Teach Me to Speak– Teach Me to Listen

Our lives have to show a real love for our Savior so that Christianity doesn’t become just something that we do because it seems good. We must hold tight to their hand and lead them home. We’ve got the roadmap, remember? 

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This year, I’ve realized how the world is so much bigger than just my generation. My grandfather passed away. This was the first time I’ve experienced the grief of death. A new baby was born from my generation and it just doesn’t seem like we’ve been here long enough for such. We were the new kids on the block and now they’re saying we’re the experienced ones who have to show the other kids the way around. We have the roadmap in our head and we’ve got to walk them home. No-ones holding our hand guiding us anymore. But they are holding our hand following us.

 

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Nearly the most important thing a person learns is a language to communicate with their surroundings. When one begins to teach a language, the student must already have experienced that language in some way. Children pick up a language by watching and listening to someone else use that language. They need the basics before they can communicate enough to excel in speaking and listening effectively.

. . .

Why is it hard to learn spiritual communication? Why is it, often times, difficult to pray? Why does talking to God seem foreign to us, like a language we’ve never learned to speak? I think it is because the basis of our language learning is observing others communicate in that language, and we don’t always get that initial introduction. We skip straight to the grammar and spelling books when we haven’t yet learned the alphabet. We fumble through digging deeper into understanding great volumes of theology before we learn to speak to God in fragments and simple sentences.

But why are we so compelled to launch into those harder things first? Maybe the observing stage goes undone because it’s awfully hard to observe anymore. 

 

I’ve been studying Spanish, but I’ve only read the textbook and I’ve done it by myself. I haven’t listened to how people annunciate their words in Spanish. I never watch their body language in approaching a situation. I’ve never picked up on how to communicate in a real setting. As a result, I cannot communicate, in Spanish past a little bit of head knowledge that is probably used incorrectly anyway. 

This happens in the language of prayer. While we should not pray to be seen, we should be seen praying. This is such an important factor in the spiritual education of our children. This is the first steps in learning how to communicate. Observation. 

How does one know how to worship if they’ve never seen what worship looks like? We must position ourselves for a miracle so that those who don’t know how to kneel at the feet of Jesus will learn. We have to set disciplines in our prayer life or they will never know that discipline is a necessary factor in consistent prayer. Reading the Bible, listening to God speak, has to be in our daily routine as their example. Our lives have to show a real love for our Savior so that Christianity doesn’t become just something that we do because it seems good. We must hold tight to their hand and lead them home. We’ve got the roadmap, remember? 

Remind them it’s ok to speak in broken sentences when the meaning behind them is communicated real and raw. It’s alright if we don’t have every detail figured out. Let them know it takes trust and hard work, but it is worthwhile. 

We have to teach them the lingua franca of God. We must show them how to listen to and speak with Him. It’s a language all it’s own.

 

. . . 

“In all things shewing thyself a pattern of good works: in doctrine shewing uncorruptness, gravity, sincerity,” –Titus 2:7

. . . 

“Let no man despise thy youth; but be thou an example of the believers, in word, in conversation, in charity, in spirit, in faith, in purity.” –1 Timothy 4:12

. . . 

” Ye are the light of the world. A city that is set on an hill cannot be hid. Neither do men light a candle, and put it under a bushel, but on a candlestick; and it giveth light unto all that are in the house. Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father which is in heaven.” –Matthew 5:14-16

. . . 

” …being examples to the flock.” -1 Peter 5:3

 

Leading beside you, 

Olivia Fortner

A Note: & The Blog Turns 2

This blog has been around for two years now. 

So, here’s a quick note since it’s the 2nd Birthday of this space. 

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“If I ever do get to be a fine writer, it will not be because I am a fine writer but because God has given me credit for a few of the things He kindly wrote for me.” -Flannery O’Conner

 

There have been times filled with words and inspiring writing and there have been days where my brain felt stuck and I couldn’t write a thing. But still, I put my fingers to the keys and type away. Sometimes the things I write are terrible; sometimes they actually sound ok. I know I’m not a fine writer, as Flannery described, but I do know that what I write can affect people. I’m not writing just for the sake of doing it. I want to take this ability God has given and use it for His glory.

 

I think that’s what we all should be doing. Using the things we’re given to bring God praise. Multiplying our talents (Matthew 25). Growing the Kingdom. Making disciples

 

Whatever comes, we should take the spark inside and spread the fire to the people around us. We often talk about catching the world on fire or changing the world, but we need to spread the Holy Ghost fire to the people nearest to us. We need to change ourselves before we can ever think about changing the world. Start small. Keep building. The small things will add up. One day, every brick and every little bit of mortar we’ve laid will be a beautiful piece in the story God is writing us all into. 

