Life Has Been Exciting Again!!

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Since I last posted, I have gotten more productive, and I have been joyously progressing in my life! What have I been up to, you ask?

I got a job! I am now the new dishwasher at a restaurant in my town, and I love it. It’s definitely harder work than I anticipated, but it’s really good work & has been so great for both my physical and mental health. I can feel my muscles getting stronger, and I can feel the pride in knowing that I’m doing a job I know I can do. Thanks to the camps I’ve worked at, I have all the previous experience of doing dishes under my belt, and so far it’s paying off (Feels good to know that I’ll actually have some money in the bank & I’ll finally be able to save for useful things, as well as the occasional espresso in my daily coffee)! I’m confident in my ability to work with a focused brain, and I’m pleased to say that my bosses have taken notice quite a lot lately.

I adore my team. Everyone is so kind and full of drive, which helps a lot. And if any of us has trouble, we’re quick to offer help to one another. Not only am I the only girl out of everyone on the dishcrew (girl power lol), but I’m also the shortest. So when I can’t reach something off the top of the shelf, or if I can’t put something away, all I have to do is hand something to my super tall coworkers. The camaraderie is really admirable here. I look forward to see how God will use me in this place.

I’ve been writing a little less, but I carry my notebooks everywhere to ensure that creativity doesn’t escape my grasp when it comes into reach. I’ve been editing a lot of my previous work, which hopefully will be done soon, because I have some exciting projects to do with it! My newest notebook has been used to create new pieces with new topics and formats. I’m still on page one, but that’s alright. I feel like this new season in my life will be full of newness, and stretching in my mind. God is going to be growing me a lot in the next few months (for example, taking the recycling out sounds like a tiny task, but the bin is huge, the wheels are broken, and I am tiny).

I’ve also been reading a lot more, which has been so good. I missed reading so much. I wanted to make sure all my editing was completed before taking on another book (still not done editing though). Ezra and I have taken a trip to the bookstore where I bought 2 books, which are “I Wrote This For You” and “I Wrote This For You And Only You”, both by Iain S. Thomas. I think his work is really beautiful & inspiring, and it’s as if he’s heard every thought in my head.

I also need to get back into the swing of bible studying. I stopped in the middle of Numbers, and I think I should start a routine again. I find it hard to read my bible for pleasure- I read it more for knowledge and study. I just don’t know where to begin. The bible is overwhelming, but I’ve been feeling the urge to dive in once more. Maybe I should just do it.

there’s a shortness of breath / going forward in life / just go ahead / live / be free

-Robin Bailey-Leonard, ‘life in abandon’

I don’t know when I’ll get a planner to sort out blog posts again. I miss being disciplined with a schedule, but my work schedule is all warped right now. Until next time, my friends!

Your Ministry Is Necessary

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I was scrolling through Instagram a few days ago, and came across a post from Lysa TerKeurst, where she was talking about not knowing how people would be affected if she didn’t continue her ministry. It made me think. Here’s the question that she posed:

“What loss would people feel if your ministry no longer existed?”

I feel like so many of us question our ability to be used in the Church. Like we’re ill-equipped, or not qualified.  “Am I making a difference?”, “Am I helping?”, “Are people feeling loved and encouraged?” are all questions we have; we want to do good things for the kingdom of God.

All of us have different ministries that we’re a part of: preaching, serving, blogging, kids ministry, leading worship, organizing church events, even janitorial work. We’re all a part of the Church body, which can’t function at its best if someone doesn’t do their part, just like a physical body feels off if a body part is broken or hurt.

We all have significant part in the Church body, whether we see it or not.

Here’s an example: I enjoy blogging a lot, because it helps me share my thoughts & connect better with people. I can offer encouragement and love here. I didn’t see it as a ministry at first, maybe because I didn’t think it did too much for the kingdom of God. But as I went on to create a community of people who long for encouragement, love, support, and authentic reality, I realized that there are people who enjoy what I write. I can show Christ through this platform, and I think ministry can be in all forms, as long as Christ is shown to the people.

