Journaling to Hear God

Me_Portrait
That’s me in the middle

When I began journaling, almost a year ago now, it was for the purpose of recording God’s Word to me during a stormy period in my life, not to mention that Storm Sandy was also making havoc on the North East Coast.  Out of nothing else to do at that time, I needed a diversion; I needed something creative to do, but I could do little with a broken right wrist in a sling while cooped up inside during one of the Northeast’s worst storms of the century.  Electricity was out for nearly a week.  With little diversion, no electricity, radio or TV, I was fortunate during the storm, however, to have a gas generator that I was able to use sparingly to power a few things, one of which was to keep my smart phone charged. I knew I could not type except with my left index finger, so I used a voice recognition application on my smart phone to record my journal entries.  If you want to read more, read “Into the Storm” under the Be Encouraged category herein.

I began finding that writing in my journal was soul searching and healing.  It sustained me during a difficult period in my life.  It was a way for God to speak to my heart and keep me focused on Him.  It brought clarity to spiritual matters.  It was also a way for me to watch progress over the coming months; it was a way for me to look back at a time in my life, and then fast forward to a time and spiritual place where God had brought me since a time.  Some of the articles I share herein in Inspiration and Hope are a compilation of those journal entries.  Journaling continues to sustain me.  I highly recommend it to everyone who wants to hear God and know God more intimately.

I hope you find Inspiration and Hope as much of a blessing to read as I have found it to write.

Copyright 2013 by Bill Hutzel

Victory through praise

victory thru praiseOften times it is we who hinder God’s solution to our problems through disobedience to God and unbelief.   So what then can we do to release God’s power over our circumstances?   Merlin Carothers is a well know Christian author who has written numerous books on praise.  He shared in his book “Prison to Praise” that he believes that the very act of praise to God releases God’s power to have sway over our circumstances and allows Him to change the circumstances should it be His will.  He believes praise is the highest form of communion with God.  Further, I believe also that when we pray fervently and we submit to God and obey His will, it is the act of obedience and faith in God that permits God to bring victory over our circumstances.

Attitude is everything!  It is up to us to be victorious.  Should I grumble and complain, or should I fail to seek God morning, noontime and evening, it would be easy for me to lose sight of what God has for me and for His victory in my life.  In Psalm 55:17 it says, “Evening, and morning, and at noon, will I pray, and cry aloud: and he shall hear my voice.”  God hears our cries, although we may not think so sometimes.  There are times when I wake up in the morning and I just don’t feel like praying or thanking God.  It is a struggle for me to focus on anything but my daily activities or my circumstances.  God, however, sees my heart and reminds me that He is the one who needs to control my life, every situation and activity that confronts me.  Some would believe that it is the power within us alone to be victorious, but on the contrary, it must be God’s Holy Spirit that works within us to bring victory over our circumstances, our feelings and emotions.  I have tried too many times to go it alone, and have too many times failed.  This is where the power of praise and thanksgiving, and prayer are so important to the victory.

God commands us to always love and obey Him, and always rejoice in and praise Him.  I might also add that the Bible says to “always pray”.   Therefore, we can assume that if we are praying always and giving thanks always to God, then the two are married to each other and it is in combination that the two will see results.  Did you know that the word “always” is mentioned 75 times in the Bible?  Many of those times it is used in the context of obedience or in giving thanks.   In Ephesians 5:20 it says to “always give thanks for everything to God the Father in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ.”  It doesn’t say sometimes, it says always.  But you say, “Why should I thank Him when I am struggling or down and out”?   Simple, God commands it.  It does not say that I should praise Him and thank Him only when I feel like it.  It does not say that I should give thanks only when I am cheerful or happy.  It does not say that I should give thanks only when I am high and lifted up.  It does not say that I should give thanks only when things are going my way.   It says “always give thanks for everything”.  In 1 Thessalonians 5:18 it says, “Rejoice always, pray continually, give thanks in all circumstances; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.”  Merlin Carothers in his book “Prison to Praise” said “Often the prayer of praise is done in sheer teeth-gritting willpower; yet when we persist in it, somehow the power of God is released into us and into the situation.  At first in a trickle perhaps, but later in a growing stream that finally floods us and washes away the old hurts and scars.”   This is our recipe for victory over our circumstances for “if you faithfully obey the voice of the Lord your God, being careful to do all his commandments that I command you today, the Lord your God will set you high above all the nations of the earth.  And all these blessings shall come upon you and overtake you, if you obey the voice of the Lord your God. “ (Deuteronomy 28:1-2).

Copyright 2013 by Bill Hutzel

RELATED VERSES IN THE BIBLE

I Thessalonians 5:16-18  “Rejoice always, pray without ceasing, give thanks in all circumstances; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you”

Ephesians 5:20 “always give thanks for everything to God the Father in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ”

Colossians 4:2  continue steadfastly in prayer, being watchful in it with thanksgiving”

 Philippians 4:6 but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God

 Romans 12:12 “Rejoice in hope, be patient in tribulation, be constant in prayer.”

