Early in life, I learned to listen to the Lord, and this most important lesson is the foundation of my confidence in Him. Moreover, because I pay attention to the Father, He has given me courage in my convictions, strength in times of trouble, and unspeakable joy.
My grandfather impressed upon me the importance of opening my spiritual ears. He didn’t say, “Now, Charles, you’ve got to listen” but instead described how the Lord was speaking to him and what He was saying. The powerful evidence of Grandpa’s faith gave me a burning desire to hear the Lord, too.
No person can hear without actively listening. God taught me how, and it is this important lesson that I pass on to you: Heeding the Lord begins with meditation upon His Word. I listen prayerfully and expectantly for what He is saying to me through the passage. The Lord is not secretive. He illuminates Scripture to those who desire to know its meaning and are willing to abide by it. Often that requires patience. God reveals His truth when a believer is ready to hear. I continually return to a portion of the Bible until His message to me is clear. Sometimes that means going over the same passage for days at a time.
God will speak with clarity to anyone who listens prayerfully and submissively. He wants to speak to you—His great desire is for you to know Him as intimately as did Moses, David, Paul, and others like them. Dig into the Bible every day, and listen to what the heavenly Father is communicating to your heart.
Bible in One Year: Ezekiel 20-22
Read: Exodus 17:8–13
Bible in a Year: Psalms 137–139; 1 Corinthians 13
Since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses . . . let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us.—Hebrews 12:1
My husband Jack was on mile 25 out of 26 when his strength failed him.
This was his first marathon, and he was running alone. After stopping for a drink of water at an aid station, he felt exhausted and sat down on the grass beside the course. Minutes passed, and he couldn’t get up. He had resigned himself to quitting the race when two middle-aged schoolteachers from Kentucky came by. Although they were strangers, they noticed Jack and asked if he wanted to run with them. Suddenly, he found his strength restored. Jack stood and accompanied by the two women he finished the race.
Those women who encouraged Jack remind me of Aaron and Hur, two friends who helped Moses, the leader of the Israelites, at a key point (Ex. 17:8–13). The Israelites were under attack. In battle, they were winning only as long as Moses held his staff up (v. 11). So when Moses’s strength began to fail, Aaron and Hur stood on either side of him, holding up his arms for him until sunset (v. 12).
Following God is not a solo endeavor. He did not create us to run the race of life alone. Companions can help us persevere through difficulty as we do what God has called us to do. —Amy Peterson
God, thank You for relationships that encourage me to continue following You. Help me to be a source of strength for others, as well.
Who can I encourage to persevere through difficulty today?
INSIGHT: Several unique battle plans recorded in Scripture include marching around a city and blowing trumpets (Josh. 6), surrounding the camp with torches and blowing trumpets (Judg. 7), and today’s story of raising hands (Ex. 17). While we have no record of when or why the battle plan in Exodus 17 was established, Moses’s lifted hands was clearly the deciding factor in who was winning (see v. 11). However, it wasn’t just up to Moses to keep his hands raised; the result was the same when Aaron and Hur held up Moses’s hands.
The combined efforts of Moses, Aaron, and Hur allowed Joshua to win the battle. In verses 14-16 we read something interesting about Joshua: He may not have known he was being helped. Moses instructs that the events of the battle, both on the field and behind the scenes, be written in a scroll and to make sure Joshua hears it (v. 14). Perhaps Moses intended that Joshua not think the battle was won by the strength of the army or by brilliant leadership. But it’s possible that he wanted Joshua to know he wasn’t alone in the battle, just as Moses wasn’t alone in his task. J.R. Hudberg
Have you ever met someone who you are sure you’ve met before, but you can’t remember when or where? Then all of a sudden, it comes to you and you say, “I know you!” You recognize the person. You remember where you met. That’s a little bit like it is with God. You go along living your life day after day, then something happens that seems familiar. All at once you know. This is God at work. God has come to help.
What do you know about God? Where have you learned what you know? God’s Word is the best place to learn about God. When we know God’s Word, we get to know him too. We learn he is a good, kind, loving God who expects certain things from us. His Word also builds our faith and strength in him. It’s not hard to trust and believe in him when we know him. So get acquainted with God in the pages of his Book today.
Dear Lord, I want to know more about you. I want to recognize you when you speak to me. I want my faith in you to grow stronger. I want to love you more. Amen.
