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#1 Meema

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Posted 04 November 2017 - 04:01 AM

When we are in school we study and practice to learn a thing. And then we are tested to  demonstrate we have mastered it.

 
And so it goes in our spiritual life as well. We study the Word, then we have opportunities to practice what we think we have learned. But then final test day comes. We are cornered, trapped at our spiritual desk, pencil in hand, moment of truth set before us to prove ourselves. Have we committed the skill to long term memory, truly learned the lesson?
 
I had such a test recently. As old as I am, I continue to be examined. 
 
Our chimney needed cleaning. I did a small amount of research and, of course, I opted for the least expensive offer. I had a coupon, which made it a bit cheaper still. I set up the appointment and the day arrived.
 
Two very nice men came and within less than a minute the lead guy informed me my chimney was in very bad shape and needed more service, a chemical treatment that would cost $39.95 extra and additional ongoing treatment with chemicals in a tube added to the next three fires, at $20 each, that he could provide, of course. In retrospect I can see the speed at which this diagnosis was made and then applied was orchestrated to prevent me from having too much time to think about it. That the whole service was quick is an understatement.
 
In less than 20 minutes, the two skilled workers vacuumed the ash from my fireplace, shoved a wire brush up the two floors of chimney pipe, supposedly sprayed a chemical up into the darkness, turned on the gas jet ‘to warm it up’ and left to go over to my daughter’s house to do the same thing. Not too surprisingly they found all sorts of things wrong with her chimney as well. When she called me to complain they had dropped ash and coals on her new rug and yet she had to ask them to clean it up, I started to feel as though we had been had. But when she said they were gone and I realized they weren’t coming back to finish the job at my house was when fury welled up in me.
 
I called the number to see if they were returning to put the heavy grate back, that they had left outside on my front steps, and recheck the job the ‘chemical’ had done and then turn off the gas. He answered and seemed shocked I had called and replied they were finished. I am not a hot head and never have been but I instantly responded in angered tone, asking him if putting the grate back was not part of the service I had paid for. He said, as though he were doing me a favor, that he would come back, and I replied, no thanks I’ll do it myself and hung up.
 
So this was the multiple answer test before me on my spiritual desk:
 
A) Call the company and make a formal complaint.
 
B) Put a one star rating and rant on their website
 
C) Let it go.
 
I chose C because deep inside of me there is a well of knowledge that has been building for seven decades into a fine-tuned instinct. This knowledge was not gained or is even knowable without practice. Lots of practice. Like doing a 100 math problem sheet or writing a 2000 word essay with proper grammar, the embedding of ‘how to’ comes only from practical experience.
 
The deep knowledge that must be tested in order for us to know that we have graduated to the next level of learning is revealed in how we respond but it’s also complex and the answer isn’t always as absolute as math or conjugating a verb. Sometimes the test is about our willingness to let go and let God handle the ending and sometimes the test is about our strength of will to stand up against evil. 
 
Discerning which is which is a language arts skill. Listening to and correctly interpreting the still small voice and then responding appropriately determines our advancement to the next grade.
 
For Him,
Meema
 

Hebrews 5:14 But solid food is for the mature, who by constant use have trained themselves to distinguish good from evil.

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#2 Jesus_Lolly

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Posted 04 November 2017 - 06:30 AM

Meema,

 

You have spoken wisely. I too have been undergoing similar testing where I work. Indeed, I am an

advocate of sorts, and it is my goal to ensure that persons in health care receive proper care.

Unfortunately, I often see many who are confronted by medical staff who care little about those

whom they treat. It makes me angry to witness such apathy or cruelty.

 

However, I have discovered that blowing my stack accomplishes little because I often have 

to encounter the same persons over and over again for other individuals. What I have

found is that the Lord will smooth things out when I pray and obey. It is very difficult.

 

I think we are living in a time when the love of many has grown cold (see Mt. 24:12). As such,

in every realm of our society, we are encountering people who simply don't care. I think

the early church can teach us much about dealing with this pervasive influence since

they lived in a time when Christians were tortured regularly. Certainly, the absence of Jesus

brings about an influx of pagan carnality. They seemed ready to die, if necessary, because

they had an eternal and kingdom perspective.

 

We really need to come to grips with the reality of what is all around us that we

might glow with the light of Christ. Indeed, we need to double-down on the 

good news instead of backtracking and hiding in the shadows. Your choice of

option C is a great beginning. Once, we all decide collectively to choose the 

same--and when we proclaim that it is in HIS name, we can bring some light

to the darkness.

