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Listen Up!

Very truly I tell you, a time is coming and has now come when the dead will hear the voice of the Son of God and those who hear will live. 
John 5:25

Today’s Fresh Fire is our last in this series.  It’s been a great adventure finding and studying verses that have helped me bolster my faith.  I hope these verses have helped your faith journey as well!

The idea of hearing the voice of God makes me think of my dog, Tucker.  When he was just a puppy, I made a commitment to train him much differently than our previous dog.  When my other dog was a puppy, I also had two small children to train.  And the dog was the last to get my attention!  So, with Tucker I’ve made it a point to make him into a good walking dog.  At this point in his training, he walks with a e-collar rather than a leash.

There were a few training goals which my husband poo-poo’d at the time.  One, that Tucker be trained to only chase rabbits when I allowed it.  And two, to only cross the street when he received our approval.  When my friends walk with me and Tucker they know that at each street corner we must stop, look both ways and proceed.  Tucker, even while walking slightly ahead of me, will sit at each corner and wait for me.  A training feat accomplished!

But what does this have to do with the voice of God?  You see, my real goal with Tucker was to help him not get hit by a car if say, he were to be in the front yard with me while off leash.  So, when we approached a corner and a car was passing by, even if it was going parallel to us, I made him wait.  I associated not only the changing texture of the surface he was on but also the sound of cars with his need to wait.

And I can almost swear he now looks both ways, looking and listening for cars.  He has learned to listen to something outside his little doggie mind before he can proceed safely.

Isn’t that what God wants from us?  To be so well trained to listen for Him that we don’t proceed until we hear what He wants of us?

And he said to me, “Son of man, eat what is before you, eat this scroll; then go and speak to the people of Israel.” So I opened my mouth, and he gave me the scroll to eat.
Ezekiel 3:1

Throughout this series through verse after verse we have heard that to stay close to God we must pray, read His Word and listen through silent mediation.  And the Bible shows us so many ways which God will speak to us – dreams, visions (like with Ezekiel), burning bushes, through others, signs, and the written word.  If we aren’t listening to all His ways then how can we ever expect to cross the street safely?  To move forward in our lives along His preferred path?

When Jesus made the statement in our verse today, He is telling us to listen up!  To pay close attention!  He tells us that a time is coming where when we hear His voice again it’s resurrection time.  For those who hear His Word and turn to Him for the first time, that resurrection might mean tomorrow.  Their dead souls come to live in new life.  For others it will be when the believers are raised from the dead and enter into God’s glorious eternity.  While still others will be resurrected and judged harshly.

But if we aren’t listening for Him, what will we miss out on?  We miss the opportunity to be made righteous.  We miss the opportunities to enjoy peace and grace and forgiveness right now.

This thing I know, that when I have neither heard nor read, I have yet felt the voice of God within me, and the Spirit has, himself, revealed some dark mystery, opened some secret, guided me into some truth, given me some direction, led me in some path, or in some other way has immediately spoken to me himself; and I believe it is so with every man at conversion;

Charles Spurgeon, The Majestic Voice

I was at my first women’s Bible retreat and we were challenged to go find a quiet place to talk with God.  I found myself at a rustic, outdoor chapel of sorts.  As I sat in prayer, I laid my heavy heart out for God.  My constant prayer at the time was to help me find peace and a lightness of spirit.  I felt so heavy with burdens.  As I finished my prayer a flock of tiny birds flew directly in front of me from one side of the chapel to another.  As they raced each other along their path they chirped loudly at each other – a flock of children laughing and squealing in some unseen game.  The landed in a tree just above me and kept up their heavenly laughter.  And I laughed along with them.

I realized immediately it was God snapping His fingers at me to say, “Wake up! There is joy to be had all around you! You see, even my tiny birds, who have only themselves, this tree and this moment are filled with laughter.  You have so much more that I have given you!”