 

Go eat some cake,

Olivia Fortner

 

Photo cred: http://avetisiperoz.ro/5-feluri-de-a-impacheta-cadourile-mai-altfel/

Do you love me?

Jesus spoke these words three times, to Peter.

“Lovest thou me? And he said unto him, Lord, thou knowest all things; thou knowest that I love thee. Jesus saith unto him, Feed my sheep. -John 21:17 KJV

 

“I don’t want to hear God say, ‘You cared more about following people than me. You were supposed to feed the others, not follow them’.” -Hannah Brencher-

 

“Bear ye one another’s burdens, and so fulfil the law of Christ.” –Galatians 6:2 

 

I am not here to follow people. I am here to serve people; to feed them the Gospel of Jesus Christ. I am here to bear the burdens of those around me. I am here to be here. To be present. To be where my feet are. To show up when people need me. To turn off the screens and look people in the eye when they speak to me. To let them know I’m listening. I’m here to show people that they are more important than whatever is happening on the other end of the screen. Because they are here. This is now. And we’ll never have this time again. “Today is not rehearsal. This is your life.” -Dale Partridge- FullSizeRender (1)

This is our life. It’s time to really start living. We don’t get a redo and being present is our calling. 

 

Jesus is calling us to feed His sheep.  

He wants us to be doers like He was. He wants us to meet with people. Go over for dinner even when people think we’re crazy for being that person’s friend. Remember the story of Zacchaeus (Luke 19)? Cry with people and laugh with them too. And whether one member suffer, all the members suffer with it; or one member be honoured, all the members rejoice with it.” –1 Corinthians 12:26-

 

 

It takes more than showing up.

And let us consider one another to provoke unto love and to good works:” Hebrews 10:24

Wow. Provoke? Every time I think of that word, I think of someone making me extremely angry on purpose. Consider others and provoke them to love. Provoke them. Push them to the point of love, on purpose. Intentionally make them want to do good things. 

 

“Not forsaking the assembling of ourselves together, as the manner of some is; but exhorting one another: and so much the more, as ye see the day approaching.” -Hebrews 10:25. We’ve got to band together with the people who can teach us and with people willing to be taught by us. The Bible says exhort each other.  

Synonyms for exhort: 

Call upon

Encourage 

Advise 

Persuade 

Counsel 

Insight

Prompt

Propel

“But exhort one another daily, while it is called To day; lest any of you be hardened through the deceitfulness of sin.” –Hebrews 3:13

 

Juxtapose that and think about the real effects of exhortation. 

We’ve got to show up, but we must do. Action is key. Love. Doing good. Togetherness. Being the catalyst for the person next to us. That is how we feed His sheep. 

 

 

When I read John 21, I imagine it went down kind of like this:

 

    Jesus looks to Simon Peter and says, “Do you love Me more than anything else?

    Peter replies with something I’m sure we’d all say if we were sitting next to Jesus at dinner, “Yes. You know I do.”

    But Jesus doesn’t come back with a typical reply. He says something that kind of seems out of the blue. “Feed my sheep.” 

    Peter goes back to his dinner.

    Again, Jesus asks him, “Do you love Me?”

    This look forms on Peter’s face like, can you hear me? You just asked me that. “Of course I do.” 

    And Jesus throws His same response back at Peter. “Then why aren’t you feeding my sheep?” 

    (Crickets chirping on Peter’s end…)

    Jesus, “Do you love Me?” It’s like a cycle of do you love me, yes, then prove it; but there seems to be no action to prove it.

    Peter pipes in again, “Come on Man, I just told you I love you. You already know everything. You can read my mind.  I do love You!”

    Still, Jesus is sitting there, getting a response in words when He’s looking for a response of action. “Then what are you standing here for?” I imagine Jesus saying. “Feed my sheep.” If I could read Jesus’ mind I’d imagine Him thinking “If you did love me, you wouldn’t be sitting here talking about it. You’d be out there feeding My sheep.” 

 

 

I want to prove my love for my Savior. 

