Tag Archives: listening for God

1 Samuel 26-27; 1 Chronicles 8; Acts 18

Am I the only one who stood in awe with David and Abishai in the circle of Saul’s army? Saul and Abner asleep at the feet, surrounded by soldiers in a protective circle, and David, Abishai (and us!) with an bull’s eye view.

I find it hard to think I could live so boldly. David, who first cuts the hem of Saul’s robe (just last week’s reading), now removes the spear near him and takes Saul’s jug of water.

12 So David took the spear and jug of water that were near Saul’s head. Then he and Abishai got away without anyone seeing them or even waking up, because the Lord had put Saul’s men into a deep sleep. (1 Samuel 26:12, NLT)

David had a history of listening for the Lord and a repeated reliance on His protection and provision. From field to front line, his faith and trust in the Lord grew.

Paul met his share of opposition.

Each Sabbath found Paul at the synagogue, trying to convince the Jews and Greeks alike. And after Silas and Timothy came down from Macedonia, Paul spent all his time preaching the word. He testified to the Jews that Jesus was the Messiah. But when they opposed and insulted him, Paul shook the dust from his clothes and said, “Your blood is upon your own heads—I am innocent. From now on I will go preach to the Gentiles.” (Acts 18:4-6, NLT)

Insults and opposition would only be the start of his mission in ministry, but he is obedient.

Many others in Corinth also heard Paul, became believers, and were baptized.

One night the Lord spoke to Paul in a vision and told him, “Don’t be afraid! Speak out! Don’t be silent! 10 For I am with you, and no one will attack and harm you, for many people in this city belong to me.” 11 So Paul stayed there for the next year and a half, teaching the word of God. (Acts 18:8b-11, NLT)

David used his strength and battle knowledge in his obedience to the Lord–he was a front line witness of God’s faithfulness to the men who served alongside him (and even to a watching enemy army!); Paul used his education and words to serve wherever he was (land, sea, imprisoned or free).

Lord, thank you for these examples of obedience, reverence and another’s eager listening for your voice. Help me to steward the gifts you’ve given me to serve you. Help me to always seek you first for direction, guidance and wisdom. Thank you for the opportunities you’ve used to strengthen my faith and show your faithfulness.

Courtney (66books365)

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Filed under 1 Samuel, 66 Books, Acts, Bible in a year reading plan, Uncategorized

1 Kings 22; 2 Chronicles 18; Matthew 2

“Are you talking to me?” In comedy, the question implies a refusal to engage seriously with the speaker. I can relate. Like King Ahab in the Bible, I don’t always want to hear prophetic words that warn of disaster or deny my prayers. Yet, like Ahab’s contemporary, King Jehoshaphat, I do not want to make bad decisions because I failed to ask the Lord God for direction. Sadly, also like both kings, I may inquire of the Lord, receive an answer, and then choose to do things my way, regardless of the warnings. Why is that? Is it a listening problem?

Listening has several components besides the act of hearing sound. A good listener is one who can wait patiently for the speaker to finish. I have a family member who speaks with long pauses between words or thoughts. Yet what this person says is meaningful and often witty if one listens intently. Rushing ahead of what someone might be saying, finishing their sentences before they speak, interrupting their words with “I know that,” or “I understand what you mean,” can cause frustration for the speaker and cause the listener to misinterpret what the speaker intended to say.

Listening also involves being open to opposing viewpoints. Angry outbursts and verbal bullying are more likely to occur when the listener forms preconceived ideas about the speaker’s intent. When the prophet Micaiah was brought before the kings Ahab and Jehoshaphat, Ahab had this to say about the prophet, “…but I hate him, because he does not prophesy good concerning me, but evil.” That’s how I feel sometimes when I watch the news or listen to talking heads; I just want to turn off the television or radio because I’m tired of hearing the speaker or the message that opposes my point of view. Do you, too, become frustrated with the friend who argues with you on topics which you are passionate and opinionated? I had a conversation recently about the effects of marijuana on drivers of motor vehicles. The speaker was adamant that for those who have smoked for years marijuana enhances driving abilities. Since addiction, hence drug information and research, is the focus of my career, and as the self-appointed expert in the conversation I became offended at such misinformation and felt it was my duty to set this person straight. Listening to the friend was not happening as I climbed upon the proverbial soap box. It was only after jumping off of the box that I heard the speaker’s real intent for defending the driver – relief in the restoration of their relationship that, yes, still has challenges to overcome. I had made the conversation about me, instead of listening to the speaker’s heart.

