Tag Archives: listening to God

Station Yourself

In life, we find ourselves being stationed in places awaiting something to happen. For some people, this means stationing ourselves outside a ticket place, waiting for tickets to go on sale for a popular concert. Or maybe stationing outside of a shopping center for a big sale is your cup of tea. We station ourselves by the gate in the airport awaiting the airline employees to call for boarding. Our dedicated soldiers station themselves where the officers command, waiting for the next orders.

In Habakkuk, we read about taking a stand at the watchpost. The verse actually then says, “station myself.” When you read over the verse, it clearly tells us that he is stationing himself on the tower awaiting to hear from the Lord.  In the very next verse, we read that the Lord responds.

Many times people consider that the Lord is being silent. I often hear people say they cannot hear God. It is then that I ask, “Have you stationed yourself”? Are you actually in place, ready to listen to the Lord? Our conversation skills are horrible with the introduction to faster methods of communication. We expect instant answers. We listen to others in a way that we are focused simply on responding to what they are saying, rather than simply fully listening to what they are saying. We ask people how they are doing but do not even stand around to await an answer. We are sadly guilty of these things. We are also guilty of not stationing ourselves to listen to the Lord, to hear His voice. With all the noise around, with the busy schedules, and with our focus all over the place, we miss His voice. We blame Him. Today, be intentional to station yourself. Find a watchpost that works for your situation. Keep out the noise. Watch for the Lord. Listen for His voice.

“I will take my stand at my watchpost and station myself on the tower, and look out to see what he will say to me, and what I will answer concerning my complaint.” – Habakkuk 2:1 [ESV]

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Mouse Issues

I have been having issues with my computer’s wireless mouse. Sometimes it seems like it’s working and then I suddenly am moving around the mouse and nothing is happening. It has been a big issue because it keeps happening and delays my work. The frustration level started to get high and the mouse faced the results. I thought banging the mouse would fix the problem. My idea was dirt might have been on the sensor.

For the past week, I have been cracking this mouse thinking it was helping the situation. I blamed the mouse for malfunctioning. Oh how wrong I was! It wasn’t the mouse at all. It was the USB plug for the mouse. I put the blame immediately in one area. In believing the problem was one thing, I neglected to even look at anything else as the culprit.

Life is this way. When we have situations that are problematic, we have the opportunity to seek out the root cause. The Spirit reveals to us root problems; however, a big problem for us is acknowledging the Spirit’s conviction, hearing the revelation of the Holy Spirit. Many times we blame something else because it does not take us out of our comfort zone—it keeps us from being pruned and stretched the way that’s best. We stay stuck because we love to live in denial. Today, be open to the Spirit’s conviction. Do not try to be so fixated on other things that you fail to listen to God’s voice.

“But I tell you the truth, it is for your benefit that I am going away. Unless I go away, the Advocate will not come to you; but if I go, I will send Him to you. And when He comes, He will convict the world in regard to sin and righteousness and judgment.” – John 16:7-8 [NIV]

I Am Stiff Necked

We recently did a Bible study where the term “stiff necked” came up. Many people asked what does it mean to be “stiff necked”? Jokingly, I told them I am stiff necked, hence the reason I see a chiropractor. The truth is, yes, I have a stiff neck that needed extensive therapy. My lower back and my neck were the worst. But I am also stiff necked in the biblical sense of the term.

So what does this actually mean? If we would know about oxen and plowing, we would have a better understanding. When a fellow was working the plow, he would have his oxen in order, and he would use one hand on the plow and the other holding a large pole. Usually there would be two oxen together. The man who was working the field, would use the pole to touch the back of the feet of the oxen, or to touch the necks of the oxen. They did these things so that the oxen would know when to change speed, when to go straight, and when to turn. There were some stubborn oxen who didn’t like to listen. When they would have their necks poked, they would not move as ordered. They were known as hard of neck or “stiff necked.”

I admit I am stiff necked. There are times when I don’t want to move when God gives me a poke. There are moments when I chose to try to control a situation instead of giving it to God. There are times when I am supposed to turn, but I go on a different way. Today, ask God to reveal to you any areas in your life that may cause you to earn the name “stiff necked.” Chances are, like me, you are stiff necked. Don’t worry—we all fall short of the glory of God (Romans 3:23). Thankfully Jesus Christ has made a way so that we can find forgiveness despite our stiff necked issues.

