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Are You Listening? - A Devotion

Are You Listening?
Are You Listening?
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Matthew 13:14-16 (NLT)
“This fulfills the prophecy of Isaiah that says, ‘When you hear what I say, you will not understand. When you see what I do, you will not comprehend. For the hearts of these people are hardened, and their ears cannot hear, and they have closed their eyes—so their eyes cannot see, and their ears cannot hear, and their hearts cannot understand, and they cannot turn to me and let me heal them. But blessed are your eyes, because they see; and your ears, because they hear.”

Three times in my life I have heard the audible voice of God. All three times have left an indelible mark on my heart as God has spoken directly to me in the midst of my greatest need. My relationship with the Father used to be like everyone else’s prayer life. You know I would ask for forgiveness, rattle off a list of demands and then with a quick thanks by off on “my” way. As a young person, I was very frustrated with my relationship with God because there was no power in it. Knowing Jesus did not seem to be impacting my life, but rather just part of our daily routine. I read the Bible but did not understand. I went to church but left the same. Commitment after commitment to the Lord broken moments after I left. When the opportunity came for the enemy to set a trap for me, I fell for it. I had nothing to hold on to. My immature faith had not been tried and tested into steadfast hope to anchor my soul. So I drifted far from my first love. I felt so distant from God and had done so many terrible things in my ignorance thought that I could never come back to the Lord. I was too far gone. Then I heard it. In the midst of desperation, I heard His Voice. I was pregnant with my oldest daughter. I did not want to be. In a broken marriage, I did not want another responsibility to take with me. How would I care for another child with two already? Night after night I cried and cried. My body was listening and complications arose. I was told that if I didn’t change my heart that my body would answer. So I cried out to God in desperation, refusing to move until I heard His Voice. He spoke, “I am giving you the desire of your heart!” What? Where was the condemnation for years of rebellion? Where was the indignant tone of an irate parent? Where was the anger of jilted love? There was not any of that in the Voice that I heard that night. Although the circumstances of my life did not change – I did. Twenty years later, I can testify that He did give me the desire of my heart. She is everything that He promised and so much more.

The Lord still speaks to people today. Don’t read into this too closely as it is our nature to do so to excuse away the things of God that we do not understand. Hear my voice, God will speak to you today in an audible voice. In a room full of people, I will hear my child’s voice because I love them. If they cry out in distress, then I pursue them with urgency. I have to find them and protect them. I must make sure that they are okay. They tend to be more inclined to listen at that moment because they want me and need me in their despair. So it is not so hard to figure out that for most people they hear God the loudest when they are in their greatest need. However, there have also been times when my children were little that they would all be talking together in the car and I would tune them out. In casual conversation, one might say, “Mom” and I would miss it. God never misses our cry but we sometimes tune Him out because He is not the greatest influence in our life or the loudest voice. I say all this to say today that the Lord will speak to you. In fact, He probably has whispered many things that have been ignored. Today, I encourage you to examine your heart as I examine mine for any hardness that may have caused my ears to stop hearing His Voice. If our eyes cannot see, then our ears cannot hear and hearts cannot understand then we cannot receive the healing that God has for us. I want Him to restore, revive and renew my heart today. He is the Source of Life and I need Him now more than ever before. I must heart His Voice today. Are you listening?

Matthew 3:16-17 (NLT)
After his baptism, as Jesus came up out of the water, the heavens were opened and he saw the Spirit of God descending like a dove and settling on him. And a voice from heaven said, “This is my dearly loved Son, who brings me great joy.”

It seems like God is a Man of few words. He is God. The Father does not feel inclined to explain Himself nor does He has to. He is straight to the point. Each time I have heard from God it has been one sentence and could be found in His Word. Each time that He has spoken to me, it has required something from me. Faith. I had to believe God at His Word. It did not mean that I did not have to trust and believe enough to leave my comfort zone. Obviously the first time saved my pregnancy and ultimately my daughter’s life. I accepted that He was giving me my heart’s desire even though it didn’t seem like it at the time. But He did. The second time that God audibly spoke to me resulted in the miraculous healing of our youngest daughter. I stopped all her medications on cue. She was healed in that moment. Faith was required to do that considering those six medications had enabled her to breathe. The doctor was ready to call the law on us until he heard her breathing the next day. The third time is concerning our son who is battling cancer. He told me that our son would live and not die. This has been the greatest test of all. The first time, the promise came in nine months. The second was overnight. This is still ongoing after almost three years and five bouts with cancer. He is alive and well. I say this to say that when God speaks to us, it requires a response. The only acceptable one is faith. This defies human logic and rational understanding so we must know its God to be strong enough to do what He says. However, if we do not know the God we serve then how will we ever trust Him?

Matthew 17:4-6 (NLT)
Peter exclaimed, “Lord, it’s wonderful for us to be here! If you want, I’ll make three shelters as memorials—one for you, one for Moses, and one for Elijah.” But even as he spoke, a bright cloud overshadowed them, and a voice from the cloud said, “This is my dearly loved Son, who brings me great joy. Listen to him.” The disciples were terrified and fell face down on the ground.