Another problem with listening is our natural desire to be with the ‘in crowd.’ There were four hundred other prophets who advised with one accord that Ahab and Jehoshaphat should embark on their desire to war, saying that the Lord would bring victory to the kings’ armies. This need to be with the popular crowd may cause the listener to turn a deaf ear to internal or external warnings. Making an unpopular decision based on the urging of the Holy Spirit, a dream, or a word from the Bible may seem odd and unconventional or even foolhardy to many.

However, there were five divine dreams that spoke to the important players in the birth and safety of Jesus Christ. First, Christ’s mother’s betrothed, Joseph, was told to take Mary as his wife because the Child she carried was born of the Holy Spirit. Second, the wise men from the East who found the Messiah shortly after His birth were warned not to return to King Herod who would later kill male children in an attempt to murder the Christ child. Third, Joseph was warned to flee to Egypt until Herod was dead. Fourth, Joseph was told to return to Israel to raise God’s Son. Fifth, after being warned to avoid the area of Christ’s birth, Joseph moved his family to the safety of a city called Nazareth.

Imagine if any one of these five dreams had been denied, ignored, or deliberated by those who heard the messengers. Mary could have been an outcast trying to raise an illegitimate son. Herod could have found and killed Jesus. Joseph might have been responsible for the capture or death of the Son of God. And the prophecies concerning the birth of the Messiah could not have been fulfilled.

Perhaps listening is more than just being polite. By actively listening we may receive the message that saves us from ourselves, from our egos, from impending doom, and therefore receive the blessings that God has reserved for us.

“Are you talking to me, Lord?”

“I am listening.”

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Filed under 1 Chronicles, 2 Chronicles, 66 Books, Bible in a year reading plan, Matthew, New Testament, Old Testament, Uncategorized

Job 40-42; Psalm 150; Revelation 22

I catch my breath in the opening verses.

Then the Lord said to Job,

“Do you still want to argue with the Almighty?
    You are God’s critic, but do you have the answers?”

Job Responds to the Lord

Then Job replied to the Lord,

“I am nothing—how could I ever find the answers?
    I will cover my mouth with my hand.
I have said too much already.
    I have nothing more to say.” Job 40:1-5, NLT

In Job’s trials, he talks to his friends, he talks about God, but in the end of his book he talks to God–and then Job listens. This is a fresh reminder to me to get back to basics. To talk to God and then be still and listen.

Last weekend my husband and I looked back at 2015 and how God has worked in our lives. I admitted God had given me direction, and I didn’t listen. God had the answers; he knew things about this year that I couldn’t know. As I look back in reflection of this time, I see God’s love for me, even when I didn’t follow his leading. He walks with me through the hustle. He is good.

Lots of nudges have been coming my way about prayer. About praising God. About trusting him. About seeking his will, and not my own. About listening.

Psalm 150 is all about praise and it underscores the prompts.

Praise the Lord!

Praise God in his sanctuary;
    praise him in his mighty heaven!
Praise him for his mighty works;
    praise his unequaled greatness!
Praise him with a blast of the ram’s horn;
    praise him with the lyre and harp!
Praise him with the tambourine and dancing;
    praise him with strings and flutes!
Praise him with a clash of cymbals;
    praise him with loud clanging cymbals.
Let everything that breathes sing praises to the Lord!

Praise the Lord! Psalm 150:1-6, NLT

Revelation 22, the words stand out, and I can’t help but remember Greg’s post back in October.

