We’re at the Knoxville airport waiting to fly to Oklahoma City to spend the next week with our family there. God is so good. Yesterday with our friend from our Turkmenistan year was a real blessing. It was as though there had only been a weekend since we’d been together. I’ll be more on track tomorrow. God is always good!
Today will be our last one in Tennessee. Early tomorrow we will fly to Oklahoma for a week with our kids. Yesterday I acted on a nudge which turned out to be a blessing for today. Twenty five years ago Kathy and I were in Turkmenistan starting their first international school. This followed the year we had spent in Yemen. Shortly after arriving we met a young man who was there teaching English at the university. He was from Tennessee and was supported by his church to take the gospel to this country. One couldn’t be in any of these countries as a missionary so his secular assignment was teaching English. We became good friends during this year and we have stayed in touch on a limited basis for these 25 years following.
Yesterday morning I had a nudge to reach out to him to see if he were by chance living close to where we are. Turns out he is only 30 minutes away. He now teaches English as a Second Language (ESL) at the state university here. He has one class this morning and he is then coming to spend the day with us after the class. It will be a fun time to catch up with him. Our relationship grew close because of our becoming accountability partners while we were in this foreign land. The story behind this is one only God put together, but I rejoice each and every time it comes to mind. He even has been involved in a local Celebrate Recovery after his return from Turkmenistan.
Reaching out to him yesterday was an intuition nudge which I had started to ponder rather than respond. However, due to yesterday morning’s devotional time I acted on it rather than delayed. I’m so glad I did and now we get to have this time together. Wow! God is so Amazing!
Today’s devotional time in each of the readings from the devotional books to the bible talked about the results of impulsivity. Not only did they talk about it, they labeled it as sin. Oswald Chambers said that impulsivity is a part of our human nature and we want to respond to it due to our humanness. Christ had learned to discipline any impulsivity so that he responded only to God’s leading. Chambers said that in our christian walk we are to learn to replace impulsiveness with intuition. Intuition is the voice of God’s Holy Spirit within us while impulsiveness is the voice of our human nature.
I’ve never taken a step back and looked at addictive behaviors as an impulsive response to living. Yet, as I do look at this I can see it plainly. Whatever the motivation is to satisfy an addiction, it comes from an impulsive thought–“oh it’s ok this time”, “oh, this one is fine”, “no one will care”, and the list could go on and on. It is truly a selfish response to living life.
When we are nudged by God’s Spirit to do something it can seem as though it is an impulsive step. However, the difference is that there are no red flags from our spirit in acting on it. We likely have the “what if” thoughts but they aren’t followed by secrets. Any impulsive action we take will usually be followed by knowing I won’t/can’t tell.
I am going to spend some time on this topic. I know God is wanting to grow me in this arena of living each day. One area I do know He wants me to grow is trusting intuition as His Spirit’s Voice. When I am given a nudge I want to ponder it. This is true with impulsive thoughts and it is true for intuition with me. God is wanting me to learn to separate them so I’m going to step into this as my lesson to grow.
I love being here for this week. It truly is beautiful country. Learning the history of this area is one of the best parts of coming. I love nature. However, learning about what brought man to this part of our country and seeing what they did with it is an unexpected bonus. I came for the nature, but I love finding out about the human part too.
Yesterday we took a bus tour (a mini bus) with about 15 others. The driver was born and raised here. He is a tour driver and guide, a school bus driver for the local school district, and a pastor for his church. He also paints scenery of the old Tennessee and sang and played a couple of hymns for us as we went into one of the little old settlement churches. I doubt that he is even 40 years old yet. God is using him.
