Charles Stanley – Life Principle 13: Listening to God — Walking With God

 

One of the most important lessons we can learn is how to listen to God. In our complex and hectic lives, nothing is more urgent, nothing more necessary, and nothing more rewarding than hearing what God has to say to us.

Life Principle 13 – Listening to God is essential to walking with God.

Psalm 81:8

One of the most important lessons we can learn is how to listen to God. In our complex and hectic lives, nothing is more urgent, nothing more necessary, and nothing more rewarding than hearing what God has to say to us and obeying Him.

If we fail to learn how to listen to the Lord, we will make some very unwise and costly mistakes.

A true conversation, of course, involves both talking and listening. Most of us do better with the talking part.

At one point, I became so occupied doing the Lord’s work, I had very little time for anything else. I preached six times a week, taped two television programs, and was the senior pastor of a large church. We also were developing an international broadcast ministry. I spent a great deal of time talking to God, but one day I realized I was not spending as much time listening to what He was saying to me. I knew something had to change. If we fail to learn how to listen to the Lord, we will make some very unwise and costly mistakes.

You may ask, “Does the Lord really speak to us today?” The Bible assures us that He does. The book of Hebrews opens this way: “God, after He spoke long ago to the fathers in the prophets in many portions and in many ways, in these last days has spoken to us in His Son” (Heb. 1:1, 2). Our God is not silent. Our heavenly Father is alive and active. He speaks to us individually and in a way that we can hear Him, receive His message, and obey Him. He is infinite, fully capable of communicating with each of us, right where we are—in the midst of our circumstances—in a very personal way.

Our heavenly Father is alive and active. He speaks to us individually and in a way that we can hear Him, receive His message, and obey Him.

This may be one of the most important concepts you will grasp in learning how to listen to God. When the Lord speaks, He is speaking to you. The Word of God contains His truth; therefore, take it personally. Allow His Holy Spirit to open your heart so you will have a deeper understanding of Scripture. When you do, you can begin to claim His promises for your life. You also will gain a deeper understanding of His provision, care, and love.

God is serious about His relationship with you. He speaks for your benefit, and it is important for you to listen to Him and respond in obedience. Sometimes He will challenge you to change your thinking or to release certain unhealthy feelings and opinions. Sometimes He will command you to change aspects of your behavior. Yet with every instruction He gives, you can be certain it is for your good. He desires to encourage and mature you so that you might live with greater joy and strength. He also wants to transform you into the likeness of His Son, Jesus Christ—helping you to become the very best you can be.

Learning to listen to God through the reading of His Word is the most important thing you can do because there is no other way to enjoy the amazingly wonderful abundant life He offers. Therefore, pay close attention to what He has to say, and He will certainly “tell you great and mighty things, which you do not know” (Jer. 33:3).

Adapted from The Charles F. Stanley Life Principles Bible, © 2009.

Our Daily Bread — Chipmunk Chatter

 

Read: Isaiah 41:10-13

Bible in a Year: 1 Chronicles 22-24; John 8:28-59

Fear not; I will help you. —Isaiah 41:13

I had laid out some landscape netting in my yard, upon which I was going to spread decorative stones. As I was preparing to finish the job, I noticed a chipmunk tangled up in the netting.

I put on my gloves and gingerly began clipping away at the netting. The little guy was not happy with me. He kicked his hind feet and tried to bite me. I calmly told him, “I’m not going to hurt you, buddy. Just relax.” But he didn’t understand, so in fear he resisted. I finally snipped the last restricting loop and sent him scampering home.

Sometimes humans feel entangled and react in fear to the Lord. Through the centuries, He has offered rescue and hope to people—yet we resist Him, not understanding the help He provides. In Isaiah 41, the prophet quotes the Lord as saying, “For I, the LORD your God, will hold your right hand, saying to you, ‘Fear not; I will help you’” (v.13).

As you think about your situation, how do you see God’s role? Are you afraid to turn things over to Him—for fear that He might harm you? He is good and He is near, wanting to free you from life’s entanglements. You can trust Him with your life. —Dave Branon

In what area of your life do you need freedom? Ask the Lord to show you and to give you the faith to trust Him for His deliverance.

Faith is the best antidote for fear.

INSIGHT: Of the prophet Isaiah, The International Standard Bible Encyclopedia says: “Isaiah was the son of Amoz (not Amos). He seems to have belonged to a family of some rank, as may be inferred from his easy access to the king (Isa 7:3), and his close intimacy with the priest (Isa 8:2). Tradition says he was the cousin of King Uzziah. He lived in Jerusalem and became court preacher. He was married and had two sons: Shear-jashub, his name signifying ‘a remnant shall return’ (Isa 7:3), and Maher-shalal-hash-baz, ‘hasting to the spoil, hurrying to the prey,’ symbolic of Assyria’s mad lust of conquest (Isa 8:3).”

Alistair Begg – Your Cold Prayers

 

Blessed be God, because he has not rejected my prayer. Psalm 66:20

In looking back upon the character of our prayers, if we do it honestly, we shall be filled with wonder that God has ever answered them. There may be some who think their prayers worthy of acceptance–as the Pharisee did; but the true Christian, who sees things clearly, must surely weep over his prayers, and if he could retrace his steps he would desire to pray more earnestly.