The voice of God is everywhere.  It’s in us.  He fills our dreams.  He thunders with each storm and crashing wave.  He gently rocks us to sleep with the croaking frogs.  He loves us with the cooing of a baby.  He runs laughing with us while getting that kite up in the air.  To truly hear Him, to listen to what He has to say today, we just need a bit of practice and some well-planned training.  The next time you find yourself needing to cross a proverbial street in your life take a moment to listen. He will guide you safely across.

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Christian T-Shirt Not Needed


God decided to use me at just the right time to teach me some very valuable lessons and to test my growth in Faith. I was deep into what I was calling God’s Boot Camp a few years ago when I got called up to the Big Leagues. I never thought God would ask me to do anything special. I just wanted to be a better Christian. So, when I got the call it hit me out of the blue. I reacted a bit like the Bible’s Samuel. It took little Samuel three times hearing God’s voice before his mentor said, “Dude, that’s not me calling you, it’s God. And by the way, when you hear him again, pay attention.” That might be a paraphrasing of the story, but you get the picture. 

Over my 55 years, I’ve dabbled in helping the homeless but I would by no means call myself a “homeless advocate.” I’ve collected food, blankets, and clothing for various drives. My family has even served meals at churches in the downtown area. I didn’t see it as part of God’s plan for me. It was simply something you do as a “good person.” The morning of February 18, 2017, changed not just my outlook on what God wants from me but also my entire view of grace. The morning I heard the Holy Spirit was like any other. I slept snugly in my bed, squeezing in as much sleep as possible before getting up for work. That morning’s dream, I realized, was no ordinary dream. It had a tangible feeling to it, yet seemed surreal. I imagine it was how Scrooge felt when he was led around by the Ghosts of Christmas. But my guide was no ghost, it was Jesus.

I woke up to a man standing beside me. I glanced to my left and saw the holiest of holy men. A glimpse was all I dared take for fear that if I stared too long, I would never look away. I could feel his strong and worn hand on mine. Each fold of his clothing draped softly and gently, begging me to clutch his sleeve. His flowing waves of hair blew in an unseen breeze. But most of all, his eyes warmly spoke to me, beckoning me to listen. He led me forward to a scene, brushing away mist. There I was, with friends, preparing a meal of soup, crackers, cookies and water. Laughter permeated the air. My house was a buzz of activity. Children playing and adults, meeting for the first time, sharing stories. Then He showed me and others making sandwiches and placing them in bags with fruit and water. He said simply, “Do this” as he spread His arms across the scene. Now let’s stop here for a second. I’m not pulling your leg here. Every single detail was being shown to me by “the Man.” Have you ever watched a spy movie where the home office gives the spy some lengthy instructions including serial numbers, addresses, names and phone numbers, and you think, “I can’t even remember my kids’ names. Somehow Tom Cruise manages to remember every detail while also doing parcour throughout Paris?” Well, it was like that. Jesus was asking me to remember every detail, without notes. Okay, back to the vision. He then led me to a parking lot in downtown San Diego by our ballpark that I hadn’t actually been to in about two years. He said, “Bring them here.” He turned to me and said, “Make 100 of these.” I kid. You. Not. When I woke up, I had every detail emblazoned in my mind. He was a man of few words, but it was mighty powerful.

Show me your faith without deeds and I will show you my faith BY my deeds

James 2:18

I want to be a “doing Christian.” I could have had this vision and told a few people about it. Then blown it off as just another weird dream.  However, like a trained Navy Seal called up to action, God’s Boot Camp training kicked into high gear. This was like the final exam to see if I had been paying attention. I spent that day ruminating over this vision. It wasn’t a dream. I’ve had plenty of those dreams where you wake up still mad at your husband for doing something awful in your dream! This was more like marching orders. Funny enough, a few days before, my Power Thoughts devotional was “Passing the Test” and the Bible verse was 1 Peter 4:12,

“Beloved, do not be amazed and bewildered at the fiery ordeal which is taking place to test your quality, as though something strange were befalling you.”