 

Shalom,

Lolly


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#3 Meema

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Posted 04 November 2017 - 08:03 AM

For me, the deeper lesson was about being fine-tuned to hear the prompt correctly - for that situation. I think we box God in too much. We determine the boundaries. We basically decide what the rules are and give God no latitude to do something else with the all the moving parts. This, for me, calls for a mature spiritual instinct. And that usually comes from hard earned experience. 

 

One especially difficult lesson I have learned is that, though we are admonished to leave off judging others, we are more than encouraged to employee discernment. This means there will often be times that we will be called upon to decide what to do or not do. 

 

Frankly, I love the limitlessness of God. He is not bound by our time, our clocks, our dimensions. Or our rules of correct conduct. I recently read a quote that I just love:  God directs the traffic. :-) 


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#4 Jesus_Lolly

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Posted 05 November 2017 - 04:17 AM

Meema,

 

What a freeing thought--allow God to teach and guide. 

Allow God to take us higher, wider, and deeper.


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#5 Jesus_Lolly

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Posted 05 November 2017 - 05:49 AM

This is the Scripture the Lord brought me to this morning (after writing the above) regarding

your post and the need for us to discern what the Lord is saying.

 

 

Mt.16:1 The Pharisees and Sadducees came to Jesus and tested him by asking him to show them a sign from heaven.

He replied, “When evening comes, you say, ‘It will be fair weather, for the sky is red,’ and in the morning, ‘Today it will be stormy, for the sky is red and overcast.’ You know how to interpret the appearance of the sky, but you cannot interpret the signs of the times.[a]

 

What the Lord spoke to me concerning this passage is that many have [now] chosen to accept

that a red sky ALWAYS points to good weather rather than acknowledging the truth

of the time. In other words, they refuse to accept old ideas, such as the need to be

true to God's word.

 

In particular, God pointed me to this present generation of adults who are adulterous.

God is not speaking in legalistic terms to me here, but is pointing out that His Word cannot

be trifled with via "picking and choosing" what we want to hear.


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#6 Meema

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Posted 05 November 2017 - 07:36 AM

Yes it requires a listening, obeying, trusting spirit. Being free in Christ is not a license to do as we please - it’s an honor and call to do as He pleases, not as man dictates. The key is understanding that this understanding is based on a personal One-on-one relationship with Christ. If we surrender to His direction we develop our spiritual instinct over time so that when a question or situation comes before us, we can trust our gut. 


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#7 Candice

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Posted 05 November 2017 - 10:29 AM

Meema,

"The deep knowledge that must be tested in order for us to know that we have graduated to the next level of learning is revealed in how we respond but it’s also complex and the answer isn’t always as absolute as math or conjugating a verb. Sometimes the test is about our willingness to let go and let God handle the ending and sometimes the test is about our strength of will to stand up against evil.

Discerning which is which is a language arts skill. Listening to and correctly interpreting the still small voice and then responding appropriately determines our advancement to the next grade."

 

This seems to be the case moment-to-moment any more and I'm glad it is so.  It seems I choose at least 90% of the time to keep quiet.  But, then some evil just has to be exposed.  The mouth seems to be the external force to get the job done too often.  I'd say report the chimney sweep so others won't be duped.  But, as you say, we need to be willing to let God handle the ending.  That's trust that only grows from listening and responding and obeying, as you write here so well.

​I recently had my teeth cleaned.  I have this thing about the hygienist asking me to demonstrate to her how I brush my teeth and getting what I call "the Timmy Tooth lecture." The whole thing irritates me.  She's old school as she's about 70 years old (I'm 60, so I get that).  I had to literally sit and bite my proverbial tongue and go along with this even though I'm paying and have given the brushing demonstration at least 80 times in my life according to my recent calculation.  But, choosing right and not being sarcastic which I would have been years ago, made it easier the next time to follow the Lord and be still....

​Thanks Meema for sharing.