Another example: Every Sunday morning, I walk into church, and I see 3 or 4 people setting up food plates for after the service. Their behind-the-scenes work does not go unappreciated. Sometimes I see the janitor sweeping or mopping, so that the church looks its best. I love that. It’s humbling to realize that it’s not just the pastor that has a ministering job to do; so do we. And without our intentional efforts to do our part in the Church body, the body will weaken.

We shouldn’t downplay our part in the body of Christ- we have purpose.

I feel like once we’re found by Jesus & our lives are 100% changed, the calling for our life is ministry; it becomes our reason for living- to spread the gospel and the love of Christ from whatever platform we have, and to introduce as many people as we can to Jesus. Even if we aren’t a pastor; we can have an office job and still live a life of ministry. In fact, if we’re saved and redeemed by Jesus & don’t feel the desire to  carry out the Great Commission in our lives, what are we even doing?

I felt the need to encourage you by saying that whatever your platform of ministry is, it’s so valid, and so necessary. The Church wouldn’t be able to function properly without you.

The Great Commission

16 Then the eleven disciples went to Galilee, to the mountain where Jesus had told them to go. 17 When they saw him, they worshiped him; but some doubted. 18 Then Jesus came to them and said, “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. 19 Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, 20 and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age.”

Sunday Morning, One Voice

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Sunday morning, April 30th. Sunday mornings are always special, because that’s one of the main days in the week where my church family gets together & taste a little bit of what heaven is like as one body, in one accord. It’s one of the special days of the week where we expect that God is going to show up. Granted, God can meet us at any point of any day in the week, but with Sundays being the “normal” Sabbath day, we naturally expect God to show up. He always does.

Let me tell you about the experience we had yesterday morning.

We had an acoustic set of 4 people, with all of us on vocals, and 2 of us on guitar. We had practice beforehand, but that never compares to the real deal in the midst of the church body. We wanted to have periods of silence in our set so we could leave room for God to do his thing. We can’t rush worship, and I love that our team is grasping this more than ever. God is doing a work in our hearts & cultivating a desire for genuine worship.

We sang a song that we had never done before. We are all singing sweetly- every kind of harmony and melody escaping our lips. Lots of the time, I close my eyes in worship, and it’s immediately just God & I. But there are moments where I can for a second, notice the congregation, and I can see how in love with God they are. Just hearing everyone singing together once the music died down was gorgeous.

The whole morning, I was thinking about a decision that I was going to make. I knew I needed divine & heavenly courage to do it. I knew that if I prayed for the courage to do this task, I’d receive it, because everything we ask in Jesus’ name will be heard and granted.

“Ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you.” 

-Matthew 7:7

I was focused on that for most of the worship service. After a while, as I got deeper and deeper in the presence of Jesus, and I got a sense of tranquility. It was almost as if I was in the eye of the storm- it was the most peace I’ve ever felt (I say that a lot, only because every moment of peace in the presence of Jesus is awesome).

I feel like I write about my experiences in worship a lot, but these moments are too beautiful not to share. I can speak for everyone on my team when I say that God was present. How can we not keep that to ourselves? We’re so excited to see what He will do in our lives!

I’d encourage you to spend time in worship today. Pray. Even if you’re not used to it. Ask Jesus to reveal Himself, and He will. You’ll be so inspired!

I’ll leave you with this psalm that I read last night, and I LOVE: “Praise the Lord, all nations! Glorify him, all peoples! For his faithful love to us is great; the Lord’s faithfulness endures forever. Hallelujah! (Psalm 117)

 

 

 

The Evidence of Progress

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The last few weeks have been so crazy in my journey with Jesus! Here’s an awesome & eventful recap:

April 6th, I wrote my post, The Liberation, where I declared myself free from all anxiousness in Jesus’ name. April 8th, I went to see some friends & we ate dinner together, and watched movies like Ghostbusters (that theme song is my halloween go-to) & the Hillsong Movie. We had a time of worship that evening. That Sunday, the 9th, was when I helped our church’s worship team lead. It felt incredible!