Remember, Christian, how cold your prayers have been. When in your closet you should have wrestled as Jacob did; but instead your petitions have been faint and few–far removed from that humble, believing, persevering faith that cries, “I will not let you go unless you bless me.” Yet, how wonderful to know that God has heard these cold prayers of yours, and not only heard, but answered them.

Unbelief insinuates: “Reflect also how infrequent have been your prayers unless you have been in trouble, and then you have gone often to the mercy-seat: But when deliverance has come, what happened to your constant supplication? Yet, even though you have stopped praying as you once did, God has not stopped blessing. When you have neglected the mercy-seat, God has not deserted it, but the bright light of His glory has remained visible between the wings of the cherubim. How marvelous that the Lord should pay attention to our intermittent spasms of prayerfulness that ebb and flow with our needs. What a God He is to hear the prayers of those who come to Him when they have pressing concerns but neglect Him when they have received a mercy; who approach Him when they are forced to come but who almost forget to address Him when benefits are plentiful and sorrows are few.

Let His gracious kindness in hearing such prayers touch our hearts, so that from now on we may be found “praying at all times in the Spirit, with all prayer and supplication.”1

1) Ephesians 6:18

Devotional material is taken from “Morning and Evening,” written by C.H. Spurgeon, revised and updated by Alistair Begg.

Charles Spurgeon – Heavenly rest

 

“There remaineth therefore a rest to the people of God.” Hebrews 4:9

Suggested Further Reading: Revelation 14:12-16

From Monday morning till Saturday night, many of you will not be able to lay aside your needle and your thread, except when, tired and weary, you fall back on your chair, and are lulled to sleep by your thoughts of labour! Oh! how seasonable will heaven’s rest be to you! Oh! how glad will you be, when you get there, to find that there are no Monday mornings, no more toil for you, but rest, eternal rest! Others of you have had manual labour to perform; you have reason to thank God that you are strong enough to do it, and you are not ashamed of your work; for labour is an honour to a man. But still there are times when you say, “I wish I were not so dragged to death by the business of London life.” We have but little rest in this huge city; our day is longer, and our work is harder than our friends in the country. You have sometimes sighed to go into the green fields for a breath of fresh air; you have longed to hear the song of the sweet birds that used to wake you when you were young; you have regretted the bright blue sky, the beauteous flowers, and the thousand charms of a country life. And, perhaps, you will never get beyond this smoky city; but remember, when you get up there, “sweet fields arrayed in living green,” and “rivers of delight” shall be the place where you shall rest, you shall have all the joys you can conceive of in that home of happiness.

For meditation: The Christian’s rest in heaven will be enriched by the worth of his work for Christ on earth (1 Corinthians 3:13-15). Spurgeon says:- “There, up in heaven, Luther has no more to face a thundering Vatican; Paul has no more to run from city to city, and continent to continent; there Baxter has no more to toil in his pulpit, to preach with a broken heart to hard hearted sinners; there no longer has Knox to “cry aloud and spare not” against the immoralities of the false church.” What will you be missing?

Sermon no. 133

24 May (1857)

John MacArthur –Saluting an Unknown Soldier (James, Son of Alphaeus)

 

The twelve apostles included “James the son of Alphaeus” (Matt. 10:3).

God often uses ordinary people to accomplish great things.

Like most Christians, James the son of Alphaeus is an unknown and unsung soldier of the cross. His distinguishing characteristic is obscurity. Nothing he did or said is recorded in Scripture—only his name.

In Mark 15:40 he is called “James the Less,” which literally means “Little James.” That could refer to his stature (he might have been short), his age (he might have been younger than James the son of Zebedee), or his influence (he might have had relatively little influence among the disciples).

In Mark 2:14 Matthew (Levi) is called the son of Alphaeus. Alphaeus was a common name, but it’s possible that James and Matthew were brothers, since their fathers had the same first name. Also, James’s mother is mentioned in Mark 15:40 as being present at Christ’s crucifixion, along with other women. She is referred to as the wife of Clopas in John 19:25. Since Clopas was a form of Alphaeus, that further supports the possibility that James and Matthew were related.

From those references we might conclude that James was a small young man whose personality was not particularly powerful. If he was Matthew’s brother, perhaps he was as humble as Matthew, willing to serve the Lord without any applause or notice. Whichever the case, be encouraged that God uses obscure people like James, and rewards them accordingly. Someday James will sit on a throne in Christ’s millennial kingdom, judging the twelve tribes of Israel—just like the other more prominent disciples (Luke 22:30).

No matter how obscure or prominent you are from a human perspective, God can use you and will reward you with a glorious eternal inheritance.

Suggestions for Prayer

  • Thank the Lord for all those people unknown to you whom He has used to shape your life for His glory.
  • Seek to be more like James, serving Christ faithfully without applause or glory.

For Further Study

  • Read Luke 9:23-25. What did Jesus say is necessary to be His disciple?
  • Read Luke 9:57-62. What were those men unwilling to give up to follow Christ?

