Listening For God
A man said to his friend, “Do you hear that cricket?” His friend responded, “Are you kidding, what cricket?” So he turned over a rock, and there it was. The man further explained, “All my life, I’ve been studying nature. And I’ve found you hear what you listen for!” Jesus said, “The one who belongs to God listens and responds to God’s words.” (John 8:47, NET) I believe God is speaking to each of us everyday, throughout our day. First, through His Word the Bible, but daily in our circumstances and challenges. At times, He will give us His thoughts with words of wisdom to answer questions and solve problems, and with words of knowledge, giving insights that only He could know. Jesus proclaimed, “My sheep hear My voice, and I know them, and they follow Me.” (John 10:27, NKJV)
A Love Relationship
All of us will go through heartache in our lives. For some of us, it’s a past experience. For others, it is a daily struggle—trying to get over our pain. Perhaps it’s a disappointment that won’t go away, an expectation that was crushed, or a loss that was devastating! Throughout history, God has demonstrated, on countless occasions, His desire for a relationship with each of us. He doesn’t want someone else to be a surrogate parent—not a pastor, a priest, a prophet, a judge, or a king. He has given each of us a loving, relational heart, and therefore refuses to farm out His love. Today, reach out to the One who loves you the most…the One who died forgiving you…who prays for you night and day…and who waits for you to want Him too.
Complete in Him Alone
What causes the dis-ease in our lives? What leaves us most unsettled? Fixation on self! Ours is the generation of a million options, each costing nothing. Effortless, temporary, shallow fulfillment at our fingertips! We can surf the illusion without breaking a sweat, making a commitment, or being loyal to anything but ourselves. It pre-conditions and hard-wires us for self-absorption; cherishing what appears to benefit “me” the most. The only hope for breaking this independent spirit and cycle of entitlement is embracing a pure dependence upon God alone. Since no one knows you better than God, only He can satisfy the inner longings He’s placed inside you. “…you are complete in Him,” and in Him alone. (Colossians 2:10, NKJV)
A Mother’s Prayers
My heart goes out to every mother who has a child far away from God. If that’s you, please don’t give up on them. I once read about a mother who prayed for her son to receive Jesus for 60 years. One week before she died, she received a long distance phone call saying that he’d given his heart to Jesus. My own mother prayed fervently for all of her children. I was especially lost. As a vehement atheist, I would laugh at her as she prayed over her food. But she had the last laugh. Though I was thousands of miles away, and she hadn’t seen me in nine months, I wandered into a little country church and received Jesus on Mother’s Day. Immediately, I knew it was because of her prayers. Never stop praying for your children!
God, the Promise Keeper
God is the original promise keeper. He is a God of covenant, who never makes a pledge He doesn’t keep, from now unto eternity. God is all about eternity! He makes promises! More importantly, He keeps promises! He always backs up His word, and doesn’t quit. He doesn’t give up on us. Ever! Today, God wants to make a covenant with you! A covenant based on who He is—love. God is love! Others may forsake us, but God never will! His love never fails! The Bible promises, “He is the faithful God who keeps His covenant for a thousand generations and lavishes His unfailing love on those who love Him and obey His commands.” (Deuteronomy 7:9, NLT) God pledges to love us with an everlasting love. All we have to do is receive it.
Suzie, I Won’t Fail You
When I married my wife Suzie in November 1975, I made a commitment to be faithful to her. I even wrote and sang a song to her on our wedding day with the chorus, “Suzie, I won’t fail you! Come draw near!” Why did I write this? Because I had not been a faithful man before committing my life to Jesus in 1972. I was reassuring myself, and Suzie, that I intended to be true to her all the days of her life. Though I had little confidence in myself, I believed God would give me the strength I needed. Now, many years later I’ve found my failures don’t define me. Instead, by receiving God’s forgiving grace, “I know the one in whom I trust, and I am sure that he is able to guard what I have entrusted to him until the day of his return.” (2Timothy 1:12, NLT)
God, Our Provider
Have you seen God provide for your needs? All of us have, though like me, we can often forget. This temporary amnesia can even cause us to entertain lies about God’s heart for us. Unless we are fully convinced that God will provide for our needs, we’ll make decisions for our lives out of fear, doubt, and unbelief! One of God’s names in the Bible is “Jehovah-Jireh”. It means “God—my provider”. The Bible says, “God will supply your every need according to His glorious riches in Christ Jesus…” (Philippians 4:19, NIV) Since some of our needs are wants, of course we won’t get everything we want. But, as a loving, all-powerful Father, God promises to provide for each of our genuine needs. Wait for God’s provision! He won’t fail you!
Who is the author of your decisions? God? Or you? Frankly, I’ve learned to try and not make decisions. For years, whenever I had a strong preference, I’d get in trouble. So, I solved it. Now, I want my only preference to be God’s will. Consequently, I experience far less pressure. As soon as I begin to personalize my situation—my circumstances, I take charge and run ahead of God, rather than flow with His Spirit. It doesn’t make any difference if my preference is a “good thing” or a “bad thing,” unless God authors it, He won’t finish it. As a result; I’ve learned to spend my time focusing on obeying God, leaving my personal preferences aside. Trust God! He will guide your every step, if you’ll let Him.
Friends of God
The world is full of both cat lovers and dog lovers. Both are special creatures created by God to bless us. Cats and dogs lick, love and are equally loyal. They comfort us through the great catastrophes of life. But, I want us to consider for a moment that there is indeed a difference between a dog and a cat. Have you ever heard of a “Seeing-Eye Cat”, or seen a sign saying, “Guard Cat or Watch Cat on Duty”? A dog will defend you till the death, that’s why a dog alone is called “man’s best friend.” In the Bible, Abraham was called a “friend of God.” I don’t know anyone else who was given that honor, except, of course, you and I. (Matthew 11:19, John 15:14) If you’ve given your life to Jesus – then you should know God considers you His friend. (John 15:15)
Starting Slow Spiritually
Do you feel like you’ve had a slow start in your spiritual life? One of the greatest followers of God, Abraham did as well. Early in his life he disobeyed God, was a liar, and even deceived others. His life and future was a roll of the dice. But then the lights came on. God turned up the heat and forged his metal. He became a man of integrity, honor, and faith. The Bible says, “It was by faith that Abraham obeyed when God called him to leave home and go to another land that God would give him as his inheritance. He went without knowing where he was going.” (Hebrews 11:8, NLT) You don’t have to know where you are going in order to follow God. All you have to do is rest in Him and trust that He knows.
Qualities of a Friend
Do you have close friends? All of us need healthy friendships. But the Bible says, “A man who has friends must himself be friendly.” (Proverbs 18:24, NKJV) The only way to have a friend is to be a friend. So, what are the qualities of a true friend? A true friend will tell you the truth, whether you want to hear it or not. A true friend will help you when you’re in trouble. It’s been said, “In prosperity our friends know us. But, in adversity we know our friends.” Lastly, a true friend fulfills his commitments. God has fulfilled every commitment to us He has ever made. Though we all fail, and others fail us, how we respond to failure is perhaps the greatest test in life. “…though a righteous man falls seven times, he rises again…” (Proverbs 24:16, NIV)