…to let you know that I will be out of commission for a little while. I will be off to the hospital tomorrow to get a new knee. Please pray that my new knee and I become good friends–fast! As always, Judy
…to let you know that I will be out of commission for a little while. I will be off to the hospital tomorrow to get a new knee. Please pray that my new knee and I become good friends–fast! As always, Judy
This week, we are celebrating our Second Birthday at His Truth, My Voice! In spite of the fact that this past year has been an unusually challenging one, I am praising God that we are still here on our Bible Study tour, and working our way through the Land of Revelation Knowledge. Thanks to all of you who have continued to journey with us, along with a special thanks to my son, Alex, for his superior technical support, and a thank you to my husband, John, for all of his efforts at promoting this blog.
As part of this week-long celebration, I will be re-posting one of my favorite reflections each day on Monday, Tuesday, Thursday, and Friday; while on Wednesday, I will replay my favorite teaching video, “The Bible: The Story Behind the Story.” I hope you will enjoy revisiting these as much as I will.
Please continue to stay with us as we travel on through the Word, and to hold us up in your prayers as we go.
With blessings to you all,
Greetings! I am so pleased to be able to announce that on May 11,2014, His Truth, My Voice celebrates its first birthday! Yippee! I can’t believe that we have actually made it through a whole year together; a time during which I have managed to publish 30 reflections on a variety of subjects, with some being of the “deeper” variety and others being of the “quirkier” kind—but with all, I hope, being saturated with the Truth of God’s Word. Although I have often wished that there could have been more, and that the ones I have done could have been published on a more regular basis, I am so pleased with the content that I wouldn’t go back and change anything about any one of them. And for a perfectionist like me, that is saying a lot!
In addition to the Lord, who deserves all the credit for getting me started, for providing me with His Truth to share, and for keeping me motivated when I was tired, frustrated, and discouraged, I would like to thank my son, Alex, for not only hosting this blog for me (so I don’t have to have a bunch of blinky, blinky ads on it) but also for his expert technical support and encouragement; and my wonderful husband, John, for his pride in my accomplishment and for his non-stop efforts at promoting this blog. No one can possibly hold a candle to John when it comes to being a husband who not only appreciates the achievements of his wife, but who is also so quick to promote those achievements to other people. And to those of you who have been so faithful to visit, and to pray for me in this effort—my thanks to you, too, along with my prayers that you will always know God’s blessing.
With a very grateful heart,
Last week, as I was pondering and praying over the direction that our future visits should take, I heard the Lord speak to me, saying quite clearly: “It is time to rock and roll, little girl (even though I have never been little in any respect, He has always called me that). This is not the time to be timid and pull back (which, as a marshmallow, is something that I tend to do)—this is the time to rock and roll!” And, with that, I knew just what He wanted me to do. This was His way of telling me that the time had come for me to get down to the business that He has called me to; which, in case you haven’t picked up on it by now, is not only teaching people what the Bible has to say, but also teaching them new ways of approaching its study, so that they can better make sense of it on their own.
Now, in case you may be thinking that God wouldn’t speak to anyone in quite this way, let me assure that He has no problem in using any language whatsoever, if it gets His point across to those whose ears are attuned to His voice. In fact, what He said to me last week was really nothing more than a modernized version of what He told the prophet Jeremiah over twenty-five hundred years ago, when He said, “But you, dress yourself for work; arise, and say to them everything that I command you. Do not be dismayed by them, lest I dismay you before them.” (Jer. 1:17) Work in this case, for both Jeremiah and for me, was and is to give out the Word of God, whether people want to hear it or not; and for me, in particular, this work is something that I have been preparing or “dressing myself for” for over forty years.
Although I was saved at the relatively young age of eight, my real preparation for all of this rocking and rolling did not begin until much later, when I was about the age of twenty-two. This was the pivotal time in my life when, finding myself stuck in the middle of a disastrous marriage, I rededicated my life to the Lord. It wasn’t long after making this decision, that in the interest of our personal safety, it became necessary for me to take my two young sons and leave my alcoholic husband, and begin a new life on our own—a life which soon turned into an odyssey of faith from which I have yet to recover.
