Archive

Posts Tagged ‘Samuel’

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

facebook.com/everydaylife.allenrandolph

Devotionals , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

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 www.facebook.com/everydaylife.allenrandolph

EDL hear the Word

Devotionals , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Integrity and Potential

December 1st, 2015

“David walked in integrity of heart and in uprightness.” 1 Kings 9:4 NKJV.

God evaluates a person by their potential.

My thoughts and comments today are about “integrity and potential.”

Contrary to common belief, “What you see is not always what you get.” Our culture is content with style more than substance. People are too easily impressed with much that is superficial rather than substantial. First impressions are usually formed on outward appearance, without the bother of looking further. Buyers are enticed with more that is promised than delivered. Exaggeration seems the rule. Fad and fashion take precedence over utility and durability. The hype of advertising typically exceeds the real worth or quality of the product advertised.

That must never be true of your spiritual life. Be advised; do not demand of others more than you require of yourself. Integrity seems increasingly scarce. Integrity is defined as: “adherence to moral principles, unimpaired, soundness, honesty, unity, wholeness.” In mathematics, an “integer” describes a whole number as distinguished from a fractional number. Integrity is neither defined nor achieved in a single moment or by sporadic conduct; integrity is the sum of one’s Godly aspirations to all that is right before God, alongside uncompromised allegiance to God’s will and faithful adherence to God’s Word.

As I read the Bible, I am intrigued by the concept of integrity, a critical subject about which the Bible has a lot to say. See Proverbs 10:9/Psalm 41:12 NKJV/ Proverbs 11:3/ Psalm 25:21 NIV. Ever wondered how and why God chooses people He anoints and uses extraordinarily? God values character above natural abilities. Our God is purposeful, never whimsical. He is consistent with His own eternal principles, working by design not coincidence.

When God chose David, the youngest of seven sons from the Bethlehem hillsides, His instruction to Samuel was, “Do not consider his appearance or his height . . the Lord does not look at the things man looks at. Man looks at the outward appearance, but the Lord looks at the heart.” 1 Sam 16:7 NIV. Jesse and Samuel, David’s father and a prophet there to anoint a new King, did not see in David what God saw in him. They saw what they could see; God saw what only He could know – the Godly potential in, “a heart after God.” Read Acts 13:22-23 NKJV.

“David walked in integrity of heart and in uprightness.” 1 Kings 9:4 NKJV. That is encouraging to those of us who seem less obvious choices, less naturally gifted, with limited natural abilities. God evaluates a person by their potential. Potential never exceeds integrity. God sees possibilities others assume improbable. The Almighty God has everything you lack and will supply everything you need, if you possess a heart that delights in God above all.

Today, I pray for you that your passion for God flows from a heart do all His will.

To be continued . .

EDL Integrity - printers inkChristian Communications

Devotionals , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Stress and Stillness

July 15th, 2014

“Stand still and consider the wondrous works of God.” Job 37:14 NKJV.

The pace of schedules and noise of surroundings generate stress.

My thoughts and comments today are about “stress and stillness.”

Stress is your body’s reaction to challenges, the impulse of “fight or flight.” Hurry, worry and weariness will leave you vulnerable to stress. Its negative and debilitating effects are cumulative, diminishing your joy and optimism and even damaging health. Stress can result from concerns about health, relationships, pressures, finances, past mistakes, or future fears.

In daily life, stress is heightened by the frantic pace of our schedules and the deafening noise of our surroundings. Prolonged, those are wearying to body, soul, and spirit. The effects manifest interpersonally in relationships, marriages, or families, as well as intrapersonally, affecting yourself mentally, emotionally, physically, and most importantly, spiritually. Your spiritual life and personal relationship with God is diminished and less satisfying.

Isaiah discovered, “Those who wait for the Lord will gain new strength . . they will run and not get tired; they will walk and not became weary.” Read Isaiah 40:28-31 NAS. There is so much that you miss when you fail to take the necessary time to be quiet before God. Job, in the midst of the whirlwind of experiences and the confusion he felt, received wise counsel, “Stand still and consider the wondrous works of God.” Job 37:14 NKJV. Life makes better sense when you place God at the center of it all.

There are two concerns that I have. First, the pace of your schedule compromises the priority of God’s voice. See Exodus 3:1-10 NKJV. You will not hear the voice of God in your heart without quieting your spirit to wait and listen. Secondly, the noise of your surroundings competes with the clarity of God’s voice. See 1 Samuel 3:1-11 NKJV. Any time but especially when life is unclear and uncertain, spend time with God’s Word, quietly in His presence.

