Posts Tagged ‘God’s voice’

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

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Direction and Distractions

September 6th, 2016

Once again, I ask for your patience. About 15% of EDL readers had this devotional “returned to sender” through a technical error, which we believe has been corrected. Therefore, I am resending “Direction and Distractions” (from Friday, September 2). Thank you for your patience with our “technical difficulties.”

A dear friend, whose technical expertise I do not possess, has worked diligently to correct this. His contribution at the earliest days of EveryDay Life and his continued help across these nine years of publishing EDL, has been invaluable. Without his help we could not have reached those of you who receive EDL today. I am grateful for his encouragement.

For those receiving “Direction and Distractions” for the first time today, could you do me a favor? Would you simply hit “reply” and I will know that the mailing problem has been resolved. Also, it is possible that you may not have received “Clocks and Calendars” (Wed 8/24) and “Wisdom” (Tue 8/30). At the website, you can read those if you have not received them. Blessings!

Life without purpose and direction is pointless.

“As for God His way is perfect. The Lord’s Word is flawless.” 2 Samuel 22:31 NIV.

My thoughts and comments today are about, “direction and distractions.”

It is easy to lose your way. I remember visiting a family in an unfamiliar neighborhood. As I left their home, I made a wrong turn. Not realizing I was headed the wrong way, I continued to a dead end. I assumed I knew which way to go, but now I was confused. I was wandering in an unfamiliar area of town. I did not know what to do, except to retrace my path and start over. Sometimes, life feels like that too.

You can begin with a sense of purpose and direction, but along the way distractions and disturbances can misdirect you, often without your notice. Things that once seemed more obvious to you become more obscure; answers you once knew yield to disconcerting questions; your projected plans appear less certain or even possible. Going in circles keeps you busy but takes you nowhere. To have meaning, life must have purpose; if your life is aimless, it will be pointless. “Trust in the Lord with all your heart, And lean not on your own understanding; In all your ways acknowledge Him, And He shall direct your paths.” Proverbs 3:5-6 NKJV.

By might and miracles, God delivered Israel from Egypt. Their path was clear; their destination sure. Until somewhere on their way to Canaan, a fruit-filled, bountiful land, they were content going in circles. Along the way, they lost their way. Then God said, “You have been wandering around in this hill country long enough; turn northward.” Deuteronomy 2:3 NLT. It was time for them to stop wandering and proceed forward into God’s purpose for their deliverance from Egypt. When you forget your purpose you lose your sense of direction. Read Romans 8:28 NIV. When you find yourself making no progress, you are wandering. Here’s a few realities I have learned from life.

You can get lost when you aren’t paying attention. Inattention to where you are and which direction you are going can leave you confused, wandering and wondering how you got where you are and how you can know where you should. Jesus frequently warned, “Anyone who is willing to hear should listen and understand.” Mark 4:23 NLT. If you aren’t listening to God every day, listening for His voice in every situation, you are likely to be lost.

You can become lost when you follow bad counsel. “Blessed is the man who does not walk in the counsel of the ungodly . . the counsel of the Lord stands forever, the plans of His heart [are] to all generations.” Psalm 1:1/33:11 NKJV. See Proverbs 12:15 NIV. Be careful who you follow. If your destination is not where they are going, don’t walk where they are walking. If you don’t want to become like them, you shouldn’t be walking with them.

You will get lost when you insist on your own way. “There is a way that seems right to a man, but in the end it leads to death . . but as for God His way is perfect. The Lord’s Word is flawless” Proverbs 16:25 NIV/2 Samuel 22:31 NIV. God’s way is always better than your way. Any individual who thinks otherwise is unwise. Read Isaiah 55:6-11 NKJV. I am grateful for the times God did not give me what I insisted on having, nor allow my continuing the way I was going.

You are never lost whenever you are where God wants you to be. In His will, doing His will is the only place to be. God can and will use you, but only where He directs you.

Today, I pray for you to follow the One who declares, “I am the Way, the Truth, and the Life.”

EDL trust Prov 3.5-6











Christian Communications 2016

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Godly Wisdom

April 8th, 2016

“The Lord [is] wonderful in counsel and magnificent in wisdom.” Isaiah 28:29 NIV.

A volume of knowledge is not as valuable as a portion of wisdom.

My thoughts and comments today are about, “Godly wisdom.”

