Listening To/For God
The LORD came, stood there, and called as before, "Samuel, Samuel!" Samuel responded, "Speak, for Your servant is listening." 1 Samuel 3:10, HCSB
Sometimes as a husband I am accused of "seeming to pay attention" as my wife speaks to me but, not really listening to anything being said. Though I do not concur with that assessment (LOL), there is a lesson learned from that illustration we need to learn.
In order to really listen, the husband who is guilty of such action, must focus his attention on what his wife is saying. Sometimes, this simple act requires a great deal of effort to accomplish.
In the scripture above, Samuel could not remotely imagine that one night God was calling him. Samuel thought it was Eli the priest who called his name since the voice was so personal. Eli helped young Samuel understand God was speaking. We need to understand that God IS speaking to us these days as well! Just as intimately as the personal call on young Samuel. I pray we will hear Him!
Samuel took Eli’s advice and promptly answered God correctly. There is a LOT in that statement. Samuel LISTENED to the sagely advice being afforded him. We need to be open to the counsel of God's people (and even those that might not be walking as they should currently) as they remind us that God IS talking and we should listen to Him/for Him.
Some of us may have never heard the voice of God in such a personal manner. Although we may never hear Him audibly, we must develop an attitude of careful listening if we are to hear God calling our name speaking to us. We must learn to focus all of our attention on God. Then, in the stillness of our souls, we will recognize His voice. At times, we must be willing to seek guidance from our spiritual leaders in order for this personal encounter to take place.
My prayer this day (as I prepare to head out for worship with my church family) is this -- Father, focus my attention so I can listen to You. Perhaps I will add---Father, touch my heart so I WILL listen to You!
It’s All Good!
Philippians 4: 4 reads, “Rejoice in the Lord always. I will say it again: Rejoice.” Not a bad verse to reflect upon at the beginning of each day! There is reason for believers to REJOICE regardless of the circumstances that prevail in our lives. We have REASON to rejoice in and through Christ Jesus, and – under His light, it is INDEED, “all good!”
When I recall these words, I am always reminded of the verses before it where Paul urges people in the church to help some women that are not living in harmony. He admonishes the church members to “help these women” see the error of their ways and live/work/serve in harmony. THEN he says, REJOICE in the LORD always. There is an imperative in his words!
There’s a familiar hymn we sing, "Count Your Blessings.” In part, it reads:
When upon life's billows you are tempest tossed,
When you are discouraged, thinking all is lost,
Count your many blessings, name them one by one,
And it will surprise you what the Lord hath done.
There's wisdom for all of us in that old hymn! Sometimes life becomes so hectic. Trials and troubles push their way into our lives and we become overwhelmed with the “stuff of life.” Our focus becomes the circumstance and not the God who has promised to walk with us and sustain us in and through EVERY circumstance. When we focus on our problems, we lose sight of the good things in our lives. We “miss” God’s hand at work in the midst of our circumstance.
It is as though we are under a gigantic cloud that blocks out the sun. We get irritable, depressed, and worst of all, we lose all perspective. At times like this, we need to MAKE time to “count our blessings,” review all the reasons God has given us for rejoicing.
For me, I have discovered I start playing my “poor, pitiful me” collection at times when I should NOT be discouraged at all – right after a “spiritual high.” That’s why my life needs the spiritual constant of time alone with God DAILY!
If you are under the cloud today and about ready to pull out your “poor, pitiful me” collection, instead make the deliberate choice to COUNT your blessings! It WILL surprise (astonish, amaze, astound, blow you away) what the LORD has done! Try not to grumble and complain. Count your blessings instead. Below is a list to get you started – just reflect upon these truths and allow them to spark other reasons to praise Him this day:
God has indeed blessed us! It IS ALL good, because Jesus IS LORD!
The Living Hope Of Christ
“Praise the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ. According to His great mercy, He has given us a new birth into a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead.” 1 Peter 1:3, HCSB
Seems as if there has been disaster after disaster that hits the news these days. In those news accounts, you often hear interviews of individuals who simply refuse to give up the hope of finding their loved ones alive. Praise the Lord there have often been times when days, weeks, and even a month or so after what seemed a hopeless situation, there have been victims discovered alive.
After the Haitian earthquakes, there were interviews of people refusing to give up hope of finding loved ones alive. The reporters run off to the next disaster/crisis and often times fail to follow up on those type stories. I have sometimes wondered if those interviewed were ever united with family members that were lost during the disaster. When I see the plight of the people in the midst of crisis, my heart often aches for them. Due to my health, I was unable to respond to the Haitian crisis, but we sent several teams. My heart continues to ache for the tremendous need of the people there. Truthfully, many were in a hopeless situation prior to the earthquake, but God has used this disaster to bring into the lives of many people the hope of Jesus Christ! In the midst of every crisis, I encourage you to pray that God will use their circumstance and the teams of people that respond to their needs to find the living hope of that only Christ can provide.
The 21st Century affords nothing new for the plight of humankind. Peter’s world would best be described as hopeless. He was writing to believers that were facing dangerous situations—even death. Peter encouraged persecuted Christians to be faithful and to focus on hope in God. Peter reminded believers their real hope, their living hope, was possible because of the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ. That truth is the truth that needs to be proclaimed loud and clear today as well.
In recent years, I have experienced some difficult health issues. The doctor has said in a couple of instances that in a matter of a few hours I would have been dead if I had not made it to the hospital. I was amazed at the peace I experienced the first time the doctor made that statement to me as I laid in the hospital bed. What assurance we have in life – and in death, as we trust in the One who gave us all for this life and all eternity.
Even today, as I picked up my prescriptions from Wal Mart, I was afforded the opportunity to share the hope of Christ with 3 people. Two were familiar with my health issues. One, through the years, has talked more and more openly with me about her relationship with the Lord. The second does not have a relationship with Christ, and I remind him each time I leave him I am praying for him and stand ready to share more when he is ready. Our conversation turned to readiness to face death if it were to come today or on a mission trip in the third world country.
In Christ, we can face EVERYTHING differently! The hope available to all of us is based on Jesus Christ who has power over death itself. Choose the living hope of Christ. Live in the strength that brings in the circumstances of your life and share His hope with the people God brings into your life daily.
Associational Missions Strategist at Tar River Baptist Association since November, 2000. Called of God to work with member churches to strengthen the local church in its efforts to impact lostness in THIS generation! I will ATTEMPT to add to this blog almost daily. People are free to use the ideas shared in any way they wish. The purpose of the posts are merely to help us in our search to BE the people God is calling us to BE in Him!