Another unexpected feature of coming here is finding out how many Americans are troubled by our current state. Our country is longing to return to its biblical roots. To return to the morality which is outlined so well by God’s Word is the desire of millions. I keep having the message of the book I’m reading and have mentioned several times: I Give You Authority, come to mind. The evil which has entered into the lives of so many in our country is wanting to overtake our country and every Christian element for which we once were united. Satan has a way of doing this in such devious ways! God is telling me to use my authority given by Him through Jesus Christ to face this spiritual battle with authority. He will be our Power but it is up to us to use our authority and cast these demons out when we pray. Join me if God is nudging you in this same direction.
I awoke this morning and had some alarming news. The man I went to see a couple weeks ago who I’d known best when he was a growing boy, was hit by a car and has been in the hospital for almost a week. I don’t know any more than this. He sent me a message just so I’d know. I’ve responded but that seems lame compared to what he likely needs. He just said it was pretty bad. Life is just so difficult for some. I can’t reason my way through it, I just need to leave this with the God for which I can have all confidence.
I am amazed with the number of people there are here. But then I have to awaken to the population base on the eastern side of our country compared to the western side where I live. The other difference is the size of the states which makes the driving much more convenient. I found out yesterday that October and July are the busiest months for this place. Cars and people are everywhere. This keeps surprising me for I wasn’t expecting such a crowd! I guess everyone wanted to be here when Kathy arrived!
As I near the ending for the book of Numbers, Moses has anointed Joshua as the new leader praying over him in front of the entire group. God has told Moses he will not be entering the Promised Land due to his disobedient behavior bringing water forth when the people were complaining. However, God still wants Moses to see it so He will take him on a personal tour of this land ahead of God taking him home for eternity.
I am simply amazed with this story. In all of the times I’ve read through the old testament I’ve just never felt like I do this morning. I’m reading about my friend Moses. I want to remind God of how faithful Moses is, but then God quickly reminds me just how faithful He was to Moses and all of the children of Israel. This same faithful God is mine today. I’ve been disobedient so many times and yet God gives “strength for today and bright hope for tomorrow–blessings all mine with ten thousand besides”, as the words of the old hymn describe!
I love where we are. It is so peaceful and quiet. During the night there is no sound, and even in the mornings when people are typically going to work, there are no sounds. It is very dark at night for we are just far enough beyond the population that we don’t have city lights impacting anything.
I mentioned yesterday about the deepening relationship with Jesus Christ. I’m not sure how to put into words the phenomenal difference between knowing Jesus as my Savior, Lord and Intimate Friend, from living a life trying to earn the right to have Jesus be my Intimate Friend. Being free of the quilt and shame from one’s past is the biggest ingredient in this.
Today I was reading about Balaam and Barak. Balaam just couldn’t give Barak the blessing he wanted. Balaam would only give him the information which God gave to him. This was a continued blessing upon Israel and their future in Barak’s land. This land was soon to become that of Israel.
Even though I’ve lived the majority of my life in the same region I’ve never felt it was my home land. I’m happy there. 10 of my 12 grandkids are there and the gardening season is good so this makes me happy. Somehow though, my home land is not this earthly place. Knowing my relationship with Jesus is firm and my body is the home of The Holy Spirit made clean for Him by Christ’s Work on the Cross, I look forward to calling heaven my homeland. I will serve God and I want to do this while here, but my heart does long to see Jesus face to face. What a wonderful Savior we serve!
Don’t you hate it when the stupidity of others looks just like you? In reading this morning further into the book of Numbers, the children of Israel are griping again. The food stinks, there’s no water they like, and more. My first instinct was, “Good grief!” And then my second instinct was again, “Good grief, that sounds like me!” The flesh is never happy for long when it is in control of our lives and we respond to it as though it should be in charge.
Kathy and I are in Pigeon Forge, TN. The flights yesterday (only two) were as smooth as could be. Other than needing to wear masks for long periods of time, things went extremely well. Our place is quiet and the setting is so beautiful with the lush plant life in this part of our country. I look forward to getting deeper into these Smokey Mountains. I had no idea this was such a tourist attraction. There are hotels everywhere. We are just outside of them for which I’m very glad.
