Hearing God

Hearing God

“My sheep recognize my voice; I know them, and they follow me.”

John 10:27

He knows our name, our nature

“Usually, when someone says, “God has been speaking to me lately,” we get a little suspicious (justly so, in many cases). Many who say God speaks to them are far too often what I describe as a few clowns short of a circus.

Yet as our Good Shepherd, Jesus promises that we can hear and know His voice. This does not, however, need to be some mysterious, mystical process. In fact, you may be surprised to learn that God speaks to you quite often.

You see, the Good Shepherd knows not only your name (John 10:3), but your nature.

Yes, God speaks—but we do not always like what He says. Have you sensed the conviction of the Holy Spirit when you were in a relationship or a place you did not belong? At times, God’s Holy Spirit whispers in the stillness of your heart, “What are you doing here?” How else can we know when God is speaking to us?

God speaks to us through His word. (Psalm 119:105)

God speaks to us through circumstances (Psalm 119:67)

God speaks to through His peace (Colossians 3:15)

And once we have heard God’s voice, what should we do? We must follow. Jesus calls, we responds. He whispers, we move. We follow—and then we keep on listening.

from the Breakfast with Jesus by Greg Laurie (Tyndale) pp 243-45

Content is derived from the Holy Bible, New Living Translation and other publications of Tyndale Publishing House


 

A faithful witness

A faithful witness

GREAT IS THY FAITHFULNESS

…they will see your honorable behavior, and they will believe and give honor to God when he comes to judge the world.

1 Peter 2:12

…it is not my heavenly Father’s will that even one of these little ones should perish.

Matthew 18:14

A prayer for an unsaved tribe

On Sunday afternoon, December 18, Nate Saint sat at his typewriter to tell the world why they [the missionaries] were going [to work among the Auca Indians] — just in case. In speaking these words he spoke for all [those involved in reaching the Aucas]: “As we weigh the future and seek the will of God, does it seem right that we should hazard our lives for just a few savages? As we ask ourselves this question, we realize that it is not the call of the needy thousands, rather it is the simple intimation of the prophetic Word that there shall be some from every tribe in His presence in the last day and in our hearts we feel that it is pleasing to Him that we should interest ourselves in making an opening into the Auca prison for Christ.…May God give us a new vision of His will concerning the lost and our responsibility.

“May we know that we could comprehend the lot of these stone-age people who live in mortal fear of ambush on the jungle trail those who think all men in the world are killers like themselves. If God would grant vision, the word sacrifice would disappear from our lips and thoughts; our lives would suddenly be too short, we would despise time-robbing distractions and charge the enemy with all our energies in the name of Christ.” [Nate Saint and his four missionary companions were killed by the Auca Indians only two weeks later, in early January 1956].

Elizabeth Elliot in Through Gates of Splendor

Adapted from The Prayer Bible Jean E. Syswerda, general editor, Tyndale House Publishers (2003), p 283.

Content is derived from the Holy Bible, New Living Translation and other publications of Tyndale Publishing House


 

Nathan- God Provides

God helps those who help the poor

 

Why should I help the poor?

Oh, the joys of those who are kind to the poor. The Lord rescues them in times of trouble. The Lord protects them and keeps them alive. He gives them prosperity and rescues them from their enemies. The Lord nurses them when they are sick and eases their pain and discomfort.

Psalm 41:1-3

He will rescue the poor when they cry to him, he will help the oppressed, who have no one to defend them. He feels pity for the weak and the needy, and he will rescue them. He will save them from oppression and from violence, for their lives are precious to him.

Psalm 72:12-14
A greedy person tries to get rich quick, but it only leads to poverty. Greed causes fighting; trusting in the Lord leads to prosperity. Whoever gives to the poor will lack nothing. But a curse will come upon those who close their eyes to poverty.
Proverbs 28:22,25,27

About this week’s promise

To be poor means that something is lacking from our life.

The Bible focuses primarily on two kinds of poverty — people who are in need of basic necessities (like food and clothing) and people who are in need of God (for they lack the Holy Spirit’s presence in their life). We are called — commanded — to help both of these kinds of people as much as we possibly can.

From the TouchPoint Bible (Tyndale House) p1244

Content is derived from the Holy Bible, New Living Translation and other publications of Tyndale Publishing House


Word Study:  Hebrew “Nathan’

Nathan

(1), provide (1), provided (2), provides

Source


 

God’s Mercy

God is merciful

Have You Received God’s Mercy?

Praise the Lord, I tell myself; with my whole heart, I will praise his holy name. Praise the Lord, I tell myself, and never forget the good things he does for me. He forgives my sins and heals all my diseases. He ransoms me from death and surrounds me with love and tender mercies.

Psalm 103:1-4

Having chosen [his people], he called them to come to him. And he gave them right standing with himself, and he promised them his glory.