1 Peter 4:12

The next day I revealed this vision to my husband. Whether or not he was going to (again) think I was a total lunatic, I had no idea. His response? “Sounds like a good plan.” I’m not sure if I’ve mentioned this, but I love him. He thinks I’m pretty wacky, but he’s also seen a lot of spiritual growth in me over the years. What he didn’t know is this plan wasn’t going to be just for the next week or next month. In fact, this project God had for me was to last for 11 months. When things weren’t going well, I prayed, “Hey, you wanted to do this, so show me the solution!” 

The next day an angel spoke to me. Wait, let me clarify so you don’t think I was dropping acid or something this whole time. This angel was a friend in my Bible study group. She immediately asked if she could come help me shop for the first 200 bags of food. Until that moment, I had never known that she once prepared and served food to the homeless every month for many years. She missed those times and was eager to find a way to continue that work. Over the next 11 months, she was my steady partner. Between frying up 300 chicken legs outside in the pouring rain to handing out cheetah-print undies, she was all in. She was up for just about anything, ready with a smile and, when needed, an “oh well” when things didn’t quite go as planned.


On Monday, February 20, 2017, after a few miracles even at the grocery store, a team of moms and their kids arrived at my house. I didn’t know who would show up after I sent out a few text messages explaining what I was planning on doing that week. I put the kids in charge of decorating our paper bags. The moms created a production line of soup, crackers, fruit, and utensils. We made 105 bags that morning. Those that could joined us in the cars as we headed to that ballpark downtown. What we saw upon arriving was eye opening. As a I mentioned, by July, news of the homeless crisis was splashed across every headline in America. This was 6 months prior to that. We had no idea of the hundreds, if not thousands, of people living in a few square blocks in our downtown. It’s not that we didn’t go downtown. We didn’t go to certain areas of downtown. Street upon street were tent cities. Homeless filled the ballpark parking lot – which during night games was emptied out to allow for cars. As we gathered moms and their kids around my car, we grasped hands and prayed. We prayed that the food would be a blessing, we prayed for our safety, and we prayed thankfully for the opportunity to do His blessing. In less than one hour we had given out our 100 lunches. We saw young and old. Infirm and, yes, insane. Drug users and drunks. We talked to those in despair and those desiring a better life. We also were blessed. We were called “angels.” We saw smiles and received thank-yous. They told us “God bless you this week.” We saw crosses—so many crosses—around people’s necks. These people wanted to be sure WE received God’s blessings. We who have so much and they so little. But we all have God’s grace and forgiveness. This was just day 1.  And after a truly amazing day of handing out food I had plenty to send up in praise. I laughed out loud when He stepped in and put people in just the right places. 

A couple of awesome helpers!

I spent the next months, once a week, making a minimum of 100 and usually at least 200 bags of food.  People I didn’t even know offered to drop off packaged food items.  Teachers who were friends of friends had their students collect toiletries for me to distribute.  God led the way every single step of the way.  He told me what to buy, when to buy it and where.  He told me where to deliver the food.  But more importantly he told me to trust Him.  I went to some scary places, by myself with God hovering over me.

Even the artwork, drawn mostly by my nieghbor’s granddaughter, meant so much to people

Had I just woken up that morning and thought, “well, that was interesting” and never embarked on the deeds He called me to I would have missed out on so many God moments.  People marveled at the work God was doing in me.  Thousands of people were blessed and were truly thankful.  I didn’t wear a t-shirt proclaiming myself as a Christian when we gave out food.  But every single person assumed I was with a church, by my deeds.  I would tell them, I’m just here because God asked me to come.

Volunteers of all ages jumped in!

What is God asking you to do and maybe you’ve ignored Him?  If you are stuck because of fear you need to do it anyway.  Close your eyes, take the step, and Trust Him.