home and fix your hair. Someone is coming to see you today.” The first few times I just ignored it. Then this ‘conversation’ took place within me. “You better go home and get yourself ready. Someone is coming to see you today. I replied, “That can’t be as none of my friends even know that I am home.” Finally, I decided to take the advise of the voice within and went home to fix my hair and get dressed. I then decided to call Betty, one of my girlfriends. She asked me if I had seen or heard from Rick as he had been calling her to inquire if she knew when I was coming back home. I had no idea that he was still even interested in me. About that time, my Daddy’s voice announced that someone was there to see me. I asked Betty to hold on while I went to see who in the world it could be. I peaked out my bedroom door and asked, “Who is it Daddy?” He replied, “It’s Rick.” My heart jumped with unbelief as I said, “Tell him I’ll be down in a little bit.” I went back to the phone and told Betty the incredulous news that Rick was down stairs in my living room that very minute.” I quickly hung up the phone, finished “fixing my hair,” as the Lord had instructed, and went down to see the love of my life. From that moment on we never parted. A little over a year later, we were married. Lord, thank you for preparing me to be presentable to my future husband.

Now you may be asking, just as I did, why would the Lord bother to get involved in what appeared to be a trivial matter such as telling me to go home and get my hair fixed in preparation for a visit from someone? I knew without a doubt that it was the Lord, but the why was not revealed to me until years later. The Lord knew I was going to have to learn to listen and trust in Him for even the seemingly small things before I could learn to listen, obey, trust, and depend upon Him for the greater moments of my life. It wasn’t the fixing of my hair that was important, but rather learning to listen to Him and obey. It is not sufficient in our lives to just “know” the Lord, we must believe in Him and obey. Satan and his demons know who the Lord is, but they will never yield and obey Him.

After Rick and I were married, he was drafted and sent to Germany. Thankfully, I was able to join him there. When it was time for me to return home, we were on the way to the airport when the tire blew out. At first I felt nothing but panic and fear that I would miss my flight. I certainly didn’t have the money for another ticket. Then just as suddenly as the panic and fear had gripped me, an all consuming sense of peace flooded into my inner most parts and the voice of the Lord assured me that I was not to fear or worry and He would provide. Within moments, a complete stranger pulled over to inquire if there was anything he could do to help.

Upon hearing of our problem, he immediately offered to take us the rest of the way to the airport. I was learning once more to listen to His voice. What a marvelous way to be assured that the Lord is always with us, and He is involved and cares about us at all times without ceasing. Yet I still had not learned to really trust enough to share those “truths” or words of knowledge with others.

Years later I was standing in front of the sink in our kitchen. The Lord told me that our 16 year old daughter was pregnant. I knew it was not just my own thoughts. There had not been anything to make such thoughts be from myself. I hoped that it was not true for her sake. Rick was out of town on a business trip. I decided that this time I would not keep the knowledge to myself. I called Rick and said, “Honey, the Lord has told me things before, but I didn’t share them with anyone else. I hope I am wrong, but I believe that he has told me that Lisa is pregnant. I wanted to tell you beforehand this time just as the Lord has told me.”

Of course he hoped it wasn’t so either, but still waited with me for the confirmation of the word from the Lord. You know Gods Word tells us that “to be forewarned is to be forearmed.” That was exactly what He was doing. Once again He was enabling us so we could be prepared to handle the trial to come. That night when Lisa got home, she sat down on the sofa. I didn’t mention anything about the message from the Lord. Her conversation was rather light and yet she acted fidgety and nervous as if there was something else really on her mind. I just looked at her and asked, “What is it that you really want to talk about with me?” She took a deep breath and finally just blurted out that she thought she might be pregnant. Very calmly I said, “I hope we are both wrong, but the Lord spoke to me today and told me that you were. In fact, I have already called your Daddy to let him know also what God had said. Having been forewarned had given me the ability to receive the news without completely losing it. I was able to remain calm and let Lisa know that we would get a pregnancy test and no matter what we would be there for her. She couldn’t believe how her Daddy and I were taking the news. She said, “I sure wish God had let me know that He had already told you so that I wouldn’t have felt so scared to tell you. I didn’t know what you might do.” Well, suffice it to say, the next day the pregnancy test confirmed the word from the Lord. Lisa was given all kinds of advice such as getting an abortion. She knew what we felt about that, but at the same time we knew that we had to leave the decision up to her. Rick and I prayed all that weekend.. Finally, she came to us and said the she believed that the baby was a part of her and she would not get an abortion. We breathed a sigh of relief and thanked the Lord for answered prayer. Now that little baby, Devin, is 19 years old.