I don’t doubt that God put these things in order leading up to this moment. If I hadn’t declared freedom over my life, and if we hadn’t watched the Hillsong Movie, I wouldn’t have been so inspired to worship Jesus like I did.

On the 10th, I’ve started a bible study where I am reading from Genesis to Revelation, and writing down the promises of God. This is helping me so much, and I don’t know why I put this off. On the 14th, it was Good Friday. I spent it reading the bible & listening to worship music. We had an amazing service that evening. The Holy Spirit was there, and there was a sense of joy rather than sorrow, which is so GOOD. We had an awesome time at McDonalds later! The 15th, spent reading & listening to music. The 16th, Easter Sunday, was overall joyful. My restored joy was basically symbolic of how I have risen from the grave with Jesus on that third day. Amazing, isn’t it?

The past two weeks have been amazing, I can’t even describe it. But Jesus has been so good to me in restoring my heart back to the way it used to be.

A few nights ago, my best friend & I were discussing the question, In a few sentences, how would you describe your born again experience?, and this is what we came up with:

“My born again experience has been something that, 6 years ago, I didn’t know how badly I needed. There’s been this hope that clings to the back of my mind. It reminds me of that dark place I was once in. That had I not discovered Jesus, I would either be stuck in this pit of despair for the rest of my life, or I wouldn’t be here. Sometimes it’s hard to remember the hope that I have, but those times pass. I have this desire to look at the world in a different light. I see people as special and lovely. My experience with Jesus has allowed me to see life much more brightly.” -Me

“Hmm, I never really thought of it.  I guess it’s a cop out to say that a lot of my walk of faith ends up in a worship song, but I do believe that God is my source. If I think back to before I was saved, well, I can’t imagine how I survived. I’m completely incapable of surviving without Him.” -Mick Germain

I have had the pleasure of seeing my friends grow in their faith, going through seasons, overcoming weights, and reclaiming their joy. It’s so beautiful to see, and sometimes I get overwhelmed by the progress I see, because it proves their loyalty & devotion to Jesus. And to be a witness of these things is lovely, wouldn’t you think?

(It’s time for me to stop typing and going on and on about my friends, or else I’ll start crying  & this post doesn’t make sense anymore bye)

 

The Liberation

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Last night, I couldn’t sleep very well, so I decided to pick up a journal I had recently bought (the obsession is real), and try to fill the first few pages. It was such a success! When I was done writing, it was nearly 1:30am. I had made a point to put worship music on, and that influenced my writing & reflection a lot. I haven’t journaled in a long time, so to get everything out on paper made me feel lighter!

Here’s a list of some songs that I had listened to:

  1.  Tremble by Mosaic MSC
  2. Nothing But The Blood by Citizens & Saints
  3. Seasons Change by United Pursuit ft. Michael Ketterer
  4. You Are Worthy by Will Reagan
  5. High Priest by Rivers & Robots
  6. Everything To You by Bethel
  7. The Real Thing by Michael Ketterer
  8. You Hear Me by Rivers and Robots
  9. 23 by Red Rocks Worship
  10. Yahweh by The Brilliance

“These last few days have been unnecessarily hard on my heart. There have been too many attacks on my mind, telling me that I’ll amount to nothing in this life, and that I’ll never get to where I need or want to be. A whole bunch of stuff that does not have a place in my head.

What I totally skipped over in my thinking, was how important it is to speak truths over my life when spiritual attacks like this happen. They can come at any moment, so I have to be on constant watch. It’s important, because it’s very hard to function when all that’s on my mind is how awful I am.

Earlier yesterday, I was reading my devotional & the final pages in my leadership course. They both talked a lot about how we should speak out against the spiritual attacks and remember that we have plenty of promises to lean on from God. It allows for us to become more effective leaders when we learn to do this.

Isn’t it more liberating to know you can take care of someone & their burdens now that you’re not worrying about yourself? Yes!

This takes a lot of discipline. How? Well, we have to be regularly in the Word, reading the promises that God has for us; If we aren’t reminding ourselves of these biblical truths, or seeking them out, how will we know what God thinks?