My training for this new life began quickly and simply, for it started with me having nothing but God and His Word upon which to rely. You see, when I left my husband, I had no job, no car, and no health insurance; just two little boys, our clothes, $200.00 in cash, and my sewing machine. For the first year, we were fortunate enough to be able to stay with my parents but after that, we were completely on our own. Now, in hindsight, I can clearly see that God had planned out a comprehensive spiritual training program for me which was designed to accomplish the following:
Of course, time and space will not allow me to go into detail about all of my experiences, so let’s just suffice it to say that:
In order to teach me to hear His voice and to trust His Word, the Lord impressed upon me from the very beginning that I was not to make anyone else aware of my needs, or to ask anyone other than Him for help. Once I brought my needs to Him, He would present me with some relevant promises from His Word and then challenge me to act upon them. In response to those challenges, some of the things that I was required to do were: to ask and believe for a car when I had no money, and later, to drive that car for a week with no gas; to plan and take trips with no money; to trust God to pay all of my hospital and doctor bills with no insurance; to trust God to provide places for us to live as well as ways to pay for them; and, even when little things like loaves of bread or spools of thread were needed, to ask God for them and then wait on Him to provide them. In every circumstance and situation of life, I found myself being tested and stretched beyond anything I had previously thought possible—and yet, all of this was just preparation for the next level of His training.
In order for me to move on to that level, the one which involved teaching me how to study His Word and to see the Big Story that it presented, the Lord first sent me to one of the most academically challenging schools in our state—a place where He knew I would have to learn to study and do research in order to survive; after which, He set me aside for almost a year of intense personal Bible study and prayer. It was during this time that He presented me with a new way (new at least to me) of understanding the Bible; an approach which very quickly became the foundation upon which all my future studies would be based.
Once this foundation was in place, I was able to start building upon it, and to continue adding to it through many more years of additional study. Some years later, in order for me to learn to better present the material that I was putting together, the Lord opened up a new position for me at work—one which required me to learn to use the computer. As I explained in “My Journey to the Land of Blog,” at this point, I didn’t even know how to turn a computer on and off, but as I began taking the computer courses in Word, Excel, and PowerPoint that were being offered by my employer, it wasn’t long before I was using what I had learned to organize and prepare the materials for my Bible studies.
Finally, and probably the most harrowing part of all this, has been my training in learning to not be afraid of anyone or anything other than the Lord. As an introverted, fearful, and naturally reticent person, I have, throughout my life, tried to avoid having to speak to or in front of groups of people. However, over the course of these many years, the Lord has continued to put me into these kinds of situations just so I could learn to overcome my fears. He has also, on numerous occasions, arranged for me to have to confront people and situations that I would have otherwise preferred to avoid, just so I would learn to “woman up,” and not let anyone intimidate me.
So, why am I sharing all of this with you now? Well, it is to let you know where I have come from so that you will be able to more fully appreciate and participate in where I believe the Lord is taking us next. For what I would like to do in our upcoming visits is to move us both into a new season of rocking and rolling—that is, into a new season of and approach to Bible study. In order to do this, I am proposing to:
I don’t know about you, but I am excited at the prospect of all of this, and I can only hope that you will want to join me as we move on to this whole new level in our relationship. I know for sure that I am, but are you really ready to rock and roll by moving into a deeper study of the Word of God? If you are, then, let’s get going!
Citizen Way rocks out for us in “Where Would I Be Without You?”
Although I had planned on using our time together today to try and answer some of the questions that were raised at the end our last visit—questions as to why God would choose to use trees to tell His story of redemption—it doesn’t look like that is going to happen. The reason is, every time I have tried to organize my thoughts on the subject, it was as if somebody put my brain on “automatic scramble;” and, after being hit with the equivalent of a mental brickbat, not just once but many times, I decided that it would be to my advantage to go with whatever alternative the Lord decided to give me. This seems to be that alternative—a reflection that I am calling “A Detour Around the Trees”—for all of the obvious reasons.
This detour originally began as a status update for my Facebook page, however, it never made it that far. For whatever reason, while I was working on this, I didn’t experience the “brain scramble” that I did with the other work. As a result, this update just kept on growing until eventually it looked more like a reflection rather than an update–so that is what I decided to make it.
It was always my intention, once this blog was up and running, to use one of our visits to explain why I had chosen “His Truth, My Voice: The Reflections of a Reluctant Prophet” as the name for my blog. But, even though we have been meeting together, on average, once a week for the past five months, it is something that remained unattended to. I thought that since some of you may have been curious about my choice of names, this would be a good time to offer an explanation for it—plus, it will give my brain something of a break, too. So, let’s get started by first explaining the “reluctant prophet” part of the name.