Upon returning home from work one day, nothing of any real significance had happened that day. Yet as I reached for the doorknob, the Lord spoke these words to me so very clearly. I was meant to recall them several times over the coming years. It was as if the scene was recorded in my memory like a video tape that was to be rewound and revisited time and time again. He said, “If you were to loose this house and everything that is in it, still God is and will remain God no matter what.” At the time I remember acknowledging “Okay God, I don’t really understand what you mean or why you are saying this to me, but I do know that it is your voice.” No, we did not loose that house, but we were to face many a trial and tribulation. Eventually I would learn He was telling me that He, God, was not ever defined by or limited to or by my circumstances, experiences or situations. No matter what happens in life, God is always God. That one message from Him has helped me to learn that the important question is not “God, why me” or “Why did you let this happen to me,” but rather “Okay Lord, What is it that you want me to learn from this that I may glorify thee?” That question is always accompanied with His assurance that He will always be right there with me in and through what ever that trial may be. He will never leave me nor forsake me. He will help me to endure in the here and now, and promises to fulfill my eventual hope of eternity with Him in Heaven.

These are but a few of the times when I believe that the Lord has spoken directly to me. Lord I pray that you will always help each of us to listen and learn from your Word by the power of your Holy Spirit, and give us the wisdom and discernment to follow and obey thee and none other. Thank you for your written Word, and your Son, Jesus Christ our Lord and Savior who came to fulfill the promises of your Word.

Ginger Rahn

Tuesday, June 1, 2010

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Government Church

          The separation of church and state, if that is how you want to phrase it, is in actuality, a one way street.  The first amendment says that the government cannot interfere with our religious practices.  It also says that the federal government can’t set up a state church.  For some time now our government has been putting more and more restrictions on our churches.  To participate in a faith based program the church must follow government dictates.  To have the tax exemptions to which churches are entitled, you must limit what you say from the pulpit.  Apparently what the Word of God says can be determined by progressives, when they are in power, to be hate speech.  There is a simple answer to this – DON’T TAKE THE MONEY!  Render to Cesar’s what is Cesar’s and to God what is God’s.  The Church belongs to God, not Caesar.  Believers, you are the Church, and if also an American citizen, your rights are given by God, not the government.   Isn’t it about time you started standing up for your rights and freedoms?   Since we have the freedom of speech and free exercise of religion, the only way these rights can be limited is if we allow it to happen.  It doesn’t matter if you are a believer in God or are an atheist, if our first amendment rights are limited, we all loose. 

          I haven’t heard the expression ‘apostate church’ used in years but I am convinced that what is happening too many of our churches today qualifies under that heading.  We are told in the Bible that there will be many to come in the name of Christ, and if not for the Holy Spirit, even the ‘elect’ could be misled.  Since we know that there is only one Christ, we know to be vigilantly looking for these imposters.  Are we so lazy or frightened that we won’t confront what we know to be wrong?  If your church is not teaching Jesus as Savior, a personal relationship with the Christ and that the Bible is the inerrant word of God; it’s not a Christian church.  As I have said before, Jesus is an absolutist and so am I.  The current thinking, that everything is relative, is simply a lie of the Devil.

          As has been documented ad infinitum, we started out as a Christian nation.  Mostly because of this fact, we prospered and grew and the Lord blessed our efforts.  A creeping disease within our nation has been growing and today seems to be out of control.  Just recently our president announced that we were not a Christian nation.  How did we become this corrupt?  How did it come about that we accept Satan’s values over that of the Lord?  Did we forget that sin is anything that separates us from God?  Did we forget that our declaration of Independence declares our dependence on God (Providence) for our rights?

          “Be not deceived; God is not mocked: for whatsoever a man puts forth, that shall he also receive back.”[1] “If my people, which are called by my name, shall humble themselves, and pray, and seek my face, and turn from their wicked ways; then will I hear from heaven, and will forgive their sin, and will heal their land.”[2]  This is our God and The God of our nation.  How long are we going to stand for the few who, knowing it or not, are working to remove His blessing from us.  If we keep going in the same direction the following is true - "The future ain't what it used to be"[3]. 

          Because of my relationship with Christ, I have a certain world view and outlook on life.  It is not my place to condemn you for your beliefs if they are different from mine, but rather to join with you to further our nation as our founding documents suggest.  This is one of the main tenants of our Christian nation.  I don’t care what your situation is; you could have a better and more fulfilling life if you had a relationship with the one true and living God.  It is not my duty however, to force you into that relationship.  Conversely, it is not our governments place to interfere with that relationship. 

          Recently, our leadership has started to distance our country from the state of Israel.  We as a nation, since Israel was restored as a nation, have been a supporter and protector of Israel.  God said He would bless those who bless Israel and curse those who curse Israel.  Since God considers Jerusalem as being His city, I think at this point we are sitting on the precipice of destruction.

[1] Galatians 6:7
[2] Chronicles II 7:14
[3] Yogi Berra