Ephesians 6:18  “Praying at all times in the Spirit, with all prayer and supplication”

Prayer of David

OnPrayer02God knows us intimately.  He knows our deepest desires and thoughts.  He knows our concerns and fears.  The other day I was reading Psalm 25.  It was timely for me, because I needed to trust in God for something.  Then during Sunday worship service at my church, I felt God speak to my heart.   “Bill, just trust me”, He said.  He said it several times.  It is exactly what I needed to hear at that time.  He was telling me to lean on Him and not to lean on my own understanding.  So often we need God to speak to us, just to let us know He is listening and that He is there for us when we need Him.

In Psalm 25, David prayed “In you, Lord my God, I put my trust”.  (some translations say “I lift up my soul”).  This was an expression of faith without the evidence of hope yet revealed.  David was praying; reaching out to God to rescue him.  God asks us also to step out in faith and ask Him to rescue us from our loneliness and affliction, our troubles, anguish and distress.   Just trust in Him.  Let our hope be in Him alone.

Psalm 25 Of David.

In you, Lord my God,
    I put my trust
.  (some translations say “I lift up my soul”)
I trust in you;

    do not let me be put to shame,
    nor let my enemies triumph over me.
No one who hopes in you
    will ever be put to shame,
but shame will come on those
    who are treacherous without cause.
Show me your ways,
Lord,
    teach me your paths. 

Guide me in your truth and teach me,
    for you are God my Savior,
    and my hope is in you all day long.
Remember, Lord, your great mercy and love,
    for they are from of old.
Do not remember the sins of my youth
    and my rebellious ways;
according to your love remember me,
    for you, Lord, are good.
Good and upright is the
Lord;
    therefore he instructs sinners in his ways.
He guides the humble in what is right
    and teaches them his way.
10 All the ways of the Lord are loving and faithful
    toward those who keep the demands of his covenant.
11 For the sake of your name, Lord,
    forgive my iniquity, though it is great.
12 Who, then, are those who fear the
Lord?
    He will instruct them in the ways they should choose.
13 They will spend their days in prosperity,
    and their descendants will inherit the land.
14 The Lord confides in those who fear him;
    he makes his covenant known to them.
15 Lord, for only he will release my feet from the snare
16 Turn to me and be gracious to me,
    for I am lonely and afflicted.  
17 Relieve the troubles of my heart
    and free me from my anguish.
18 Look on my affliction and my distress
    and take away all my sins.
19 See how numerous are my enemies
    and how fiercely they hate me!
20 Guard my life and rescue me;

    do not let me be put to shame,
    for I take refuge in you.
21 May integrity and uprightness protect me,
    because my hope, Lord, is in you.
22 Deliver Israel, O God,

    from all their troubles!

PRAYER:  Dear Lord, help me to put my trust in You.  Show me Your ways; teach me Your paths.  My hope, Lord, is in You.

Copyright 2013 by Bill Hutzel

Into the Storm

For I am the Lord your God, who stirs up the sea and its waves roar (the Lord of hosts is His name (Isaiah 51:15).

It was the end of October 2012 that Storm Sandy caused much damage to the North East.  It was the second most catastrophic storm in US history, just behind Hurricane Katrina.  However, the storm was not just an atmospheric stIntoTheStormorm but also a personal storm for me.  It was a time that I could have relinquished to despair and blamed God for my misfortune, however, something miraculous happened.

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(By clicking on Read more above, you will link to the posted article in its entirety, and which may be read by any reader that is able to read a PDF format such as with a Kindle device or your laptop.  All you need is a copy of the Adobe Acrobat Reader. Many computers already have it, but you may get it for free from http://www.Adobe.com).

Copyright 2013 by Bill Hutzel

Better is sorrow than laughter

web banner Ecclesiastes

In Ecclesiastes 7:3, it says “Better is sorrow than laughter, For by the sadness of the face the heart becometh better.” (Youngs Literal Translation).  The New American Standard Bible says “Sorrow is better than laughter, For when a face is sad a heart may be happy”.

I don’t believe that Solomon was saying that laughter was bad, for I love to laugh.  Even the Bible says in Proverbs that laughter is good for the soul  – “A cheerful heart is good medicine, but a crushed spirit dries up the bones” (Proverbs 17:22, NIV).  So why did Solomon use the word better to compare sorrow and laughter?  How often did laughter make you think about the meaning of life, or life’s priorities?  Solomon is not condemning happiness, rather I think he is saying, that for a season of sadness it is better than to laugh because it causes a deeper awakening and love of God.  It causes us to search our hearts, to know our thoughts, to know if there be any hurtful way in us.  Why?  For the purpose of leading us in the everlasting way (Psalm 139:23-24).