Romans 8:30

Pardoned

The essential act of mercy was to pardon; and pardon in its very essence involves the recognition of guilt and ill-desert in the recipient. If crime is only a disease which needs cure, not sin which deserves punishment, it cannot be pardoned. How can you pardon a man for having a gumboil or a club foot? But the Humanitarian theory wants simply to abolish Justice and substitute Mercy for it. This means that you start being “kind” to people before you have considered their rights, and then force upon them supposed kindnesses which no one but you will recognize as kindnesses and which the recipient will feel as abominable cruelties. You have overshot the mark. Mercy, detached from Justice, grows unmerciful. That is the important paradox. As there are plants which will flourish only in mountain soil, so it appears that Mercy will flower only when it grows in the crannies of the rock of Justice: transplanted to the marshlands of mere Humanitarianism, it becomes a man-eating weed, all the more dangerous because it is still called by the same name as the mountain variety.
C. S. LEWIS in God in the Dock

Quoted in The Quotable Lewis edited by Wayne Martindale and Jerry Root (Tyndale House) p 426


Not what thou art, nor what thou hast been, doth God regard with his merciful eyes, but what thou wouldst be.
JULIAN OF NORWICH

Content is derived from the Holy Bible, New Living Translation and other publications of Tyndale Publishing House

Skills

Read today’s devotional on Bible Gateway.

Exodus 31:1-11

God calls two men to help build the Tabernacle and the furniture that will go into it.

Got Skills?

Read

Then the Lord said to Moses, Look, I have specifically chosen Bezalel son of Uri, grandson of Hur, of the tribe of Judah. I have filled him with the Spirit of God, giving him great wisdom, ability, and expertise in all kinds of crafts. He is a master craftsman, expert in working with gold, silver, and bronze. He is skilled in engraving and mounting gemstones and in carving wood. He is a master at every craft!

And I have personally appointed Oholiab son of Ahisamach, of the tribe of Dan, to be his assistant. Moreover, I have given special skill to all the gifted craftsmen so they can make all the things I have commanded you to make.
(Exodus 31:1-6)

Reflect

God values the skills of all his people, not merely those with theological or ministerial abilities. We tend to value only those who are up front in leadership roles. We believe the notion that having influence is what really matters. But God gave Bezalel and Oholiab Spirit-filled abilities in artistic craftsmanship. Their work would outlast both Moses and Aaron’s leadership.

But neither influence nor longevity is anything. Instead, Moses, Aaron, Bezalel, and Oholiab submitted their skills to God and committed them to doing his work. When we do this, our skills are given great meaning and purpose.

Take notice of all the abilities God gives his people. Don’t diminish your skills if they are not like Moses and Aaron’s. Remember, the one you serve is more important than what you do.

Respond

What skills do you have? Have you found a way to use them? Spend time improving the skills you have and talking with God about them. As you do, you may find new opportunities open up for using them.


 

God is our security

God is our security

Trusting in God’s promises

I bow before your holy Temple as I worship. I will give thanks to your name for your unfailing love and faithfulness, because your promises are backed by all the honor of your name.

Psalm 138:2 

God makes a promise, faith believes it, hope anticipates it, patience quietly awaits it.

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Precious promises

When David Livingstone had to pass through the most dangerous country of the fierce native chief Mburuma and decide whether to furtively sneak through at night or go by day and risk being killed, he staked his life on the promise of Jesus’ presence in Matthew 29:19-20: “Go and make disciples of all nations.…And be sure of this: I am with you always, even to the end of the age.” He wrote in his journal, “t is the word of a Gentleman of the most sacred and strictest honor, so there’s an end on it!” Livingstone knew that God backs up his promises with all the honor of his name, so he proceeded in broad daylight, trusting in his Savior’s promise. God fulfilled his Word, and Livingstone made the crossing safely because the Lord Jesus was beside him, just as he said he would be. God’s promises are just as true and alive today for those who will pray them, trust them, stand on them, and walk in them.

THANK YOU, FATHER, for backing your promises by all the honor of your name. It is a mighty and powerful and trustworthy name! I give thanks to you for your unfailing love and faithfulness. Help me to move forward under your direction in the light of your unfailing and precious promises.

Adapted from The One Year® Book of Praying through the Bible by Cheri Fuller, Tyndale House Publishers (2003), entry for June 20.

Content is derived from the Holy Bible, New Living Translation and other publications of Tyndale Publishing House

No temptation is too great

No temptation is too great

HE BORN THIS FOR US!

Do you deeply mourn your sin, or choose cheap grace—and sin again?

Immediately the Holy Spirit compelled Jesus to go into the wilderness. He was there for forty days, being tempted by Satan. He was out among the wild animals, and angels took care of him.

Mark 1:12-13

Mourning our sins

Lord, who throughout these forty days
For us didst fast and pray,
Teach us with Thee to mourn our sins,
And close by Thee to stay.

As Thou with Satan didst contend
And didst the victory win,
O give us strength in Thee to fight
In Thee to conquer sin.
Lenten Hymn (v1,2), CLAUDIA FRANCES HERNAMAN (1838-98)

We don’t know a lot about the forty days Jesus spent in the desert before His temptation. We know it was a time of fasting and probably of prayer. When the devil came to Him, the conquering words of Scripture were quick on Jesus’ tongue, so it may have been a time of meditation, a time of special communion with his Father.