 

Joyce Meyer – The Time Will Come

 

And the Israelites wept for Moses in the plains of Moab thirty days; then the days of weeping and mourning for Moses were ended. Deuteronomy 34:8

When Moses died, the Israelites mourned deeply over the loss of their leader. They wept for him for thirty days; then the days of mourning were ended.

I am not suggesting that the grieving process should only last thirty days. But I believe the principle behind this verse is important. I think it is letting us know that eventually we have to move on. Sometimes the best thing you can do when you are hurting is to do something. Find a place of new beginnings. Get up, get dressed, and keep moving. Go take a walk and talk to God. Do something for somebody else. As you work through your grief, you may have times when you simply need to get your mind off of what you’re going through because you have done everything you can do about it; there is nothing else you can do except wait for the full healing to come.

It is proper to grieve, but don’t let a spirit of grief control your life. If you have been through a recent tragic loss, you may not be ready to go on yet. Know, though, that the time will come when you do need to get busy again. It may not be easy, but it will be important to your healing. So, don’t rush it, but when it comes, embrace it and trust the Holy Spirit to guide and comfort you as you move forward.

Love Yourself Today: Always remember that no matter what you have lost, you still have a lot left, and God has a purpose yet to be fulfilled in your life.

 

Campus Crusade for Christ; Bill Bright – Long, Satisfying Life

 

“If you want a long and satisfying life, closely follow my instructions” (Proverbs 3:2).

A famous children’s specialist declared, “When it comes to a serious illness, the child who has been taught to obey has four times the chance of recovery that the spoiled and undisciplined child has.”

Every parent should consider well the implications of that statement. We have all been taught that one of the Ten Commandments was for children to obey their parents.

But it is doubtful that many of us have ever considered that obedience might mean the difference between the saving or losing of a child’s life.

The hymnwriter who said that we should “trust and obey, for there’s no other way to be happy in Jesus” well knew what he was saying. A “long and satisfying life” certainly would be synonymous with a “happy life.”

Many Christians have every intention of following God’s instructions – without ever really knowing what those instructions are. That is why it is supremely important for every believer to spend time in God’s Word, the book of instructions for Christians.

Are you one of those who truly want a long satisfying life? Then, are you willing to follow God’s instructions for your life? Are you willing to familiarize yourself thoroughly with His instructions so that you will have no difficulty knowing and following them?

Bible Reading: Proverbs 3:1-8

TODAY’S ACTION POINT: I will follow closely God’s instructions in order that I may live a long and satisfying life.

Presidential Prayer Team; C.P. – First Things First

 

Many people have said, “When all else fails, pray!” However, a mature Christian knows that in order for all not to fail, prayer must be done first.

May God Almighty grant you mercy.

Genesis 43:14

When Jacob believed his dear son Joseph was dead, he did his best to keep Joseph’s younger brother Benjamin safe. When it boiled down to either sending Benjamin to Egypt or watching his entire family starve to death, Jacob finally put the situation into God’s hands. His son Judah said, “If we had not delayed, we would now have returned twice.” (Genesis 43:10) Seek God’s will and entrust your plans to God before attempting anything else. The Bible says, “Commit your way to the Lord; trust in him, and he will act.”(Psalm 37:5)

Each day, bring God all your fears, problems, and ventures. In addition, pray concerning the threats leveled at the United States – and at Christians in particular. Between now and the next election, ask God to raise up leaders in America who will do what is right in His sight. Do not wait until all else fails. Pray now!

Recommended Reading: James 4:7-17

Night Light for Couples -Balloons and Children

 

“My time has not yet come.” John 2:4

I (jcd) once attended a wedding in a beautiful garden setting. After the minister told the groom to kiss the bride, about 150 colorful, helium‐filled balloons were released into the blue sky. Within a few seconds the balloons were scattered, some rising hundreds of feet overhead and others cruising toward the horizon. A few balloons struggled to clear the upper branches of the trees, while the showoffs became mere pinpoints of color in the sky.

Like balloons, some boys and girls are born with more helium than others. They soar effortlessly to the heights, while others wobble dangerously close to the trees. Their frantic folks run along underneath, huffing and puffing to keep them airborne.

Are you a parent of a low‐flying child? Over the years, I’ve worked with hundreds of families whose children were struggling in one way or another. Based on what I’ve seen, let me pass along a word of encouragement to worried parents: Sometimes the child who has the most trouble getting off the ground eventually reaches the greatest height!

Just between us…

  • What kinds of balloons do our kids most resemble?
  • Do we tend to panic when our low‐fliers drift in the wrong direction?
  • Do we love them any less than those who soar?
  • How can we avoid prematurely judging how a child will turn out?
  • How can we pump more “helium” into our relationship with our low‐flier?

Heavenly Father, tonight we ask for wisdom and patience as we raise our children. We let go of our own requirements and timelines for their lives. We trust Your providence and grace. Every day, help us obey You in this great calling of being a parent. Amen.

From Night Light For Couples, by Dr. James & Shirley Dobson