My devotional said something this morning about forgiveness which made me think through some things I hadn’t had presented in the manner they were. Forgiveness is a process it said. The better our relationship is with Jesus the more complete our forgiveness is. So often we have our wonderful experience of accepting Jesus into our hearts and we quickly want to do something great for Him in return. We quickly get disappointed too when we do things for Jesus but the same struggles return in our lives and we wonder why Jesus hasn’t taken care of them? I’m changed so why don’t these people change or these circumstances, desires, temptations change?
As my own relationship with Jesus has deepened over these past years of my personal recovery, I know immediately why “these people haven’t changed” and why “these circumstances, desires, temptations are the same”. I’m not the owner of them, someone else is. I wanted my actions to be enough to change them or that. So many times in my life I was deeply disappointed (hurt) that this truth stood solid. Jesus has taught me so much about doing my part and letting Him take care of what needs to be done in all of these other circumstances. He is my Intimate Friend and Savior and He wants to be that for others too. My prayers need to shift from “griping” to “thanking”. Jesus is always at work and I show my thanks by praying for others instead of griping about them.
The journey begins early this morning as we head to the airport. We are taking a trip to Tennessee to the Smokey Mountains and then to Oklahoma to visit our kids there. I should be staying updated daily with my blog, but just in case there’s a day missing, I may have gotten lost somewhere! (Hopefully that’s a joke)! God is so good!
Yesterday had a couple of meetings for which I had been concerned about how to step into them. As I’d had my prayer time I’d asked Jesus to take the lead. I wanted to be His servant. I had even felt nudged while I prayed to be a good listener and to only speak when I felt nudged with a response. Not only did both of those meetings go unexpectedly well, but those of us involved walked away with a much clearer understanding of our next steps. God is so Amazing!
My scripture reading this morning continues into the book of Numbers. It is here that God commanded Moses to speak to the rock so water would come forth and stop the grumbling of the Israelites. When Moses acted on God’s command, he struck the rock twice as he spoke to it. Water did come gushing forth as God said it would, but Moses had put a bit of himself into God’s command when he struck the rock as well as spoke to it. Because of this Moses was told he would not be going into the promise land. I’ve always thought God was being overly harsh with Moses, but this morning gave me a much clearer understanding.
There is no other bible character for whom God spoke to as Moses. Moses had a lot to learn about trusting God, but once God had spoken to him at the burning bush, he never walked away from God’s direction in his life. When God told Moses to speak to the rock that’s all he was to do. In the New Testament I Corinthians 10:4, Paul writes that this same rock Moses struck twice represents Christ. Moses had already struck the rock in Exodus bringing forth water from it. This time all he was to do was to speak to it. Instead he struck it twice. If we are to be surrendered servants to God’s Kingdom Work, we cannot continue to try and have ourselves seen in the work. We are Light carriers of the Light itself–Jesus Christ. Only He is to be seen.
I use to do all I did for Christ so I’d be worthy/valuable for Christ. Today God is making it clear that Christ has already made me valuable/worthy. I’m to take myself out of the equation and be a Torch Carrier for the One True King–Jesus Christ.
It was 38 years ago today that God gave me the precious gift of Kathy as my wife. There are countless times when I could tell anyone how God has used her to face fears, adjust my thinking, see His Light and hear His Voice in darkness. In addition to all of this, Kathy has shown me what love looks like. So much that I kept in denial from my childhood, I needed Kathy to let me know it was a risk worth taking to face the darkness of an abusive past. Throughout it all she has remained God’s gift. How I thank Him for her!
Saturday we leave for two weeks. The first week will just be the two of us–poor Kathy has to spend it with only me! The second week we will be with our kids in Oklahoma City. I’m looking forward to all of this. It will be the time for the “RE’s”. We will reflect, regroup, refocus, reenergize, and remain faithful to the One True God for whom we both love and give thanks to.