This originated many years ago, when I was trying to get a new singles’ Sunday school class started at my church; a class specifically designed for more in-depth Bible study than what was currently being offered. When I proposed the class to the powers-that-were, though, I was told by the minister of education that I would not be allowed to teach the class because I was a woman who would be teaching adult men. He explained to me that there were only two other women in the church at the time who were teaching adult men, but it was okay for them because they were married and their husbands were “visible presences” in the church. When I replied that, as a single woman, I considered Christ to be my husband until He gave me one in the flesh, and that I certainly hoped He was a visible presence in the church, the minister didn’t know quite how to respond—other than to say that he still didn’t want me to teach.
Interestingly enough, about this same time, I was asked to be the guest teacher in a men’s Sunday school class at another church about a hundred miles away. Obviously, this church didn’t have the same concerns about me teaching men that my home church did. Naturally, none of this made any sense to me, so while I was out walking one day, asking the Lord what I should do about both situations, He spoke to me, saying, “You need to resolve this issue because I am going to make you a prophet…”
Since that was the last thing I expected to hear, you shouldn’t be surprised to learn that the first thing out of my mouth was, “But I don’t want to be a prophet, I want everyone to like me. Besides, I have read ‘The Book’ and I know what the ‘people of God’ have done to the prophets of God in the past–plus, I am really not up for being drawn and quartered, burned at the stake, beheaded, or boiled in hot oil. So, what is ‘Plan B’?” Although I waited and waited for Him to respond, no answer came.
More time went by and when no “Plan B” was forthcoming, I decided to go back to God in an effort to try and negotiate a better deal for myself. “Okay, I get it—there is no ‘Plan B’. But, if You are really determined to go ahead with this ‘Plan A’ thing, at least let’s define our terms; that way I will know exactly what You will be expecting of me as your ‘prophet.’ According to my definition of the term, however, I just don’t see how I could possibly be qualified to be one. I don’t foretell the future, I don’t give personal words to people, and there isn’t a preacher that I know of who would move over and let me preach the Word from his pulpit. So, what do You mean when you use the term ‘prophet’?”
After a short pause, all I heard Him say was, “Think about it.” (Mind you, He has told me that on more than one occasion and I really don’t like to hear it because, as far as I am concerned, it requires just a little too much effort and thought on my part, if you know what I mean.)
Hmmm…think about it, huh? Well, the thought that came to my mind right away was of the three offices that were mentioned in the Old Testament: those of prophet, priest, and king. And, as I began to think about them, I realized immediately that I could eliminate any consideration of the duties of king because gender alone would exclude me from that office. As for the office of priest, I was aware that it was to be filled by someone who would represent the people before God; someone who would bring sacrifices, prayers, and petitions before Him on their behalf. Of course, being a Christian meant that I was already a member of the priesthood of believers, so I couldn’t see how I would have to concern myself with that office either.
With this process of elimination speeding things along, all that was left for me to consider was the office of the prophet. I knew that this office was going to be different from the others because both of those were intended to be hereditary ones. The office of prophet, however, was to be occupied on an as-needed basis by the person chosen by God to be His representative before the people; as such, he would be charged with the task of delivering God’s Words to the people, so that they could come to understand His thoughts, positions, or attitudes concerning any given subject or situation.
As I thought about all of this, suddenly the bells went off—ding, ding, ding—and the light bulb came on—blinkie, blinkie, and I said, “OK, Lord, I’ve got it. As Your prophet, what You want me to do is to take Your Word to people, and use it to explain to them who You are, and what You want from and for them. I can do that—in fact, I have been doing that for years! No problem.”
Thankfully, I did not have to work so hard or think quite so much when it came to the reason for the “His Truth, My Voice” part. That’s because those words came to me directly from the Lord, in two messages given on two separate occasions. In a word given to me by the Lord on June 26, 2008, He said,
“Use the voice that I have given you…age is not an issue, appearance is not an issue…the truth is the issue—make that your focus. Remember, My Truth is your voice.”
And later, in a word given to me on July 28, 2009, He said,
“Remember: My Word is My Truth, and My Truth is Your Voice.”
His instructions couldn’t have been any clearer so, for once, He didn’t get any back-talk from me—something which certainly must have come as a welcome change!
Selah, with “Press On.”
When I was very young, my mother took a job as a school bus driver so that she could buy two things: a Royal typewriter and a Singer sewing machine. Not long after she bought the typewriter, she enrolled in, and later completed, the typing and shorthand classes which were being offered by one of the local high school’s adult education programs. Although I am sure she did exemplary work in those classes (my mother always brought home “A’s”), I don’t think she ever got to use her newly acquired skills in any vocational way. That’s because my mother’s real gifts were in cooking and managing, and it was the combination of these gifts that made it possible for her to quit driving the bus and move on to managing the cafeteria at a newly opened school in our area.
