To know God, to believe in God, to Follow Jesus, We Need to Learn to Listen to His Voice. Exodus 3:1-5

When all is said and done, and the whole Truth is being Told, OUR problem when it comes to OUR listening is not God hearing us, it is us hearing God.

Softly and tenderly, Jesus is calling,
calling for you and for me;
see, on the portals he’s waiting and watching,
watching for you and for me.
Refrain:
Come home, come home;
ye who are weary come home;
earnestly, tenderly, Jesus is calling,
calling, O sinner, come home!

Exodus 3:1-5Amplified Bible

The Burning Bush

Now Moses was keeping the flock of Jethro (Reuel) his father-in-law, the priest of Midian; and he led his flock to the west side of the wilderness and came to Horeb (Sinai), the mountain of God. The [a]Angel of the Lord appeared to him in a blazing flame of fire from the midst of a bush; and he looked, and behold, the bush was on fire, yet it was not consumed. So Moses said, “I must turn away [from the flock] and see this great sight—why the bush is not burned up.” When the Lord saw that he turned away [from the flock] to look, God called to him from the midst of the bush and said, “Moses, Moses!” And he said, “Here I am.” Then God said, “Do not come near; take your sandals off your feet [out of respect], because the place on which you are standing is holy ground.”

The Word of God for the Children of God. Gloria! In Excelsis Deo! Alleluia! Amen.

If I were to ask you ladies if you husbands are good listeners, most of you would probably respond with a resounding: “no.”

If I were to ask you gentlemen if your wives are good listeners, most of you would probably respond in much the same way the ladies did.

If I were to ask you parents if your children are good listeners, I believe I would get a lot of “no’s.”

If I turned that around and asked you teenagers if your parents listen to you, I am sure that I would get a loud and resounding “no.”

If I were to ask each Christian man or Christian woman if you were a good listener to the voice of the Lord, I believe the answer is “no” once again even though the Bible says in John 10:27-28 that my sheep hear my voice.

In these days in which we are living in, we must learn to be good listeners if we are going to be followers of God, the Father, His Son Jesus and the Holy Spirit.

Do you know who the best listener is?

It is God.

All the way from the very deepest place in all eternity – God heard!

In the Book of Exodus, the Lord tells us (Exodus 3:7) that the Lord heard the cries of the Israelites under the cruel hand of the Egyptian taskmasters.

Psalm 5:3, the psalmist confirms that the Lord hears my prayers.

Psalm 20, the Lord confirms that He hears my cries in times of trouble.

Make no mistake about it: The Lord listens well to ALL of His Children.

Our problem when it comes to listening is not God hearing us, it is us hearing God.

In the Book of Revelation in the Lord’s messages to the seven churches John writes under inspiration of God these words, “Whoever has ears, let them hear what the Spirit says to the churches.”

And then in the Gospels Jesus used that same expression. Mark 4:23 (NKJV) 23 If anyone has ears to hear, let him hear.”

Those were Jesus’ own words and He recognized that many do not hear him.

So, I have to ask myself the question:

“What is the problem that I don’t hear God?”

And that is what we are going to look at today.

What hinders us from hearing the Lord?

To do that I want to look at the encounter at the burning bush when God spoke to Moses, and he heard clearly what God had to say.

Exodus 3:1-5International Children’s Bible

The Burning Bush

One day Moses was taking care of Jethro’s sheep. Jethro was the priest of Midian and also Moses’ father-in-law. Moses led the sheep to the west side of the desert. He came to Sinai, the mountain of God. There the angel of the Lord appeared to Moses in flames of fire coming out of a bush. Moses saw that the bush was on fire, but it was not burning up. So Moses said, “I will go closer to this strange thing. How can a bush continue burning without burning up?”

The Lord saw Moses was coming to look at the bush. So God called to him from the bush, “Moses, Moses!”

And Moses said, “Here I am.”

Then God said, “Do not come any closer. Take off your sandals. You are standing on holy ground.