Let’s prove the love we have for Him. He deserves it. Let’s call upon each other for encouragement and advice. Let’s set each other up to do great things; to love and to do good. Let’s propel each other forward by bringing excitement in the Word of God. I want us to be a people who are in love with the things that will keep us in love. Let’s be in love with the Word of God and prayer. They are the things that will keep us. Let’s join together and listen to the preaching from a man sent by God, Himself. Let’s be there for each other and do good things for the people who are here in our lives, right now. Do you love Him? Then where is your proof?

Olivia Fortner

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In-Between — Candor

“In between goals is a thing called life that has to be lived and enjoyed.” (Sid Caesar) Throughout our lives, we will experience in-betweens. I am personally experiencing an in between, and am struggling. I was seeking the Lord on how to approach this, and I felt led to listen to Amanda Cook of Bethel Music, as […]

A great post to read via In-Between — Candor

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Declare Unto Them God

“We must know who God is before we can declare Him to the people” -Olivia Fortner-

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I want us to fall in love with the Bible. It is the living Word of God. The Bible was written for us to get to know God.

 

Hannah Brencher explained it so well when she said, “The Bible is rich and fatty and good for you and still the culture tells us the Bible is like lettuce. It’s not flashy. It’s not proud. But it is the living, breathing Word of God. If you want to hear Him speak, it’s a whole book of Him just talking to you.”

 

I’m going to start pushing to read the Bible more and more, because the Word of God will keep us. Something I love that I’ve always heard my mom say is “Keep reading the Bible, because it will keep you.” It will keep us in the will of God and it will keep us in love with God. Reading the Bible teaches us and opens so many doors of curiosity and learning. It is a way for us to learn God.

 

. . .

 

I’ve been reading the book of Acts lately. Today I read chapter 17. I want talk about that chapter for a bit. You go grab your leather bound Bible and a cup of coffee and let’s start reading. (Here’s a link to the scriptures if you’d like to read here).

 

 

I loved this chapter because Paul’s message is a full statement of God. 

 

 

Paul was waiting on some of his buddies to get in town.

While he was there waiting, I imagine he strolled Athen’s city streets. I can see him watching the people and observing the culture that had seeped into every bit of the city. It wasn’t good culture though. What he saw, was a nation entirely given to worshiping idols. It stirred him so deeply. Verse 16 says, “His spirit was stirred in him.”

He was so stirred that he started talking. He sought to change the city and turn it away from the sin. He spoke with leaders. He talked with those he’d meet in the market place. Every day. He disputed about the idolatry and preached to them Jesus.

Certain people heard of him and wanted to know what he was all about. They brought him to a place called Areopagus and asked him about all he’d been disputing over. So Paul stood in the middle of Mar’s Hill, and guess what he said. He called them of their faults. “I think you’re too superstitious,” Paul said. He told them how he’d watched and saw the center of their worship. He spoke of how he’d found an alter with the words “TO THE UNKNOWN GOD” written on it. 

Paul saw that they worshiped a God without knowing or comprehending Him. “Ignorance,” he said. “You don’t know God, but I do… so I will declare Him unto you. 

|Definition of declare :  to make known formally, officially, or explicitly  :  to make clear to make evident  :  to state emphatically :  affirm (From Merriam-Webster’s Dictionary)|

 

 

I will declare Him unto you.

And there he goes, Standing in the midst of Mar’s Hill, in Athens Greece. 

 

“That God that you mark as unknown, I’ll tell ya about Him.”

 

And Paul so beautifully exclaims to them God. 

Then he tells them of the the resurrection and how Jesus is coming back for us. 

Some mock him. Some wonder. But some believe and grow hungry for the truth of God. 

. . .

I want my spirit to be stirred when I see all that is around me. 

When I see my nation wholly giving itself to idolatry, cruel violence, lust and adultery, vanity… and the list could go on, I want my spirit to be stirred. Why do I look at the sin and let it fall into the back of my mind as if it’s nothing to worry about? Why am I not stirred deep down? 

I want to tell people about Jesus. I want to let them know that He is alive and coming back for us. I want them to know God loves us. I want you to know that Jesus loves us. He’s here and wants us to get to know Him. I want to declare God like Paul did in Acts 17:24-31. I want people to believe and grow hungry for the truth of God like they did when they heard Paul’s declaration.

But how can I declare who God is if I don’t know Him myself? I must get to know God. I must cultivate a relationship with Him every single day. That is why I’m starting on scripture. Scripture and prayer.  Read Paul’s declaration of God to the people who don’t know Him, in Acts chapter 17. Print it out. Plaster it on the walls. Know who God is and declare Him to the people. Declare for yourself, the truth of who God is. 