How many of us can actually say, “I am not jealous of anyone else or envious of what others have. If God gave it to them, then I want them to enjoy it”?
The Word says, Let your conduct be without covetousness; be content with such things as you have (Hebrews 13:5 NKJV). I believe God tests us to see if we will live by this verse.
There are times when He will put somebody in front of us who has exactly what we want—just to see how we will respond. Until we can pass His “I am happy for you because you are blessed” test, we are never going to have any more than what we have right now.
If you have asked God for something and He hasn’t given it to you yet, rest assured that He is not holding out on you. He simply wants to make sure that you rid yourself of jealousy and make Him your top priority.
God wants us to prosper in every way. He wants people to see His goodness and how well He takes care of us. But we must desire God more than we desire His blessings.
“And said, If thou wilt diligently hearken to the voice of the Lord thy God, and wilt do that which is right in His sight, and wilt give ear to His commandments, and keep all His statutes, I will put none of these diseases upon thee, which I have brought upon the Egyptians: for I am the Lord that healeth thee” (Exodus 15:26, KJV).
Prior to a recent minor operation the surgeon came to my hospital room for prayer and to explain the nature of the hernia correction. He explained, “It is God alone who heals. It is my responsibility, along with my staff, to treat and care for you.”
In his excellent book, None of These Diseases, Dr. S.I. McMillen abundantly amplifies and proves the point of this promise: that if we always do that which is right in God’s sight, at the very least our health will be greatly improved.
This highly qualified physician contends that most of our physical problems are caused by stress, but the person who is doing that which is right in God’s sight is not likely to be continually under stress – at least not the kind of stress that impairs one physically.
“I am the Lord that healeth thee.” And He is the same yesterday, today and forever. That would indicate that His healing is available for all today – which of course brings up that sticky question of method and means.
Whatever our persuasion about this, the fact remains that if we really do believe that it is God who heals, then it should follow that He would be our first resource in time of physical need. And it may well be that His direction would take us to the physician. But He alone would be the healer.
Bible Reading: Exodus 15:22-26
TODAY’S ACTION POINT: As I approach each task today, I will make a conscious effort to be concerned about doing that which is right in God’s sight.
Children are usually taught that Thomas Edison invented the light bulb. But did he? In fact, many inventors worked on various types of lamps, including Englishman Humphrey Davy who illuminated a home in 1806. Davy produced a lamp by creating spark between two charcoal rods. Who was the true inventor?
In today’s passage we see confusion over the identity and authority of Jesus and John the Baptist. Who is the true Messiah? John the Baptist was attracting the attention of both the public and the religious leaders, who sent a committee to investigate who he really was. John was ready with a clear answer: “I am not the Messiah” (v. 20).
But if John was not the Messiah, then who was he? John answered his interlocutors, explaining both who he was and why he was sent. Like the prophets, John had been given a message from God to His people: “Make straight the way for the Lord” (v. 23; see Isa. 40:3). John made it perfectly clear that he was not the main attraction but rather the one who was announcing that the Messiah was soon to arrive.
Some men came down from Judea to Antioch and were teaching the brothers: “Unless you are circumcised, according to the custom taught by Moses, you cannot be saved.” Acts 15:1
Everything has a process, good or bad. A good process provides wise checks and balances and makes for a best decision, a quality product or service, and excellent execution. A bad process rushes through an inferior design or a half-baked decision, impeding progress. So, a wise leader allows all processes to be up for debate. No process is immune to questioning, but the discussion is to be handled with dignity and respect.
Keep the conversation focused on process, not personalities. This is why everyone holds a process with an open hand. If you become a rigid proponent of your pet process, then there is a good chance you will take any criticism of your process personally. Process, by design, is what’s best for the entire organization, not just a convenience created to accommodate someone’s preference.
Therefore, do not overprotect a process with smothering ownership. Furthermore, challenge the process with professional courtesy. You challenge the process with respect when you speak factually and do not react emotionally. This creates calm and communicates care.
You respect others when you listen to their ideas without becoming defensive. This allows everyone to discover and support the best process. Respect keeps the best interests of the organization in mind. This facilitates teachability, teamwork, and responsible stewardship. Anyone can complain, so challenge the process with thoughtful solutions, not mindless meandering.