“So circumcise your heart, and stiffen your neck no longer.” – Deuteronomy 10:16 [NASB]

“Do not now be stiff-necked as your fathers were, but yield yourselves to the LORD and come to his sanctuary, which he has consecrated forever, and serve the LORD your God, that his fierce anger may turn away from you. – 2 Chronicles 30:8 [ESV]

The Commands of God

In the past four days as I have taken my dogs for their daily walks, I have encountered unleashed, uncontrolled dogs. Today’s dog was a bit comical. As her master called for her to get back to her side of the street, she slowly inched her way in our direction. It was as if she thought she could slowly sneak near us and her master would maybe have a change of mind over the boundary. As I consider the barriers that we should be in place for our fur family (fences, leashes), I cannot help but think about the boundaries God has put in place for His children to keep us safe. Just like the dogs often try to sneak away from their master when not contained, we too slowly sneak away. At times, we paw at the boundary line for a long time until we finally succumb to the temptation and take the final leap toward the sin. Sometimes we slowly walk toward the line and start to think no one is watching, and we run across like a dog who has a malfunctioning underground fence.

At the end of the day, as we stroll across the boundaries that God has put in place, we find ourselves facing the consequences. For a dog escaping, the usual punishment is back to the house. Our consequences are a life apart from God. When we are actively and knowingly sinning, we are living like we are separated from God even though He lives inside of us and is ever-present. When you don’t follow the commands, you turn away from God and toward the temporary. You drown out the Spirit. You put something above God. Your life you then begin to navigate without a map or GPS, and end up off course and out of gas.

In God’s Word, we see lots of commands. These commands are not because we have a God Who wants to be making life so difficult for us like some lengthy tax code or rules that keep us from fun. The commands of God are to protect us and to promote godly living which leads to joy, to peace, and blessings. Imagine not having to wonder if something is good or bad for you. God already has broken it all down in His Word. It makes life easier. Imagine how much easier and how much more joy and peace will be in your life if you stay on the narrow path and don’t find yourself knee deep in sin. Today let us examine where we are at in life. If you are often questioning the commands of God, consider why you question them. Do you have your priorities straight? Do you think you know better? Do you question them because you truly want to find a way around them? The Bible says if you love God, you will keep His commands. It should be our aim to do just that – to honor Him in all that we do in life. It is never burdensome.

 

“For this is the love of God, that we keep his commandments. And his commandments are not burdensome.” – 1 John 5:3 [ESV]

Voice of God

One of the topics people discuss with me most is hearing from God. Many people expect to hear from God with an audible voice like in the movies. I guess they assume a voice like Morgan Freeman or James Earl Jones will speak to them, and if they do not hear a voice, God is not speaking. The truth is many people do not hear an audible voice; God speak through His Creation, through His people, through events. Most importantly, God speaks through His Word and His Spirit.

The Holy Spirit is in your gut. You may be doing something you aren’t supposed to be doing and the Spirit will say, “What are you doing? I have better for you.” Perhaps you are looking in the mirror and seeing someone who does not look how you desire, but the Spirit reminds you, “You are Mine. You are My beloved.” Maybe you are sitting in church when you feel this great need to go sit beside someone and pray with them. Or you are at work and you are eating your lunch when God tells you to go share a passage with a fellow co-worker.

God speaks. Often when He speaks, we are not listening. Often when He speaks the noises of the world are so loud we aren’t paying attention. Often when He speaks, we are expecting some audible voice to come from the sky, but He is speaking to you in a totally different way. Today go to that quiet place, the place where you are able to have your listening ears on. Just sit silently. Ask Him to speak. Ask Him to move everything away and let it be all about Him. Just listen.

“This is God’s Message, the God who made earth, made it livable and lasting, known everywhere as God: ‘Call to me and I will answer you. I’ll tell you marvelous and wondrous things that you could never figure out on your own.’” – Jeremiah 33:2-3 [MSG]

Crinkling Plastic

As I turned around to head out the door and walk my sister out, I told the dogs to stay. Max and Marci both stopped and stood at attention. They immediately obeyed my words and I continued onward to see my sister out. But as I was opening the door and saying goodbye, I could hear a crinkling of plastic. I knew that although Max had remained where he was and obeyed my command, Marci went over to the garbage on a scavenger hunt because her Master turned her back.

There are a bunch of Maxes and Marcis of the world. Sometimes we are one and then sometimes we find ourselves as the other. It is easy to obey at some moments, more so than others. But we are to obey every time. Our obedience should not change because of situations or circumstances. With God, His back isn’t turned. I don’t know if we forget His eyes see the crinkling plastic before human ears would hear it. Or perhaps we think that some things aren’t so bad as others—we must obey this list of “written in stone” items like “don’t steal” or “don’t kill” but there is a separate list of “not so important” things that are negotiable.

Obedience isn’t a word we like to hear. It means that we submit to authority. It means we might not do what we necessarily desire. As you walk with Christ, you will find obedience comes a little easier. Yes, it still may be a challenge, but there’s a greater desire to do God’s will and follow His way as you grow. You start to want what He wants. You start to see that His “rules” are for your benefit. Yes, God wants what is best for you. And when you realize that and when you fall head over heels in love with Jesus, you want nothing more than to walk in obedience.