 

Olivia Fortner

|ACTS 17:16-34|

(This post is scripture and goes with another post titled “Declare Unto Them God”)

 

16) Now while Paul waited for them at Athens, 

his spirit was stirred in him,

when he saw the city

wholly given to idolatry.

17) Therefore disputed he in

the synagogue with the Jews,

and with the devout persons,

and in the market daily

with them that met with him.

18) Then certain philosophers of the Epicureans,

and of the Stoicks, encountered him.

And some said, What will this babbler say?

other some, He seemeth to be

a setter forth of strange gods:

because he preached unto them

Jesus, and the resurrection.

19) And they took him,

and brought him unto Areopagus,

saying, May we know what

this new doctrine, whereof thou speakest, is?

20) For thou bringest certain

strange things to our ears:

we would know therefore

what these things mean.

21) (For all the Athenians and strangers

which were there spent their

time in nothing else,

but either to tell, or to hear

some new thing.)

22) Then Paul stood in the

midst of Mars’ hill,

and said, Ye men of Athens,

I perceive that in all things

ye are too superstitious.

23) For as I passed by, and beheld

your devotions,

I found an altar with this inscription, 

TO THE UNKNOWN GOD.

Whom therefore ye ignorantly worship,

him declare I unto you.

24) God that made the world

and all things therein,

seeing that he is Lord of heaven and earth,

dwelleth not in temples

made with hands;

25) Neither is worshipped

with men’s hands,

as though he needed any thing,

seeing he giveth to all life, and breath, and all things;

26) And hath made of one blood

all nations of men for to dwell on

all the face of the earth,

and hath determined the

times before appointed,

and the bounds of their habitation;

27) That they should seek the Lord,

if haply they might feel after him, and find him,

though he be not far from every one of us:

28) For in him we live, and move,

and have our being; as certain also of

your own poets have said,

For we are also his offspring.

29) Forasmuch then as we are the

offspring of God, we ought not

to think that

the Godhead is like unto

gold, or silver, or stone, graven by

art and man’s device.

30) And the times of this ignorance

God winked at; but now commandeth

all men every where to repent:

31) Because he hath appointed

a day, in the which he will judge

the world in righteousness

by that man whom he hath ordained;

whereof he hath given assurance

unto all men, in that he hath

raised him from the dead.

32) And when they heard of the

resurrection of the dead, some mocked:

and others said, We will hear thee

again of this matter.

33) So Paul departed from among them.

34) Howbeit certain men clave unto him, and believed: 

 

ACTS 17:16-34 King James Version

 

Olivia Fortner

 

Memorial Day: Live worthy of what you’ve been given.

Memorial Day. The day we bring to remembrance and give honor all who have given their own life for ours and for the life of our country. 

 

Greater love hath no man than this, that a man lay down his life for his friends.” John 15:13

 

Without the fight for freedom, surely we’d be under a dictating rule. Without all that they gave, our nation would be no more. But thankfully our states are united and our freedom and rights remain. Oh the miser, pain, and torture they went through to attain such a great thing for us.

Let me tell you, even though courageous men and women sacrificed themselves so we could live, we still have wake up every morning and choose to live a life worth dying for. They thought the lives of their future generations were worth dying for. Let’s not let that be in vain. Soldiers gave their lives because they knew you and I were capable of doing something great– of doing something worthy of what they gave.

 

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Along with those American soldiers we are honoring, there’s someone else who gave their lives so we could live and live freely. The veterans who have fought and died for us gained our physical life and freedom; but nother warrior gave His life for our spiritual life and freedom.

Physical pain and suffering. Having to leave loved ones. Torture and death. Just like the soldiers who died for us, Jesus died for us. “For as in Adam all die, even so in Christ shall all be made alive.” I Corinthians 15:22. 

 

“No man taketh it from me, but I lay it down of myself. I have power to lay it down, and I have power to take it again. This commandment have I received of my Father.” John 10:18

 

Here’s the question I’m asking today. Are you living a life worthy of what you’ve been given? If you feel like you’re living anything less, know that there’s more. There are greater things. Through the death of those before you and the coming to life again of our beautiful Saviour, there are greater things for you and me. There is freedom from all that keeps us from choosing the Higher Call, and it is attainable.

Let’s stand in honor to those who’ve gone before us. Those who’ve redeemee our freedom. Let’s thank them by waking up every morning and choosing life. Over and over again, I will choose life and live worthy of all I’ve been given.

 

Olivia Fortner

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