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Listening Is More Than Hearing

November 7th, 2018

Attentive listening prompts obedience  

“Be doers of the word, and not hearers only, deceiving yourself.” James 1:22 NKJV.

My thoughts and comments today are that,

“Listening is more than hearing.”

My Dad expected obedience. With him, obedience was the norm. If I did not respond accordingly, he would kindly ask if I heard him. He rightly assumed that if I heard him, obedience would be my response. My Dad never threatened me with, “Obey me or else.” My success was his highest hopes for my life. His love was generous and steadfast. His expectations were reasonable and clear.

I regret the times my dad needed to ask, “Allen, did you hear me?” Sometimes, it seems I can still hear his voice when I need reminding that obedience is the best way forward. When there was an issue, the problem was never about my ability to hear; it was always about my willingness to obey. My Dad’s expectation was that if I were truly listening to him, I would hear him clearly and correctly, and I would respond obediently. And I would obey him promptly and completely. He was right to expect that, as is God.

Attentive listening and prompt obedience are two things essential and invaluable for your success in life. Here are two practical realities. You must do more than just listen. You have to obey. If you do not do more than listen, you will not understand what God is saying? And if you don’t understand, how can you obey completely? The Bible says, “These blessings shall come on you . . if you will hearken to the voice of the Lord.” Read Deuteronomy 28:1-14 NKJ. Obedience releases unexpected blessings. The New Testament seems to echo, “Be doers of the word, and not hearers only, deceiving yourself.” James 1:22 NKJ.

Why do we entertain so many voices, as well as our own inner voice of ideas and opinions? Why would you and I allow meaningless noise to drown out the gentle and essential voice of the Holy Spirit? Why would we listen to voices which deceive, mislead, or distract?

When God spoke to the young Samuel, his response was simple and honest, “Speak, Lord, Your servant is listening.” 1 Samuel 3:10. Samuel placed himself in the posture of a servant prepared to obey whatever God said. Should we do anything other than that? Samuel’s attention and recognition of God’s voice implies that he was listening in order to obey whatever God said. And God had a lot to tell him because the young Samuel was willing to listen when others did not.

You would like to know your future, but you cannot apart from God. Life is lived one day at a time. Ever wonder what God is longing to tell you about what lies ahead? Would you breathe easier today, and worry less about tomorrow, if you knew that God has everything under His control?

When you listen with a predisposition to obey, you will hear the truth-telling whisper of the Spirit in your heart assuring you that, “The Lord goes before you and will be with you . . do not be afraid.” Read Joshua 1:7-9 NIV. Live with a heart to know and obey God; doing so allows you to live with blessed assurance and complete confidence.

My prayer for you today is that you will live confidently and obediently.

Christian Communications 2018

Website and archives: allenrandolph.com

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To Give Is To Grow

March 18th, 2016

Whenever you have the opportunity, you should do good to everyone.”  Galatians 6:11.

 Helping others benefits you and blesses them.  

My thoughts and comments today are that, “to give is to grow.”

Everyone has a selfish moment when you think, “Why should I help?” Here are some answers to help when you feel like just taking care of yourself. Helping others makes life easier, every task lighter, and any heart happier.

First in importance, God says to do so. The Bible is explicit. “Whenever you have the opportunity, you should do good to everyone, especially to your Christian brothers and sisters.” Galatians 6:11. “Do not withhold good from those to whom it is due, when it is in the power of your hand to do so. Proverbs 3:27 NKJV.

God has given you what someone else needs. “Be generous with the different things that God gave you, passing them around so all can get in on it.” Read 1 Peter 4:8-11 MSG. As was said of the turtle on top of a fence post, “He didn’t get there without a little help from somebody.” Wherever you are and whatever you achieve, you received a little help from someone. Jesus said, “Freely you have received, freely also give.” Matthew 10:8 NKJV.

 You will be blessed in the giving. So don’t hesitate. “So don’t get tired of doing what is good. Don’t get discouraged and give up, for you will reap a harvest of blessing at the appropriate time.” Galatians 6:9. Never discount the value of God’s blessing. His blessing multiplies your success and compounds your enjoyment of that.

You will accomplish more with God’s blessing than without. Apart from God, success may come with a measure of regret. “The blessing of the Lord makes a person rich, and adds no sorrow with it.” Proverbs 10:22. Not everything that looks like a blessing is, if you can’t find God there.

You will feel better about yourself. That is not as small a thing as it might first appear. There is enough about life and our common frailty that doesn’t always leave you feeling good about yourself. There is great benefit from seizing every opportunity to do good for others, releasing an inner sense of self-satisfaction and well-being.

Obedience is its own reward. Growth is the goal. When you lend a helping hand, everyone grows a little, and you will grow a lot. Helping others benefits you and blesses them.

Today, I pray for you to learn that you grow only when you help others to grow.