This song draws the comparison between Jesus’ forty days in the desert and the forty days of Lent. Traditionally, the Lenten season is a time of fasting. People “give up” something for Lent. The idea is not to punish ourselves, but to put aside something that may distract us from our communion with God. It is a time for special devotion to God, a time when He may “abide with us” in a special way. Lent is a time to refocus on our relationship with Christ.

adapted from The One Year® Book of Hymns by Mark Norton and Robert Brown, Tyndale House Publishers (1995), entry for February 16


When you flee temptation, leave no forwarding address.
AUTHOR UNKNOWN

Content is derived from the Holy Bible, New Living Translation and other publications of Tyndale Publishing House

His Image

Today’s promise: We are created in His image

Psalm 11:4

Do you have a joy that rubs off on other people?

I prayed to the Lord, and he answered me, freeing me from all my fears. Those who look to him for help will be radiant with joy; no shadow of shame will darken their faces. I cried out to the Lord in my suffering, and he heard me. He set me free from all my fears. For the angel of the Lord guards all who fear him, and he rescues them.

Psalm 34:4-7

Contagious joy

Do you enjoy watching the televised Olympic games? If you do, you know the joy the winners of an Olympic event experience is contagious. That’s one reason millions of people watch the Olympics so religiously. It’s not simply to see the drama of the event and the excellence and form of the athletes. It’s also to share in the contagious joy of the winners.

In Psalm 34 David describes the same type of joy radiating from believers. All those who look to God for help will experience a joy so intense that other people can see it in their faces. David says the reason for that joy is that God has heard and answered our prayers. Our shame has been taken away. We have been set free from all our fears because the angel of the Lord encamps around us. He guards his people. Pray today that the angel of the Lord will set up camp around you and your relationships. Commit your fears and worries to God, and ask him to guard you. He can set you free from your fears and grant you radiant joy as you look to him for help.

Adapted from Praying God’s Promises for My Marriage by John Farrar (Tyndale House), pp 92-93

Content is derived from the Holy Bible, New Living Translation and other publications of Tyndale Publishing House

Overcoming discouragement

Overcoming discouragement brings great blessing

How do you remind yourself of God’s leading in the past?

Joshua said to the people, “This is what the Lord, the God of Israel, says: …I took your ancestor Abraham from the land beyond the Euphrates and led him to the land of Canaan. I gave him many descendents through his son Isaac.… Then I sent Moses and Aaron, and I brought terrible plagues on Egypt; and afterward I brought you out as a free people.… With your very own eyes you saw what I did.… Finally, I brought you into the land of the Amorites on the east side of the Jordan. They fought against you, but I gave you victory over them, and you took possession of their land.… When you crossed the Jordan River and came to Jericho, the men of Jericho fought against you. There were also many others who fought you. … It was not your swords or bows that brought you victory. I gave you land you had not worked for, and I gave you cities you did not build—the cities in which you are now living. I gave you vineyards and olive groves for food, though you did not plant them.

Joshua 24:2-13

Joshua’s story of hope

Joshua reminded a discouraged people of all the times God had provided for them and demonstrated his goodness. Reviewing past blessings can encourage us to continue to serve God faithfully. Keep records—through a journal or a scrapbook—of the love God has shown for you. When you need encouragement, review what God has already done, revisiting the mementos of his work in your life. And read the Bible in order to refresh your knowledge of the many blessings God has given his people throughout history.

adapted from TouchPoint Bible with devotional commentary by Ron Beers and Gilbert Beers, Tyndale House Publishers (1996), p 208

Content is derived from the Holy Bible, New Living Translation and other publications of Tyndale Publishing House

Peace in Relationships

Peace in Relationships

“Since God chose you to be the holy people whom he loves, you must clothe yourselves with tenderhearted mercy, kindness, humility, gentleness, and patience. You must take allowance for each other’s faults and forgive the person who offends you. Remember, the Lord forgave you, so you must forgive others. And the most important piece of clothing you must wear is love. Love is what binds us all together in perfect harmony. And let the peace that comes from Christ rule in your hearts. For as members of one body you are all called to live in peace.”

Colossians 3:12-15 NLT

Attaining peace

[Jon Farrar addresses marriages, but his comments apply to other relationships as well.] Maintaining peace in any relationship is very difficult. Each one of us is a unique individual who interprets and views things differently. Whether in relationships in the church, among family and friends, or in our marriages, conflict is natural. When conflict comes, we need to follow Christ’s example by showing love and forgiveness in difficult situations. God loved us when we were still sinners in rebellion against him (Romans 5:9). We need to show that same type of love to others by being kind, merciful, and patient.

Do you long for peace in your marriage? Ask Jesus to point out times when you have not been forgiving, areas where you need to be patient, and ways you can express genuine love to each other. That is how we have peace in our marriages — when we look for ways to love and forgive each other.

from Praying God’s Promises for My Marriage by Jon Farrar (Tyndale) pp 42-43

Content is derived from the Holy Bible, New Living Translation and other publications of Tyndale Publishing House