The Psalmist David was deliberate, I have stilled and quieted myself, just as a small child is quiet with its mother. Yes, like a small child is my soul within me.” Psalm 131:2 NLT. At all times, you need to learn this truth, “Be still and know that I am God.” Read Psalm 46. Be intentional; it is important.

Some years ago, a book, Restoring Your Spiritual Passion (Gordon MacDonald, author) influenced my spiritual disciplines. MacDonald named three things essential to recovering passion when experiencing lost purpose, clouded vision, or confused direction: an address book with the names of “special friends who encourage you to obey God,” a map indicating the location of “safe places where you rediscover who God is,” and a calendar marking “still times when you hear what God says.” Respectively, each corresponds to three vital, Biblical principles of Fellowship, Sanctuary, and Sabbath.

For your personal study, I suggest consideration of events in the lives of Elijah, Jehoshaphat, and Moses. (1) “Be still when you need to hear a word from God.” Read 1 Kings 19:7-16 KJV. (2) “Be still when you need to know the plans of God.” Read 2 Chronicles 20:10-22 NKJV. (3) “Be still when you need to see the power of God.” Exodus 14:10-16/30-31 NKJV.

Today, my prayer for you is to truly know God in a deep and personal way.

Devotionals , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Image and Identity

May 21st, 2014

“The Lord does not see as man sees . . but the Lord looks at the heart.” 1 Samuel 16:7 NKJV.

Integrity is more important than image.

My thoughts and comments today are about “image and identity.”

Appearances can be deceiving; not everything, nor everyone, will be as they always appear to be. It is said that any person is an amalgam of three identities: “the one others think you to be, the one you believe yourself to be, and the one God knows you to be.” Obviously, the latter is the most accurate and important. Establish your identity in Christ and the Word of God, independent of the opinions of others. Appearances are superficial, only the public face by which you reveal only what you intend to reveal. Inevitably, judgments of one another are largely made by appearances.

You will have expectations of others, as they will of you. Though first impressions are important, we are told, “You can’t judge a book by its cover.” Sad but true, the graphic design and marketing of a book can be as important to its sales and success as is its content. Similarly, sometimes a person may be more than they appear, sometimes less. Occasionally, you may be disappointed at apparent inconsistencies in yourself or others. Reality does not always correspond with the image another projects or the impressions you form. Jesus said, ”Stop judging by mere appearances, and make a right judgment.” John 7:24 NIV.

That’s why it is important to value integrity, yours and others’ – being the same, at all times in all situations. The prophet Samuel was sent to Bethlehem to anoint a new king from the family of Jesse.  Read 1 Samuel 16:1-13 NKJV. Samuel examined the eldest to the younger – except one was missing, the youngest, David, who was busily tending his father’s sheep. As Samuel surveyed the choices and presumed to anoint the eldest son, Eliab, God spoke, “Do not look at his appearance or at his physical stature, because I have refused him. For the Lord does not see as man sees; for man looks at the outward appearance, but the Lord looks at the heart.” 1 Samuel 16:7 NKJV. Read that verse again slowly and thoughtfully, “The Lord looks at the heart.” Solomon advised, “Keep your heart with all diligence, for out of it spring the issues of life.” Read Proverbs 4:20-23 NKJV. Let your life truly reflect your heart.

Appearances may impress but God searches and knows every heart. Jesse was mistaken for depreciating David, his youngest son. Samuel was mistaken for overly appreciating the age and physical appearance of Eliab, the eldest son. God makes no such mistakes; He looks at the heart to find and affirm what is irreplaceable and invaluable. Integrity is more important than image. Read Psalm 78:70-72/Acts 13:21-23 NKJV.

Jesus’ strong indictment against the proud Pharisees was: “You try to look like upright people outwardly, but inside your hearts are filled with hypocrisy and lawlessness.” Matthew 23:28 NLT. See Matthew 6:5 NKJV. Paul warned of, “. . those who boast in appearance and not in heart.” 2 Corinthians 5:12 NKJV. Paul then concluded with these words, “No longer, then, do we judge anyone by human standards. Even if at one time we judged Christ according to human standards, we no longer do so. When anyone is joined to Christ, he is a new being; the old is gone, the new has come.” 2 Corinthians 5:16-17 TEV.

My prayer for you today is that you recognize the difference between image and identity.

Devotionals , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,