Christian Communications 2016 10107

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EDL giving - Anne Frank

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Spiritual Practices

October 9th, 2015

“The Father has blessed us . . with every spiritual blessing in Christ.” Ephesians 1:3 NIV.

Essential spiritual practices necessitate leisure and solitude.

My thoughts and comments today are about “spiritual practices.”

Days can be busy and noisy, leaving you over-stimulated and weary. Everything seems rushed and everyone hurried. All too often, the urgent displaces the important. The pace of our lives and the noise of our surroundings diminish things vital to our well-being. More tragically, you can lose something of yourself somewhere in the noise and busyness. Unrelenting activity produces a confused identity. A conviction of spiritual identity provides: certainty about purpose, clarity of direction, and sufficiency of your God-given gifts and abilities. So much depends upon a true sense of your God-given identity.

Essential spiritual practices necessitate leisure and solitude. We are so much like the disciples – often busy and tired. Jesus invited His disciples, “Come with Me by yourselves to a quiet place and get some rest.” Mark 6:31 NIV. Time alone with God is where you rediscover your identity in Christ. “Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us in the heavenly realms with every spiritual blessing in Christ.” Ephesians 1:3 NIV. In his epistles, Paul wrote prolifically about your life, “in Christ.” Read Ephesians 2:6-7 NIV.

Let me suggest Biblical disciplines that strengthen your spiritual identity. Begin with this. Practice Sabbath rest. The Sabbath principle incorporates the whole of one’s life before the Lord. All other spiritual disciplines begin and extend from a heart that practices the principle of Sabbath. More than a day set aside from usual and necessary activity, Sabbath is a deliberate time – without worry or hurry – to reorient your body, soul, and spirit with the Biblical practices that encourage and celebrate your faith. In Jesus, true Sabbath is found. Matthew 11:28-30 NIV.

Prioritize quiet and solitude. Practice to be quiet and content in God’s presence. “I have stilled and quieted my soul like a weaned child with his mother.” Psalm 131:1-2 NIV. Prioritize time in God’s Word. Psalm 1:1-3 NIV. Regular attention to the reading and meditation of Scripture is critically important. “Let the Word of Christ dwell in you richly in all wisdom.” Colossians 3:16-17 NKJV. Prioritize prayer with thanksgiving. Communicating your heart and gratitude to God results in communion with God. “In everything, by prayer and thanksgiving, present your requests to God.” Philippians 4:6-7 NIV.

Prioritize Praise and Worship. Grow comfortable expressing your heart in joyful adoration. Psalm 100 NIV. Prioritize edifying Fellowship. You were made for community. Acts 2:46-47 NKJV. That is where you grow and serve best. “Let us not neglect our meeting together . . but encourage and warn one another.” Hebrews 10:24-25 NLT. Spiritual practices develop a life that abides in Christ, trusts His finished work on the cross, and celebrates your identity in Christ.

Today, I pray for you that your identity is rooted and built up in Christ Jesus.

Christian Communications

Bible

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An Inviolable Law

October 1st, 2014

“Help carry one another’s burdens . . you will obey the law of Christ.” Galatians 6:2 NLT.

Changing the focus from yourself to others can change your life.

My thoughts and comments today are about “an inviolable law.”

The posted speed limit is not a suggestion for drivers; it’s a protection. The Federal income tax is not a recommended contribution; it’s a requirement. Gravity is not an optional reality; it is a law of nature, just as aerodynamics governs flight. You ignore those to your own loss and harm. Similarly, there are inviolable laws in the Kingdom of God.

The Ten Commandments are not ten suggestions; God established the Law, inviolable and eternal. When God said, “the tithe belonged to the Lord,” He did not request your benevolence; it’s a law that releases the inviolable principle of sowing and reaping. Malachi 3:8-12/2 Corinthians 9:6-8 NIV. Jesus said, “A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another, as I have loved you.” John 13:34. He was not requesting your best effort; love is the law of life and relationships within the Kingdom of God. Your obedience to the Laws of God is where God releases His blessings.

We live on a few acres of Texas Mesquite, with three dogs, cows, horses, and miniature donkeys – all within perimeter fences and plenty of room. Within the safety of those fences, they have freedom to enjoy and explore. On our property they are safe, fed, and protected. Beyond those fences, they could be harmed or become a hazard to others. Only bad things will happen to them outside those fences.

Freedom to do whatever you choose is not all that your heart tells you it would be. Liberty without law becomes license, not liberty. Galatians 5:13-14 NLT. God’s laws mark boundaries that are safe and beneficial. His law is not to confine and limit you; His law is to train and direct your will. God’s law protects you from straying beyond the bounds of what would be best for you and others. Paul instructed young Timothy, “We know these laws are good when they are used as God intended.” 1 Timothy 1:8 NLT.