We also have to pray. A lot. This is something I’m still learning to discipline myself to do. I know my day is unfulfilled if I don’t talk to God during the day. I feel guilty being in bed & talking to Him for only 5 minutes, right before I drift to sleep. Prayer takes a lot of our burdens off of our shoulders, and replaces it with peace. So why do we deprive ourselves of this?

Despite having to relearn discipline in these areas, I’m learning a lot. Learning to go to God with troubles I have is good. It’s important. I’m so glad and thankful for His patience with me. And I’m learning to speak against the things that Satan has planted in my mind. It’s time to put on some gardening gloves and un-root some poisonous roots. The time is so overdue, and I refuse to let it take over my mind any longer.”

Not a Proverbs 31 Lady

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I remember reading this proverb for the first time and thinking, “That is not me.

Let me introduce you to the Proverbs 31 lady: She is someone who is always on the go. She’s innovative, good with numbers. She’s got a good home. She’s not afraid of what the future has in store for her. She is never found doing nothing. She’s strong, mentally and physically. She’s also a business lady.

I’m not insanely inventive, and I suck at math. I’m no business woman. I’m a fair cook, and I’d love to get better, but I’m no chef. I’m not a busybody. I’m almost always anxious; the thought of the future fills me with fear & dread. I don’t have my own home. My arms aren’t that strong, though I’d like to believe that I exercise my mind quite a bit.

Now, I know I’m not selling the prettiest picture of myself, and even though I feel led to write this, I’m super embarrassed about the image I’m portraying. As I write this, I’m finding myself thinking things like, “Is this enough? I do my best to better myself, but is my effort enough?

But the Proverbs 31 lady is also the following: She’s trustworthy, she’s eager, and hospitable. She’s humble, creative, helpful, welcoming, wise, and kind. She loves the Lord. She is all that 1 Corinthians 13:4-8 says.

4″ Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres.

Love never fails.”

When I was a teenager, early in my faith, I’d read articles on the Proverbs 31 woman. The messages I got from these articles were hurtful, and put doubt in my heart. Which is really sad, considering I was reading with the voice of supposedly godly women who are supposed to uplift and encourage young women. The message I received upon reading them were “If you’re not a perfect mirroring image of this woman, you are not worthy enough to be called a child of God.

But this woman is more than the simple mold of a Proverbs 31 girl- she is, in fact, a child of God.

I strive to be better than I am, and I believe that I am worthy to be called a child of God. It’s the gift that was gracefully given to me (and to you), when the price of death was paid on the cross where Jesus died. Though Proverbs 31 is a stencil on how a wise woman can be, I think it’s also a calling to be different in areas (e.g: just because you can’t sew, doesn’t mean you’re excluded from the kingdom of God).

We as children of God, should embrace our special individuality. I’m 100% here for it. Are you?

To Dwell Is To Repent First

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dwell

(dwɛl)

v. dwelt dwelled, dwell•ing. v.i.

1. to live or stay as a permanent resident; reside.
2. to exist or continue in a given condition or state.
3. dwell on or upon, to think, speak, or write about at length or with persistence; linger over.
To dwell is to remain. To focus. And this is what Jesus wants: For us to be still so we can focus on His voice and hear what He has to say.
Here’s my problem: I dwell too much. I don’t sing my loudest, and I am often too still. This is often my mindset when I enter in worship. The Lord calls us to be still in His presence, but recently I’m discovering that I’m too still.

There comes a point where we’re no longer still in the Spirit- we’re no longer worshiping. We’re frozen in our unrepentance. We’re not joyful in our worship & praise because we haven’t lifted our burdens to Jesus.

That’s me. I feel like I’m pretty much frozen stuck. I still love the Lord with all my heart. But I’ve gotten to a point where I’m no longer basking in the presence of God- I’m just standing there.  This is a big problem. I imagine Jesus standing there and saying to me,

“Where’s your joy, child? You’re redeemed! Saved from Sheol! Rejoice!”