Candice

 

Jesus_Lolly,

From the practical, daily point of view,it's difficult in the work environment to see what we see.  I agree, you see the same folks daily and the impression you make stands out like a sore thumb.  I was an HR manager (in healthcare environment for some of that time) and really just had to get out of that field as you have to be tough, shoot prisoners and uphold justice for all.  No one appreciates how you are really hated by many and loved by others.  Watching employees who not only don't care, but lie, cheat and don't show up for work, is something grievous when you're 60 years old and have seen better times in the past when there was a general pattern of a decent work ethic in the workforce.  We need to face the fact, as you write, that there's a real pagan carnality out there.  The void will be filled by something.  Impact all you can moment-by-moment; always waiting for the Lord to give you His impressions of how to best respond--or not.  I guess I backed out and failed to shine as there were no longer real options in that broken down system.  The light was not able to shine.  Compared to contemporary rural area I worked in as of late with rampant nepotism and terrible ethics, San Francisco of the 80s and 90s looks good to me in retrospect!

Carry the torch!

Candice


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#8 Charles Miles

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Posted 06 November 2017 - 08:11 AM

I do not like to reference a movie to show something, but I recently watched "Hacksaw Ridge", and it is a true story. The story is about a CO in WW11 and the battle of Okinawa. He was a medic and unarmed in the middle of the worst battle imaginable, with people being blown apart all around him. He is a Christian and does have a relationship with the Lord. As he sits, most of the American soldiers have retreated, and  friends, American soldiers, and many Japanese soldier dead and mangled all around him, he asks the Lord "what am I supposed to do? I haven't heard from you and this is the most terrible place I have ever been, what do you want me to do?" One might expect a booming voice from God or maybe a flash of light, but what he hears is a soldier out in the smoke, shellfire, and literally a place the must be close to "Hell on earth", calling for help...calling for the medic. He is essentially alone on a battlefield that is being overrun by the enemy, and they are killing every American they see. The young man nods and says "OK Lord, I hear you", and then he goes. I won't ruin the story for those who have not seen it, but it is worth seeing. He was the only CO to win the MOH, so let`s say he is an American hero, but even better, he listened for the Lord and knew the will of the Lord when he heard it. 


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#9 Ginger

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Posted 06 November 2017 - 01:27 PM

Sometimes testing for me is just hanging in there with basic mundane things and believe that even when it seems that others have some monumental things to share and there is little that seems to be significant for me to say beyond thanking you all for sharing, this is okay and good enough....

 

Much of the time I fail to accomplish the simple basics, ...."God KNOWS"... and God knowing is good enough and lets simple things be what He thinks they are rather than me being opinionated.

 

It has given me great joy to see these posts shared by folks that I've missed listening too.....

 

The share about the soldier is gigantic for me this day....

 

Regardless of where a person is or what a person is doing he/she can ask the Lord, "What am I supposed to do Lord?" "What do you want me to do?"

 

Something specific can come from the Lord in an instant or with a time of waiting....something very simple when becoming aware of His speaking and hearing Him.

 

Kevin comes to mind every now and then, others come to mind too.  God brings persons to mind that have posted and are being missed.

 

Hoping to see posts from those who haven't posted in a long time. 

 

God keeps each of us in HIs care and blesses each of us.  May we each bless God.  May we continue to pray for those who haven't posted and for each of us ... we each have something that has, is, or will test us...

 

The soldier who got up to go get an injured soldier calling for help is a testimony.

 

Thank each person for being here.

 

The only thing that comes to mind about this topic is each person has some testing and each person is important. 

 

in our testing and in our blessing we are brothers and sisters and can share what we are able to share.

 

Forgive me for such a long ramble that may be disjointed and off topic for the most part .... thank each of you for making this day something special rather than a test.

 

Love and prayers,

Ginger


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#10 Meema

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Posted 07 November 2017 - 03:20 AM

Charles - that was a perfect example of how, when we are open to hear God’s voice in the way He chooses to speak to us, the circumstances are less important than the obedience. 

 

Ginger - you are so precious what you do or don’t do is not more important than what you are. :-)


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#11 Ginger

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Posted 07 November 2017 - 10:18 AM

Thank you Meema.

 

Sometimes a kind word is what I hold onto to take one baby step.... "God KNOWS".....

 

There are times when a person 'looses their grip' as the saying goes.  When this happens to me all I can do is take one baby step and trust God and give thanks. 

 

In everything give thanks for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus concerning you ...

 

Thanking God, a person I called this morning and you who have posted.

 

God blesses us ... just thought of a saying, "till the cows come home" ... and this lets me smile

 

God bless you all.

 

In every thing give thanks: for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus concerning you. 1 Thessalonians 5:18 KJV


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