In Matthew and Psalms, it says that those who suffer and mourn will experience comeliness and joy.  If you mourn, know that you are blessed for “Blessed are those who mourn, for they will be comforted” (Matthew 5:4 NIV), and “those who sow with tears will reap with songs of joy (Psalm 126:5 NIV).

Copyright 2013 by Bill Hutzel

What if prayers for healing are not answered with a “yes”?

The Story of Zac Smith

This is the touching story of Zac Smith who served God for a majority of his life. After being diagnosed with cancer, he was confused and thought he was being punished. Turning to Jesus, his confusion changed to hope and confidence that God had a plan.

[youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eOfb5A-i1oc&w=560&h=315]

Cresting the Wave

CrestingWave“For I am the Lord your God, who stirs up the sea and its waves roar (the Lord of hosts is His name).” – Isaiah 51:15 NAS.

This is the God Almighty, all powerful, the great “I Am” expressed in Isaiah 51:15.   I used to love walking the beach in Bay Head, New Jersey in the early morning when the sun was just coming up in the east.   Listening to the waves roll in and looking for sea glass was a pastime of mine since I was a little boy.  Even when I go to the ocean now in my later years, this is one of my favorite things to do.  I would fill my pockets with different colored sea glass that had been furbished by the sea –frosted blues, aquamarines, pinks, reds, browns, whites, and greens.   Oh, what joy that was!  And then I would spread out all the sea glass on a table when I got home and would sort them by color and fill a jar with them to marvel at.  Does God marvel at you?  Are you recognized by the deeds of your flesh, as pieces of jagged glass, or are you evidence of the Holy Spirit at work in you to crucify your flesh?  Is the evidence of God’s waves – love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control?

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(By clicking on Read more above, you will link to the posted article in its entirety, and which may be read by any reader that is able to read a PDF format such as with a Kindle device or your laptop.  All you need is a copy of the Adobe Acrobat Reader. Many computers already have it, but you may get it for free from www.Adobe.com).

Copyright 2013 by Bill Hutzel

Embracing Conflict and Suffering

EmbracingConflictNone of us likes conflict, but it is part and parcel with life.   With conflict, often there is suffering.  Conflict can be anything from a disagreement with someone to a struggle of the mind, to a spiritual battle. Failed relationships, businesses that crash, spiritual warfare, are just some of the types of conflict that so many of us face and lack the courage to confront or don’t know how to confront.  But it is courage that God commands of us.   But you say “I am afraid”.  Realize that you will always face situations when fear will try to rule your life, and if we do not allow Jesus to get hold of our heart, and if we do not stay focused on Him in the moment, the conflict can have a devastating impact on our lives, not only emotionally, but in all that we perform daily (our jobs, our kids, new relationships, etc.).  God doesn’t want us to be knocked down repeatedly or to wallow in self-pity, or to feel guilt or remorse.  Realize that your conflict is necessary and can be your spiritual road to peace and joy, and a right relationship with God.                         .

Herein we will look at our mindset to have the right attitude towards conflict and suffering in our lives.  We need to learn to regard conflict and suffering as necessary for spiritual growth. “You can either feel sorry for yourself or treat what has happened as a gift. Everything is either an opportunity to grow or an obstacle to keep you from growing. You get to choose.”

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(By clicking on Read more above, you will link to the posted article in its entirety, and which may be read by any reader that is able to read a PDF format such as with a Kindle device or your laptop.  All you need is a copy of the Adobe Acrobat Reader. Many computers already have it, but you may get it for free from www.Adobe.com).

Copyright 2013 by Bill Hutzel

Welcome

Welcome toMe and Aleigh my blog site, a site for sharing inspiration and hope in a world that so desperately needs it.

Why hope?  Because without hope, dreams are not possible. Without hope, the present moment can be unbearable.

Why inspiration?  Because to have hope and understanding, we need to be inspired to believe that all things are possible with God.

My name is Bill Hutzel  The picture you see here is of me holding my daughter.  That was many years ago.  She is all grown up now, but she is still my little girl.  I had been blessed with her after 10-years of hoping and waiting.  More than 27-years ago she was only a dream.  Then one day we got the bad news from the fertility specialists that my wife had a blocked fallopian tube and other complications, so it was doubtful that we might ever have our own children without very aggressive fertility treatments, and as a last resort, in vitro fertilization.  It was shortly thereafter that I attended a healing service and went forward for prayer.   The preacher’s name was Joe Garlington. He prayed over me and then prophesied that I would have my own child, and spoke the following verse to me from Psalm 128:3-4 – “Your wife will be like a fruitful vine within your house; your children will be like olive shoots around your table.  Yes, this will be the blessing for the man who fears the LORD.”   I think I promised Joe that I would name him Joseph.  Sorry Joe, but it was a girl!  We named her Alexandra Leigh (Aleigh for short).