“But those who obey God’s word truly show how completely they love him. That is how we know we are living in him.” – 1 John 2:5 [NLT]

Dead End or God Delight

“A whole, healed, put-together life right now, with more and more of life on the way.” It is possible. There’s no 12 step program, no self improvement book, no quick fix. Today’s passage speaks of the “delight of listening to God telling you.” There’s always a choice. God’s delight or a dead end.

I have come upon many dead ends in my life. Thankfully when I approach, I am able to turn the car around and go in the other direction. When it comes to life, if you are approaching the dead end, there’s still a chance to turn around (repent) until your earthly, temporal life is over. But when that small period is finished, the dead end is just that—a dead end.

I cannot save you. I cannot make you give your life to Christ. I can tell you that Jesus Christ offers a “whole, healed, put-together life.” I can tell you that “God’s gift is real life, eternal life.” I am so grateful for the delight of listening to God. I am thankful that He has given us the opportunity despite us spending much time listening to sin. Jesus loves you and He has promised you something only He can deliver. I chose Jesus.

“As long as you did what you felt like doing, ignoring God, you didn’t have to bother with right thinking or right living, or right anything for that matter. But do you call that a free life? What did you get out of it? Nothing you’re proud of now. Where did it get you? A dead end. But now that you’ve found you don’t have to listen to sin tell you what to do, and have discovered the delight of listening to God telling you, what a surprise! A whole, healed, put-together life right now, with more and more of life on the way! Work hard for sin your whole life and your pension is death. But God’s gift is real life, eternal life, delivered by Jesus, our Master.” – Romans 6:20-23 [MSG]

Be Present

Be alert.

Be present.

God promises to do something brand new in our lives—in each of our lives if we let Him. In this passage He says that “it’s bursting out.” Other translations ask, “Do you not see it?” or “Will you not be aware of it?” And these are valid questions for us all.

In life today it is so easy to be alert to so many different things all at once. We love to multi-task. We cannot keep focus on only one thing. We find ourselves thinking about our past and thinking about our future. We find ourselves overwhelmed; too busy to pay attention to what is right in front of us. We find ourselves with our noses in our smartphones or buried in work, too occupied to look up.

This passage says to be alert, to be present—to pay attention because God’s doing something new for His people. Guess what? He’s doing something right now in your life. Yes, YOUR LIFE. You can be present. You can be alert. You can take heed and be a part of this great thing or you could miss it all. Don’t you see it? Will you not be aware of it? Today, I pray you are alert. Today, I pray that you pay attention. Look. Watch. See.

“Be alert, be present. I’m about to do something brand-new.
It’s bursting out! Don’t you see it?
There it is! I’m making a road through the desert,
rivers in the badlands.”

-Isaiah 43:19 [MSG]

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They Went Anyway

If God tells you that something is not going to work, that it is out of His will, there is no way it is going to work in your favor. You cannot force God to change His mind. He doesn’t change His mind. He has a perfect plan for a reason. We don’t have a better plan. We don’t have a plan even close to perfect. I thank God again and again for not taking my plans and making them true. I have realized long ago my plans are disastrous and His ways are perfect and beautiful and amazing.

The people were told that they were not going to enter the Promised Land. They did not believe and trust God so they would stay back. After word was given, they decided they were going to go anyway. The Bible says they were reckless and arrogant and they were. They figured that if they went, God would be with them. He would allow them to be victorious though He said otherwise. Foolishly they thought that by their actions they would force His hand. Reminds me of when the devil tried to get Jesus to jump off the high area so the angels would catch Him. Guess what—it’s not a good idea to test God. His Word stands.

The people got a thrashing. They did not get to enter the area. God’s Word stood. His Word still stands today. If God is telling you not to take a particular path, not to make a certain decision, understand that you won’t force His hand. His will shall be done. Today. Tomorrow. Always.

“But they went anyway; recklessly and arrogantly they climbed to the high hill country. But the Chest of the Covenant and Moses didn’t budge from the camp. The Amalekites and the Canaanites who lived in the hill country came out of the hills and attacked and beat them, a rout all the way down to Hormah.”

– Numbers 14:44-45 [MSG]

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The Best Position

When you are attending a concert or watching a film, you like to get into the best position. You want to be able to hear. You want to be able to see. You aren’t too happy when the largest person in the place is seated right in front of you. You don’t like when you have to watch the entire football game on the big screen because from your seats the players look like ants.

In Habakkuk 2:1, he says that he is going to climb up to the watchtower. He was going up there to wait on the Lord. When he went up there, he was in the best position to wait for what God had to say in response.

You aim to get in the best position at a concert or sporting event. You aim to get in the best position in line to get the new product faster. Do you aim to be in the best position to hear what God has to say? Are you in the best position now?

“I will climb up to my watchtower and stand at my guardpost. There I will wait to see what the LORD says and how he will answer my complaint.” – Habakkuk 2:1 [NLT]

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