At His Baptism, God told the world that Jesus was His Son and that He was well pleased with Him. Now on the mountain, God the Father against says, “This is my dearly loved Son, who brings me great joy.” But that’s not all…”Listen to Him.” Jesus Christ is the Word of God wrapped in human flesh who came to reveal God’s Love to His People. (John 1:14) Peter and the others had been walking with Jesus for a while. They claimed to believe that He was the Son of God so why their response when God spoke. They were terrified. They fell face down on the ground. We must get to know our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ to hear the Voice of God. Jesus Christ is the Word of God. Without the Word, God’s Voice doesn’t make any sense because when He talks to us – He uses His Word. The wise will listen to His Word. (Proverbs 1:5-6) God gave us a new life through the Word (JESUS) and now we cannot just listen to the Word but do what He says. If we could ever wrap our brain fully around the fact that Jesus Christ, God and His Word are all one then we might be ready to listen for His Voice more readily. It would not be foreign. What if God is speaking but we have closed our ears?

I absolutely hate when someone comes up to me and says, “Hey, do you remember me?” If I did not acknowledge you when I saw you, then there is a pretty good chance that “no” I do not remember you. I have a terrible memory. Names are the worst for me. My husband is my only shot at remembrance because he doesn’t forget faces and names like I do so if he isn’t around things are about to get awkward. Why would we ignore someone calling to us? If their voice is unfamiliar or we do not recognize them, we may not listen because we assume that they are speaking to someone else? Have we missed the Voice of God because we do not know the Voice of God? What does God use to communicate? He uses words just like the rest of us. But His Word is different from the world’s language. He thinks differently and therefore, speaks a whole new language. So how can we hear the Voice of God in the midst of so much background noise? We must know His Word to know His Voice. Jesus said, I only do and say what the Father tells me to. His Voice speaks the words of the Father. (John 12:49-50)

John 14:16-18 (NLT)
And I will ask the Father, and he will give you another Advocate, who will never leave you. He is the Holy Spirit, who leads into all truth. The world cannot receive him, because it isn’t looking for him and doesn’t recognize him. But you know him, because he lives with you now and later will be in you. No, I will not abandon you as orphans—I will come to you.

When Jesus left, He did not abandon us but promised to send the Holy Spirit. What a controversy He has caused? Depending on your current denomination or way of worship will determine your impression of the Holy Spirit. I have attended several different denominations over the year and from that experience I will share this. If you do not acknowledge the Holy Spirit and depend on Him heavily pursuing a greater relationship with the Father and Son – you may hear God speak but have no idea how to believe what you are hearing or do what He says. It is the day that Jesus told us about when He said true worshippers would do so in Spirit and in Truth (the Word). He gave us the Holy Spirit. (Acts 2:1-4) The Holy Spirit is responsible for transforming our mind so that we can comprehend God’s Will and Way for our life. (Romans 8:5-6) This powerful partner will help us in our ignorance and weakness even praying for us when we cannot pray for ourselves. (Romans 8:26-27) Are you looking for the Holy Spirit in your life? Do you recognize this important member of the Trinity? He is an equal partner. He lives inside of your. He will teach you everything you need to know and lead you to the Truth. God spoke to me concerning our Son more than two years ago, but the Holy Spirit reminds me of it when I get lost in the details. The Word of God validates His Claim. My faith is empowered by the Spirit and the Word to endure until the end. In this process, I have developed confident hope that allows me to trust the Lord a little more with each trial. It is the reason that I listen for His Voice and cry out for His Response. “The moment you began praying, a command was given. And now I am here to tell you what it was, for you are very precious to God. Listen carefully so that you can understand the meaning of your vision.” (Daniel 9:23) The moment you called to the Father in faith and desperation – a command was given in Heaven. You are precious to God and just a mother will search for her crying child to alleviate the pain, so He has issued a directive on your behalf. Do you want to know what it is? Are you listening?

Matthew 10:26-27 (NLT)
“But don’t be afraid of those who threaten you. For the time is coming when everything that is covered will be revealed, and all that is secret will be made known to all. What I tell you now in the darkness, shout abroad when daybreak comes. What I whisper in your ear, shout from the housetops for all to hear!”

God will meet you in your deepest need and darkest hour. He cannot stand to see His Children in any kind of distress. I know this by faith. Faith produces confident hope. I say this so many times I think some people stop listening but until the Body of Christ is victorious again I will keep shouting it from housetops and across the Internet for all to hear. You can live in victory. You can be an overcomer. You don’t have to struggle in the darkness. He is calling to you. What will your response be? In the beginning, God came to me in my deepest despair because that was when I was willing to listen. Now daily through urging and unction of His Spirit, He directs my steps. When I call to Him and wait to listen for His Command, I hear it. I cannot begin to tell you all the ways that He has blessed me whispering to my heart because I now have a willing mind. Through all the sorrows and tears that I have faced, God has remained faithful to His Word, Jesus has not abandoned me, and His Spirit keeps leading me to truth. I am listening today! Are you?

John 4:23-24 (NLT)
“But the time is coming—indeed it’s here now—when true worshipers will worship the Father in spirit and in truth. The Father is looking for those who will worship him that way. For God is Spirit, so those who worship him must worship in spirit and in truth.”