17 The Spirit and the bride say, “Come.” Let anyone who hears this say, “Come.” Let anyone who is thirsty come. Let anyone who desires drink freely from the water of life. Revelation 22:17, NLT.

Lord, your word teaches me so many things and I don’t want to stop learning. Thank you for your word in my hands and in my heart. Thank you for walking with me through difficulties and showing your love for me in the most unexpected ways. I praise you for your sovereignty and power, and I’m grateful for your patience and grace. Forgive me, Lord, that I put my want ahead of your leading. You are so good to redeem this time. Thank you that when I am thirsty, you call me to come and let me drink freely.

Courtney (66books365)

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Filed under 66 Books, Bible in a year reading plan

Esther 4-6; Revelation 2

SCRIPTURE

Nevertheless I have this against you, that you have left your first love. Revelation 2:4

OBSERVATION

John lived in  a cave on the island of Patmos after being exiled for preaching about Jesus. He sees a vision of  Jesus, the Alpha and the Omega, the First and the Last, the Living One. Jesus commands John to write down what he sees and hears and send it to the churches. Ephesus is told to repent and go back to her first love.  Smyrna is encouraged to remain steadfast during persecution. Pergamum is told to repent of compromising with wrong teachings. Thyatira is asked to repent of immorality.  There will be reward for all those who overcome.

APPLICATION

When I first accepted Jesus as my Savior, I had an insatiable thirst to learn everything I could. I read my bible every day and took one bible study after another. I spent every day with believers talking about the things of God. I was so in love with my Lord. I thought the honeymoon would never end. Imperceptibly my ardor began to fade.  I have become an Ephesus girl.

PRAYER

Lord,

Show me first love’s bloom.

The poured out crimson plume.

Your heart like waxen melt.

For the pain of my sins you felt.

Unbelievably, if only for me

You would have gone to the tree.

Love like that was never so great

That would seal my heavenly fate.

May I desire to sit at your feet.

Until at your royal throne we meet.

yicareggie

From the archives. Originally published December 23, 2009.

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Filed under 66 Books, Bible in a year reading plan

Deuteronomy 19-22; Luke 10

Now as they went on their way, Jesus entered a village. And a woman named Martha welcomed her into her house. And she had a sister called Mary, who sat at the Lord’s feet and listened to his teaching. But Martha was distracted with much serving. And she went up to him and said, “Lord, do you not care that my sister has left me to serve alone? Tell her then to help me.” But the Lord answered her, “Martha, Martha, you are anxious and troubled about many things, but one thing is necessary. Mary has chosen the good portion, which will not be taken away from her.” Luke 10:38-42 ESV

I have always thought of myself as Mary in this story. I can picture myself sitting with Jesus for hours. Just as I would be having coffee with a good friend. But, as I read it again, the word ” listen” stands out to me. I think about how I can get so distracted with life. I don’t take time to sit in the silence and listen for God’s voice, instead of all the voices around me. This is when my “problems turn into hills.” My pastor used this phrase at church today and is has stuck with me. He also said something so simple, but profound,  “Hills are big to us, but small to God.” I thought about how this is true in my life. And how I have adopted my hills as part of my life.  Just like Israel had just seen God do the unimaginable, yet they turned to fear.

When you go out to war against your enemies, and see horses and chariots and an army larger than your own, you shall not be afraid of them, for the Lord your God is with you, who brought you up out of the Land of Egypt. And when you draw near to the battle, the priest shall come forward and speak to the people and shall say to them, ‘Hear, O Israel, today you are drawing near for battle against your enemies: let not your heart faint. Do not fear or panic or be in dread of them, for the Lord your God is he who goes with you to fight for you against your enemies, to give you victory.”Deuteronomy 20:1-4ESV

Dear Jesus, Thank you that You go before me. That I have no reason to be afraid because You are with me. Thank you for what You have freed me from. I pray for victory in my life over those things that still hold be in bondage. To You be the glory. Amen.

Amy(amyctanner)

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Filed under Deuteronomy, Luke