Sunday, August 25, 2013

3 Easy Steps for Listening to God

During my sabbatical, I want more than anything to cultivate my relationship with God. This guest post is one you will enjoy--I need to hear it myself and have taken it to heart. I am so glad Ginger Harrington is sharing this word of encouragement with us. More than anything, our Savior longs to meet with speak to us...Thanks, Ginger for bringing us a word today.

3 Easy Ways for Listening to God
Ever feel like there are marshmallows clogging your ears when it comes to hearing God? We long to hear from God, but sometimes lack confidence that God will speak personally to us.
Hebrews 1:1 speaks to this very question that can plague our souls.
"God, after He spoke long ago to the fathers in the prophets in many portions and in many ways, in these last days has spoken to us in His Son..."
The passage goes on to say that Jesus sustains everything by the word of His power.
Bottom line: God speaks through Jesus and the sustaining power of His Word.
Expect to Hear From God
Learning to listen to God comes easier when we come with the faith and expectation that He will speak to us through His Word.
It can be so tempting to approach having a devotional time with God (quiet time) as one more good thing to be crammed into an over-loaded day.
We all have to resist the Wheaties mentality..."It's supposed to be good for you..." but our hearts chase after other things.
Activity or Relationship?
When we begin to approach spending time with God as an activity rather than a relationship, we are missing the point.
Hearing God through the Scriptures is about relationship. Too often, we are more focused on information and performance [doing what good Christians are supposed to do]. I can only say this because I have done it -- a lot.
The most important things about having a Quiet Time is what God has to say, not how long I spend, or how many facts I can collect. It is a matter of the heart longing to grow deeper in relationship with the living, loving, ever-present God who specializes in grace.
Invited to Enter in, Just as You Are
Listen to the heart of God for relationship in this verse that I have rephrased in the first person: "Approach me with confidence so that you may receive mercy and find grace to help in the time of your need" [Hebrews 4:16, rephrased].
This come-as-you-are invitation relieves us of the feeling that we must somehow get ourselves clean and polished before coming to God. God's heart is wide open for relationship, and learning to recognize His voice breaks through the barrier of our misunderstanding and skewed expectations.
Begin to read the Bible as a conversation with the God who loves you more than you could ever understand.
3 Ways to Listen to God
Observation: What does it say?
Interpretation: What does it mean?
Application: What will I do about it?
As you read Scripture and listen, the Holy Spirit will speak, using your mind to direct attention and give insight, or sight into what He wants to say to you today. As you listen, follow the train of Spirit-led thought.
"But when He, the Spirit of Truth comes, He will guide you into all truth." [John 16:13]
What is God saying to you today?

Speaker, writer, and worship leader, Ginger Harrington ministers to women in a variety of ways. Encouraging women to discover practical ways to go deeper with God is an emphasis evident in her popular blog, Ginger’s Corner: Where the Spiritual Meets the Practical.  Come visit Ginger’s blog at and connect with her on Facebook at 

You can also watch Ginger’s videos on Youtube:



Saturday, August 17, 2013

The Eye of the Beholder

Time to refresh and renew. I’m sensing a need to draw nearer to the Lord’s heart and to disengage from the cyber world. Please pray with me for this time of sabbatical to be fruitful, that my ears and heart will be open to what my soul needs. I have some wonderful friends who will share with you here at The Stream’s Edge. May you be blessed by the messages they share.

So, please welcome Kimberly Long, my guest here today at The Stream’s Edge. She is a sweet sister with a wonderful heart.  I hope you enjoy her insights.


I opened the front door to our RV after showering, and as I was getting dressed, I heard a strange sound. It sounded like a dog—the size of a St. Bernard at least, lapping up something tasty. It sounded as though it was on my porch or even closer. I wondered what we had left out that he could be drinking from. I couldn't think of anything. It had not rained recently, leaving puddles, so I couldn't imagine. 

I ventured to the door and slowly peered around the front porch, fully expecting to be met with large puppy dog eyes staring back. Instead, all I found were a bunch of grackles. They are known for their loud raspy call. The Latin word, graculus means, "to cough" which describes their intruding noise. I've seen more than one person shoot up into a tree to send these loud varments on their way to another domain. If you were deaf, you might wonder why anyone would have issues with these beautiful blue-black, shiny-feathered creatures.

Isn't it funny how our perception of something can seem so real? If you would have tried to convince me I was hearing birds instead of a beast I would have stood my ground. I don't know that I would have believed you without seeing it with my own eyes. Isn't this true with other things we've discovered, as we grow older and wiser? We truly believe what we perceive. But sometimes our perception is off. It may be our perception of our self, or someone else has been distorted. There are times I've come to know someone on a deeper level and found they weren't at all what I thought at the beginning.

If we don't study God's word to find out His perception of us, then we will carry a wrong perception. For years, I believed I was weak or less because of my desire to spend a great deal of time alone. I saw in my father the same tendency but to an extreme. It ended up being a detriment to his well being, making it hard for him to stay accountable to others to stay away from alcohol. But I knew I had worked hard at keeping a balance of being around people and staying accountable to other women. I finally realized that being a loner is okay and not only okay but wonderful if this is the way God made me.