Of course, she excelled at this job and, after serving successfully in this capacity at a number of different schools, she was eventually promoted to the position of Food Service Supervisor; a position which required her to oversee the management and productivity of nineteen of the school cafeterias in our city–and a position which she held until her retirement. Interestingly enough, although I cannot remember my mother ever using that Royal typewriter again, it was that very machine that I used to teach myself to type, using my mother’s old night school books, probably when I was just eight or ten years old.
As for the Singer sewing machine, when my mother first purchased it, I know she used it a lot because I remember always being under her feet while she was sewing. Probably as a way of getting me out from under, she started giving me little things to do on my own–actually beginning the process of teaching me to sew, even though I was only about two at the time.
My mother’s interest in sewing started to wane, though, once she took the full-time position as cafeteria manager, most likely because she no longer had the time to sew. I, on the other hand, was just getting started. In fact, I took to sewing like the proverbial duck takes to water. I was making clothes for my dolls and me before I was eight, and by the time I had reached my teens, I was doing production type sewing, sewing flat-felled seams around all of the other students in my home economics class.
Much later, when my first marriage ended in divorce and I became the single mother of two little boys, I was able to use the sewing skills I had acquired to provide an income for my children and me. Later still, when I went back to school to study architecture, along with the courses for my major, I took some courses in costume design and history and, once again, it was my sewing skills that opened a new door for me–building costumes for the theatre. The contacts that I had made while working in the university’s theatre then led me to a job building costumes for a season at a large opera company in the southwest. Upon my return home, and after one of the people I had worked with at the opera recommended me to the designer at our local theatre, I was hired me to stitch costumes for that company.
One day about this same time, a friend showed up at my door—saying she believed she had a “word from God” for me, and telling me that I should go to the large television ministry in our area and apply for a job. At the time, I couldn’t imagine what I would do there, but then she told me that they had a wardrobe department and that they needed a new tailor! So, I applied, was hired, and that is where I have worked, off and on, for the past twenty-seven years. Although I was hired initially as a tailor, I ended up doing just about everything associated with wardrobe, from design to maintenance, and was quite content in doing so—that is, until about eleven years ago.
As I mentioned in my reflection, My Journey to the Land of Blog, this was about the time my supervisor asked me to take over the scheduling for our department. At first, I was very reluctant to take the job on because it meant using a computer and at the time, I didn’t even know how to turn one on and off. But, guess what? I took the job and it wasn’t long before I learned learned my way around that once terrifying piece of machinery. Why? I think, for more than any other reason, it was because of the typing skills I had developed while working on my mother’s old Royal typewriter, when I was only eight or ten years old!
Amazing, isn’t it, how one seemingly insignificant decision can make such a big difference in not just one, but in so many lives? I am sure that when my mother decided to go to work to buy that typewriter and sewing machine, she had no idea of the long range implications of her decision. No doubt, she thought she would use the typing and shorthand training to get a job in an office somewhere, and was probably planning on using the sewing machine to make her clothes for that job. She had no idea at the time that in taking the bus driving job to buy the items, she would learn about the job at the school; a job which would make better use of her gifts, one that allowed her to work while her children were in school and yet be at home when they were off for the summer, and one where she would ultimately be able to bless a lot more people (and, as a job where she wouldn’t be wearing anything other than uniforms, there would be no need for sewing!).
At my mother’s funeral, I had the opportunity to meet one of the many people she made a difference to in her job, when a gentleman, who had been the principal at one of her schools, waited in line to introduce himself to me. This school was a model for our city and he told how, when they were preparing to open it, he had been asked who he wanted to manage his cafeteria. He said that he had no idea, just to send him “the best”–and, he said, that is what he got when they sent him my mother!
In retrospect, the typewriter and sewing machine were probably just a couple of “loose threads” in my mother’s life—projects or goals that were started but never completed. Surely, when she bought them, she thought she was purchasing them for herself; all the while not having a clue that, in God’s master plan, she was really buying them for me–and, that in doing so, she was ultimately setting the course my life would take. She had no way of knowing then that a sewing machine would be the means by which I would make a living, or that a typewriter would eventually make it possible for me to learn to use the computer–something which would make it possible for me to be on the web–and which would make it possible for me to share with others the things that I have learned about God. What may have merely been a few loose threads in her life have, in my life, proven to be the very things that God has chosen to use over and over again, in the weaving of the tapestry which has become my life.
To be sure, they are just further evidence of the truths that…
“Oh, the depth of the riches both of the wisdom and knowledge of God! How unsearchable [are] His judgments and His ways past finding out!” (Romans 11:33 NKJV)