As Joshua prepared to enter Canaan, the land of promise and plenty, God directed him to the Law and its promised blessings, “Do not turn from it to the right hand or to the left that you may prosper wherever you go. This book of the Law . . you shall meditate in it day and night that you may observe to do according to all that is written in it. For then you will make your way prosperous, and then you will have good success . . for the Lord your God is with you wherever you go.” See Joshua 1:7-9.

“Help carry one another’s burdens and in this way you will obey the law of Christ.” Galatians 6:2 NLT. That is much more than the nice thing to do; it is the right thing to do. Love, practical and observable, obeys, “the law of Christ.” If you want life to be blessed and rich with fulfillment and happiness, watch for chances to serve others, sharing their troubles and cares even when you have problems of your own.

When you lift others’ burdens, making their way a little lighter, God will lift yours. Changing the focus from yourself to others can change your life. “And God turned the captivity of Job when he prayed for his friends.” Job 42:10. My friend, Harold, said it this way, “What you make happen for others; God will make happen for you.” I have found that true in my life. From your generosity and kindness toward others, you enjoy the greater benefit. “The law of Christ” is an inviolable law. Obey it and you will succeed and prosper. “Oh, how I love Your Law.” See Psalm 119:97-106 NIV.

Today, my prayer for you is that you learn to love God’s Law and respect all laws.

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Repairing and Restoring

June 20th, 2014

“You shall be the ‘Repairer of the Breach, Restorer of Streets to Dwell In.’” Isaiah 58:12 NKJV.

Once broken, few things are as difficult to repair or replace as trust.

My thoughts and comments today are about, “repairing and restoring.”

Broken. What image comes to mind? Discarding something that doesn’t matter and won’t be missed? Or holding something broken but now irreplaceable? Everyone has experienced something being broken. Sometimes, that may be trust, or hearts, or friendships. Sometimes, you may be responsible, or it may have been someone else. Remember this: many things can often be fixed, or easily replaced. People, not so easily.

Friendships and family relationships are the most priceless and irreplaceable things that you are ever privileged to have and hold. The longer you have had them, the more irreplaceable they become. Hold them carefully with the fondness and regard they deserve. Once broken, few things are as difficult to repair or replace as trust. When harsh words, thoughtless actions, improper conduct or just unintended neglect breach the trust level in a relationship, there comes a growing distance between hearts that is often felt even before it is known. Brokenness must be repaired and trust restored promptly and fully. Read Ephesians 4:1-6 NIV/Psalm 133:1-3 NIV.

Move wisely, but quickly, to bridge relational separation. Doing so both minimizes the damage and demonstrates the value you place on the individual and relationship. No one promises it would be easy. “It’s harder to make amends with an offended friend than to capture a fortified city. Arguments separate friends like a gate locked with iron bars. Words satisfy the soul as food satisfies the stomach; the right words on a person’s lips bring satisfaction.” Proverbs 18:19-20 NLT. Delay gives unhealthy, even unholy, opportunity for imagination to misinterpret and magnify offences.

David felt the traumatic pain of a friend’s disloyalty. “It is not an enemy who taunts me – I could bear that. It is not my foes who so arrogantly insult me – I could have hidden from them.  Instead, it is you – my equal, my companion and close friend.  What good fellowship we enjoyed as we walked together to the house of God.” Psalm 55:12-14 NLT. Misunderstandings occur between the best of people, but the person and relationship are always more important than your hurt feelings or disappointment.

You are called to live in communion with God and in unity with one another. Communion suffers where unity is lacking. “Live in harmony with each other. Never pay back evil for evil to anyone. Do things in such a way that everyone can see you are honorable. Do your part to live in peace with everyone, as much as possible.” Romans 12:15-18 NLT. You cannot control what others choose, but you are responsible for what you choose to do, either initially or in reaction to another person.

When you break another’s trust, apologize quickly and ask forgiveness sincerely. When your trust has been broken, forgive unilaterally and immediately, asking God for His sufficient grace. Remember all you have been forgiven. ”Those from among you shall build the old waste places; you shall be called the ‘Repairer of the Breach, The Restorer of Streets to Dwell In.’” Isaiah 58:12 NKJV. There are blessings if you do and consequences when you don’t. And what will the Lord do for you, when you repair and restore? “’For I will restore you to health and I will heal you of your wounds,’ declares the Lord.” Jeremiah 30:17 NAS.

Today, my prayer for you is to be first to offer forgiveness and the last to inflict harm.

A personal note: today’s devotional thoughts mark a milestone for EDL of 1,100 devotionals in the archives available at the website for you at – www.allenrandolph.com.

They cover a wide spectrum of helpful Bible verses and practical topics for you to browse at your leisure, consult for personal study, share with a friend, neighbor, or co-worker, or use as a resource for leading a Bible Study. Gayle and I thank each of you for your appreciation and partnership in the ministry of EveryDay Life . . Blessings!

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