So here’s my repentance: Lord Jesus, I’m sorry that I haven’t been apologizing for the offenses that I’ve done against you, when that’s the first thing I should be doing. Have mercy on me, please. I don’t know what I would do without your mercy, and I’m so grateful. I’m not worthy enough to receive your merciful hand. 
Your love changes everything. You are the epitome of goodness, and this makes me want to be better for you. You deserve so much better than what I give. You have taught me better than this.
I’ve been sick for multiple days now, and I feel like that has robbed me of my joy. Please renew my strength to obey & follow the things you say. It’s not what I say that goes, but what you say that goes, because you are my Master. I love you & revere you. You are so kind & merciful to me. Bless you, amen.

So friends, are you ready to go into this weekend in praise & rejoicing? Are you ready to dwell in the presence of God & be joyful because of the salvation which Jesus has gracefully given to you? I’m excited to see what this weekend brings!

Unloved (That’s A Lie)

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I was trying to title my poetry (I’ve been stuck on it for days) in order to distract myself from how I’ve been feeling so unloved all afternoon. Who knew why in the world this was happening, of all days? How I wish I knew. It was like my brain was a broken record, constantly repeating the same four terrible words:

“You are not loved.”

It hurt so much. I know these are words from Satan himself. And I know that this statement is a lie. But I can’t help but allow those words to get under my skin. It’s weird; I’m a sensitive person, but tag me in dank memes, or call me trash & I’ll laugh hysterically because I know it’s true (also because my sense of humor is warped).

With a heavy & hurting heart, I decided to delve into some scripture, because I know that there is power in the word of God. There, I can find some of the highest encouragement. This is what I found:

“Put on then, as God’s chosen ones, holy and beloved, compassionate heart, kindness, humility, meekness, and patience,” (Colossians 3:12)

I’m chosen by God, made holy by the blood of His that was poured out on the cross where He died for me. I am beloved. Dearly loved. What a great reminder. I should really remind myself of this more often. But this is what I grasped. God chose me. Little unequipped-for-life me. Why? I will never fully know. But He chose me. He picked me. He wanted me.

I’m still hurting, and that might not change for a little while. But I’m encouraged. And I feel both empowered & humbled by those few words. There are people in the world who will not choose me, who will not love me. But that doesn’t matter compared to the love that the Lord has for me. Because if I don’t have His love, I don’t have anything. So because I definitely have His love, I lack nothing.

This goes for you too, my dear friend who is reading this right now. You are loved, and wanted by the Lord. When we dwell on this fact, and focus on Him, the awful thoughts begin to dim, and goes from “You are not loved”, to “You are loved”. We have to remember this.

“I am loved.”

Responsive: A Prayer

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“You lead me to the water,

Sweet water,

The water of life.

When I am sinking,

You lift me

Up out of the night.”

-United Pursuit, Feeling Low

Jesus, there is so much I have to say to you. First, I need to apologize, because repentance is the gate to your listening ear. I’m so sorry for not listening to your laws. I am a broken human being. I need you so much.

Please have mercy on my soul, & the souls of my friends. We go wayward more times than we feel comfortable admitting. But we need your patient & slow grace. Have mercy on us. We have no idea what we’re doing.

Please help us to become more in tune with your precious voice. We need to listen to the voice that you use to lead us in the way everlasting. Our own personal plans have no place in the light of your perfect plans for our lives. Without you, or your voice, we are dead bodies.

But our victory is set in stone.

“Speak to the silence of my heart…

Speak to the silence of my heart…

Speak to the silence of my heart…

& I will wait for you to come.”

-United Pursuit, Speak To The Silence

Oh, Jesus…how much are we compared to you…your glory…the greatness of your presence…the shadow of your cross…the weight of our burdens that you carried upon yourself?

You are so perfect in each way- so incomparable. You, only you could have done what you did. May we always look to your cross. We are desperate for something that only you can give us. We can’t do anything in our own power to fix our problems; to fix ourselves. We need to have you make a home in our little, mere souls, because only you can change us from the inside out.

We are messes of human beings, but we love you. We try. But we need your divine help. Oh, God. You are the most precious thing we possess. We love you so much.

Let us be still. Still enough to hear your voice. To sit, listen, and respond.