Life can be complicated, even perplexing. To navigate the myriad of situations and circumstances that will confront you, you need wisdom and discernment. No one of us possesses all the knowledge that life will require. The difference between knowledge and wisdom is significant, but together, wisdom and knowledge produce invaluable understanding. A volume of knowledge is not as valuable as a portion of wisdom. Gain knowledge but store up wisdom. There is one and only One true source of wisdom. James, the apostle, was clear, “If any of you lacks wisdom, he should ask God, who gives generously to all without finding fault, and it will be given to him.” James 1:5 NIV. Why would anyone first look elsewhere? Ask God for His wisdom. I have learned three practical elements of Godly wisdom.

(1) A Word from the Lord. Wisdom begins with God, and is best defined as, “The ability to see your situation from God’s point of view.” Isaiah described God as, “wonderful in counsel and magnificent in wisdom.” Isaiah 28:29 NIV. Pause and reflect on that description of our God, “magnificent in wisdom.” God will always have a word of guidance for you. “In Him we have redemption through His blood, the forgiveness of sins, in accordance with the riches of God’s grace that He lavished on us with all wisdom and understanding.” Ephesians 1:7-8 NIV. When life requires wisdom and direction, turn first to Scripture and prayer. “The Scriptures are able to make you wise . . given by inspiration of God, and is profitable . . that the man of God may be complete, thoroughly equipped for every good work.” 2 Timothy 3:15-17 NKJV.

Look for Godly principles that provide insight and wisdom that applies to your situation. Wisdom is found in personal application of Godly principles. Normally, a Word from the Lord is recognized through your earlier discipline to know and love His voice through a lifestyle of prayer and regular and respectful attention to His Word. The more comfortable you are with the Scriptures, the more readily you will hear and understand God’s voice. But often there are two additional components to receiving and clarifying Godly wisdom.

(2) Objective counsel. Life is not a solo journey; there are times you will need input and wisdom from others. Our inevitable subjectivity benefits from the balance of others to best discern what God is saying. Confidence in another’s counsel rests upon a proven history of relationship and trust. Be discerning. Others can reassure, redirect, clarify, or caution you as a counter balance to the foolishness or fears in your own heart. Godly wisdom is easily recognized when you know what to look for. “The wisdom that comes from heaven is first of all pure; then peace-loving, considerate, submissive, full of mercy and good fruit, impartial and sincere. James 3:17 NIV. Wisdom may come through others but comes from God.

(3) Subjective perspective. I was taught that, “Those who fail to learn from their mistakes are destined to repeat them.” God can and will speak to you. Your perspective is unique in the process of your discovery of Godly wisdom for your present circumstance. Apply yourself to learning from life; be attentive and observant; learn from yours and others’ mistakes.

Today, I pray for you to seek God’s wisdom and discern His will and ways.

EDL wisdom verse graphic

Christian Communications 2016

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The Will of God

March 23rd, 2016

“That you may stand perfect and complete in all the will of God.” Colossians 4:12 NKJV.

Lack of obedience impairs your ability to hear from God.

My thoughts and comments today are about, “the will of God.”

God’s will is not secondary to anything, but primary to everything. “[God] works out everything in conformity with the purpose of His will.” Ephesians 1:11 NIV. Through obedience, God includes you in the accomplishment of His will in His world, as well as His will in your life. In his letter, Paul clarified the supreme priority of God’s will, “We have not stopped praying for you and asking God to fill you with the knowledge of His will through all spiritual wisdom and understanding.” Read Colossians 1:9-13 NIV.

The will of God holds incomparable, personal benefits. Paul continues, describing unsurpassed results when the will of God inhabits your heart and mind: (1) living worthily, (2) pleasing to God, (3) abounding fruitfully, (4) a growing knowledge of God, (5) strengthening in His power, (6) being patient and enduring, (7) rejoicing and grateful, and (8) sharing a Godly inheritance. The Bible describes God’s will in these words – “His good, pleasing and perfect will.” Romans 12:2 NIV.

I have found this to be true, “Your actions speak so loudly that I cannot hear a word you say.” Ralph Waldo Emerson 1802-88. Jesus told a story of a father and two sons. Their father asked each of them to work in his vineyard. One son refused his father, then reconsidered and did as his father asked. The other son readily agreed to do what his father asked of him, but neither started nor completed the task. Read Matthew 21:28-31 NKJV. Jesus asked his listeners, as I ask you, “Which of the two did the will of his father?” The answer should be obvious. Obedience is not what you say you will do; obedience is altogether what you do. You and I are to be defined as, “bond servants of Christ, doing the will of God from the heart.” Read Ephesians 6:5-8 NKJV.