Those who are extroverts and lack understanding of their opposites have made cutting remarks to me at times. I finally learned to speak up and say out loud how I'm happy the way God made me and I like myself like I am. I know people who make these statements simply lack a whole perception and see life through the eyes of their understanding alone. When we read and study books about other personalities, we are opening up our understanding to go beyond a limited perception, which is beneficial to all our relationships.

Do you think desert land with cactus is attractive? It's certainly not my idea of beauty, but some think it is. I can't spit at the feet of those who think so without offending, so I need to be open in these areas as long as it doesn't compromise my convictions. I love lush oasis settings full of trees and hills. So I guess I'll continue to keep my RV right here—in the Texas Hill Country and put up with those little black lapping dogs outside my front door. Maybe some people love the sound of grackles? It's all in the eye or ear of the beholder!

Kimberly Long

Author, Speaker, Photographer

Know anyone who needs to get out from under a financial burden?

Kimberly's eBook, Financial Hope will build your faith for immediate results!

Building confidence and wholeness in women for victorious living!

For encouraging blogs and resources visit Kimberly:

Kimberly loves to build women's confidence and bring healing from His word, so they can live a more victorious life. Gleaning from the ten years she was a single mom, Kimberly wrote her first book, “Financial Hope” to help women increase their financial faith and success.
Kimberly has served as a youth minister, worship leader, women’s minister, small group pastor and Director at Christian Women’s Job Corps. But her best training came from scrubbing the church toilets, changing other children’s diapers and finding out she was not called to sing by being allowed to lead worship services and sing a special.
She has three grown children, all married and finally producing grand babies for her!
 Suggested resource this week...This is a wonderful book with insights into the 23rd Psalm: 

Tuesday, August 06, 2013

Her Heart's Desire

We often hear how our experiences prepare us for our next step. I’d like to introduce you to Kathrine Farris. Her encouraging story of preparation illustrates this beautifully. Kathrine, tell us how your career path began and led to your heart's desire.
After finishing my degree in Administrative Office Management, I was left feeling like I had learned how to become a secretary; certainly not what I had in mind.  Then, while planning my wedding in 2008, my college advisor contacted me about teaching a computer applications course; I needed the extra finances and God provided. I soon learned, He was not just providing, but positioning me for future endeavors.
Working at a bank as Assistant Branch Manager, and instructing at the college in computer applications helped me format a business concept.  The banking position gave me immense opportunities for interaction with business clients, business development, working with personnel and operations management. 
How did you begin to use these connections? And, how did you find your way to where you are now?
 I began by offering basic services such as data entry, word processing, presentations, spreadsheets, and other administrative tasks as an independent contractor to entrepreneurs and small businesses.  Researching my concept further, I learned it was not a new idea, but known by the term Virtual Assistant.
In March of 2011, just after finishing major renovations on our new home, still working in banking as a VP and Branch Manager, running my business, and teaching; I learned I was pregnant with our first child.  In early January 2012, we were blessed with a healthy baby boy.
The additional income from my business, enabled me to take a full 12 week maternity leave from the bank. We felt blessed to have this.  I was able to grow my business during my maternity leave, and took on my largest client just weeks before I had to return to work.
For a combination of reasons, we decided my husband would be a stay-at-home-dad.  With a heavy heart, fighting back tears, and breast pump in hand; the time came to return to the bank.  The next few months were some of the most difficult of my life! I cried every morning as I left my son, knowing that between both jobs I’d be lucky to see him before bed. My nights were sleepless, because he was up every two hours, and I couldn’t bear to let him ‘cry it out’. The stress was killing my marriage.
It sounds like you came to a crossroad. Tell us how you struggled with decisions during that time? What comfort did you sense from God through it?
My desire was to work from home, however, we would lose our only stable income and benefits like health insurance. I prayed and held onto the Bible verse “Take delight in the Lord, and he will give you the desires of your heart.” (Psalms 37:4)
In July my husband and I had a serious talk about our options, ultimately deciding to trust in God!  I left my job at the bank. Within two months, my virtual assisting business doubled.
After three months we heard about Christian medical sharing, and we now have better coverage for less than half of what a major medical plan costs.
And, now a year later, my business is flourishing, my family life is great, and we are excitedly awaiting the arrival of our second child. . God is so good!
Looking back, it’s so amazing and humbling to see where God has brought us, and the faithfulness that he has shown me before I even knew what I needed. Without his guidance, I would not be where I am—appreciating a lifestyle that allows me to enjoy my family and the work that provides for them. I can’t wait to see what he has in store for our future!
Kathrine is seeing Jeremiah 29:11 played out: God does have plans for us. He has given her heart's desire. She is an amazing mom, wife and business owner. I am learning about the role of a virtual assistant by seeing her serve her clients efficiently and professionally.
Thanks, Kathrine for sharing your story of God’s faithfulness with us!! 
Kathrine Farris is Owner and Virtual Business Professional behind Strategic Office Support, a Virtual Assisting company that specializes in supporting Professional Speakers, Authors, Consultants, and Business and Life Coaches. She is married to Paul and they have a son, Kaiden and another little one on the way.

Also visit for training, resources, and coaching for new and aspiring Virtual Assistants.

Do you have a story of God's guidance?