 

This Is The Way, Walk In It

Happy Monday, my friends! I have someone special I would like to introduce you to. Her name is Joelle & I have known her for about 4 years! Throughout these years, she’s become a great friend, and I admire her greatly. She loves the Lord with her whole heart & has a passion for ministry. She writes a blog, called Joyfully Yours Blog & if you click on it, you will be redirected to it. Please check it out, she has so much wisdom to share. Enjoy!

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How do I hear God’s voice? Why would God speak to me? How does God speak to me? For a long time I thought that God only spoke to more “spiritual” people who had a special gift that allowed them to hear God. In the past few months, though, I have come to the conclusion that that is so false. My Heavenly Father desires relationship. And He is so close to me. He wants to speak to me!

Isaiah 30:21 says “Whether you turn to the right or to the left, your ears will hear a voice behind you saying ‘this is the way, walk in it.’” The Lord is so near. God’s Word was the catalyst of creation. It was there when Adam & Eve sinned. It told Noah to build an ark. The voice of God allowed Moses to move, to initiate the liberation of His people. It was there when that same chosen people refused to follow Him. God’s Word was with David through his deepest turmoil and fear. It told Jonah to go to Nineveh to reach those whom no one wanted to reach. God spoke to the prophets as they warned His people of His wrath and gave the hope of a Savior. The Word became flesh when Christ was born in a stable in Bethlehem. And the Word is in us as we listen to the Holy Spirit inside of us –guiding, teaching and speaking.

God’s Word is constant and eternal. It allows us to move forward with confidence in a world full of confusion and insecurity. In Deuteronomy 30:20, it says: “… listen to his voice and hold fast to Him. For the Lord is your life…” God’s word brings life. Not condemnation, not fear, not hate, not shame. Life. Everything He says is perfect. If He speaks of such personal things, and if He cares so much, don’t you think He’d want to speak to you personally? Wouldn’t He want to sit next to you and talk to you about your career, your passions, your future spouse? Wouldn’t He want to help you through your deepest hurts? I truly believe He does.

Revelation 3:20 says that when God knocks on the door of our life and we let Him in, He will come in and eat with us. He wants to spend time with us. He wants to tell you things, have long conversations about life, love and everything in between. Whether that be over a cup of coffee or in a dark room at 2AM when you can’t seem to fall asleep.

I believe the greatest way He speaks to us is through His word. He speaks clearly and boldly throughout the Scriptures. Deuteronomy 30:14 say that “the word of the Lord is very near you, it is in your mouth and in your hearts, so you may obey it.” God’s plans were perfectly laid out in the Bible – plans about His people, plans of grace, deliverance, and peace. There are even prophecies about Jesus in the book of Genesis! Isn’t that amazing? The Word was speaking then, why wouldn’t it be speaking now? The Holy Spirit speaks into circumstances that bring joy and those that bring pain. In all circumstances, He speaks life.  Everything He says is purposeful. In Isaiah 55:10-11 (y’all should check out the whole chapter; it’s pretty great!) it says

“The rain and snow come down from the heavens

and stay on the ground to water the earth.

They cause the grain to grow,

producing seed for the farmer

and bread for the hungry.

It is the same with my word.

I send it out, and it always produces fruit.

It will accomplish all I want it to,

and it will prosper everywhere I send it.” -from Isaiah 55:10-11

 

Whenever the Lord speaks, it is for a reason. His plans are accomplished, hearts are restored, and love is on display. Learning to discern His voice from all others is so important. I’ve learned that, anything that leads me to discouragement or anger or shame, anything that doesn’t help me grow is not from God. When God speaks, He does so to point me to Him, to change my perspective, to remind me that I can’t do anything without Him. His words bring peace rather than confusion, healing rather than pain, and rest rather than turmoil. It’s okay to question, to research, to ask about what you are hearing (in fact, I encourage you to!). In the end, though, you’ll definitely see that God is always right and His Word is always good.

So, this is my challenge to you:

Seek Him. Read His Word. Pray. Listen. Find out how the Lord speaks to you. He is speaking to you in more ways than you think!