More than once, I remember my Dad asking, “Allen, did you hear me?” He was not doubting my physical ability to hear. He was accurately questioning my willingness and intention to obey. Hearing presupposes obedience. When King Saul disobeyed the specific instructions of God, the prophet Samuel asked him, “Which does the Lord prefer: obedience or offerings and sacrifices? It is better to obey Him than to sacrifice the best . . to Him.” 1 Samuel 15:22 TEV. For obedience, God offers no option, accepts no substitute.

“God listens to the Godly man who does His will . . The man who does the will of God lives forever” John 9:31/1 John 2:17 NIV. Maybe you struggle to know God’s will at times. Maybe you have not recognized God’s voice or have not listened carefully enough. Or maybe you have procrastinated doing what God has spoken previously. Lack of obedience impairs your ability to hear anything further from God. God will not move forward in your life when you have unfinished business with His will.

Today, I pray for you to do “the good, pleasing, and perfect will of God” from your heart.

Christian Communications 2016

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Keep Looking Up

May 1st, 2013




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“I lifted my eyes to Heaven and my understanding returned to me.” Daniel 4:34 NKJV.

Your answers are above, where God rules and wisdom abides.

My thoughts and comments today are to “keep looking up.”

Life can get messy and feel out of control. You can lose your way without knowing where to look for direction. You can despair without seeking encouragement and reassurance. There are times you just won’t know where to turn for help. Sometimes, family and friends try to help but their help doesn’t help. Bewildering times will occasionally impose on your life. Or you may have just lost your confidence or sense of direction briefly.

But there are also moments that are self-imposed, when false concerns of privacy or pride cocoon you from the answers you lack and the help you need. Often, you struggle alone, afraid or unwilling to confide in another. That’s called pride, usually. Pride is a delusion of self-sufficiency. “A man’s pride will bring him low, but the humble in spirit will retain honor.” Proverbs 29:23 NKJV.

Listen to the words of a person who learned the hard way. A powerful but prideful Babylonian king’s words were these: “I, Nebuchadnezzar, lifted my eyes to Heaven, and my understanding returned to me . . and I praised and honored Him who lives forever . . those who walk in pride He is able to put down.” Daniel 4:34/37 NKJV. There is a God in Heaven who understands who you are, knows where you are, and can make sense of all that confuses you. “God resists the proud but gives grace to the humble.” 1 Peter 5:5-7 NKJV. There is grace to be found in the midst of your confusion.

If you look elsewhere for the answers you need, you are looking in the wrong directions. As Nebuchadnezzar learned, wisdom comes from above when one is humble enough to seek for it. See James 1:5 NIV. “The wisdom that comes from Heaven is first of all pure. It is also peace loving, gentle at all times, and willing to yield to others. It is full of mercy and good deeds. It shows no partiality and is always sincere.” James 3:17 NLT. I value a simple, practical definition of wisdom, “Wisdom is the ability to see your situation from God’s perspective.” David expressed the truth of that statement as well. Read Psalm 73:1-17 NIV. God’s counsel is simple; “Keep looking up.” In God’s presence, truth brings clarity.

Typically, it’s natural to look everywhere else before looking where any search for wisdom should begin. For answers, we first look inward for clarity and understanding we do not possess. Failing, we look outward – often indiscriminately – to anyone who ventures an opinion, compounding our confusion. Your answers are above, where God rules and wisdom abides. Look upward!

Read the Bible; the Bible is rich with practical truth, opening the wisdom of Heaven to you. Meditate on Scripture. See Psalm 1:1-3 NIV. Trust the Spirit; He is a personal tutor Jesus described as, “the Spirit of truth [Who] will guide you into all truth.” John 16:13 NIV. Pray and worship; they are critical practices, opening your spirit to know God’s voice. Seek Godly fellowship; share life with people who share and support your faith. Read Hebrews 10:23-25 NKJV. Be true to the truth; it sets you free. Read John 8:32 NIV.

My prayer for you today is that you look to God for wisdom each day in every situation.

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