Point #1

Hearing God ‘s voice will require effort on my part.

Moses took his sheep to a place where He knew that He could talk with God.

Do I make the effort to go to a place where I can talk with God?

1 Now Moses was tending the flock of Jethro his father-in-law, the priest of Midian. And he led the flock to the back of the desert, and came to Horeb, the mountain of God.

Moses lives in the land of Midian on the backside of the desert tending the sheep of Jethro, his father-in-law.

So, as we come to Exodus 3, Moses is going to take his sheep out to pasture.

But please notice here that Moses is not taking the sheep in the back pasture an acre or two from Jethro’s house. Look at a Map. Moses has set out to take them about twenty-five miles (25) miles to the pastureland around Mt. Horeb.

There were many mountain ranges near Midian, but Moses headed to a specific mountain range- Horeb.

Horeb has two meanings:

Mountain of YHWH and it is also called the Mount of God. You might have heard this Mountain also referred to a Mt. Sinai in some places. It would become the place later where God would then write, give Moses the Ten Commandments.

The fact that Moses would take those sheep that far tells me how badly Moses wanted to hear from God.

What kind of effort do you and I make to hear from God?

Are we “that” willing to get up early to seek the Lord since He gives us a promise in Scripture? 

Proverbs 8:17 (KJV) I love them that love me; and those that seek me early shall find me.

Isaiah went to the house of the Lord to hear from God, and there He meet the Lord High and lighted up.

And it was there that Isaiah carried on a conversation with God.

And Jesus would always go to a secluded place to listen to the Words of His Father.

In all three cases, there was an effort- to get up early, to go to the church house, and or to go some distance away to find a secluded place to talk to God.

What effort do we put in to listening to God?

No effort?

Then we are probably not hearing from God.

And actually, there are times that God must put you in certain places to get you to listen to Him.

I noticed that I am a pretty good listener to God when I am in a hospital bed.

I also notice that I am a good listener when troubles are attacking me at all sides.

But let me tell you what I have found out in my life.

It is so much better for me when I make more than the minimal effort to listen to God rather than just waiting for God to arrange the meeting to listen to Him.

Point# 2

Hearing God’s voice will require vigorously exercising a spiritual curiosity about what God is doing around me that a lot of Christians lack. Do I even look to see God doing things around me, do I bother to ask God “what are You trying to tell me?”

Exodus 3:2-3 (NKJV) 2 And the Angel of the LORD appeared to him in a flame of fire from the midst of a bush. So, he looked, and behold, the bush was burning with fire, but the bush was not consumed. 3 Then Moses said, “I will now turn aside and see this great sight, why the bush does not burn.”

Remember, Moses is working. He is managing a flock of sheep for his father-in-law.

Ladies, do you know how hard it is to have a conversation with your husband when he is at work?

Gentlemen, do you know how hard it is to have a conversation with your wives when they are trying very hard to prepare you your supper when you get home?

Most of you are going to get a one- or two-word answer and then bye.

Guys when they are working are single focused. Ladies are very diligent in their efforts not to undercook or burn the food, to not over or under season the meal.

I am sure there would be a lot of guys who saw the burning bush and said to themselves that is “just simply too weird” and kept on walking by. And after they passed it by, they would give no more second thought of it or about it.

Moses, on the other hand, had a spiritual curiosity, after all he did take his sheep to the Mount of God.

So, ladies, gentlemen, He may have been expecting something from God.

Moses approached near the bush and ultimately had a conversation with God.

With all the upheaval going on around us, any curious Christians should have begun a conversation with God as to why so much negativity is assailing them.

War in the Ukraine, raising prices at the Gas Pumps, Housing Costs, Student Debt, National Debt, Political intrigue, Economic Upheavals on Wall Street and other World Markets, Gun Violence, Hot button controversial topics such as the issue of Immigration, Abortion, Extremism are all making news at a rapid pace.

I would want to know: “God, are we to be preparing us for the end times?”

God are you just giving us a glimpse of what is going to happen in the future?

And that peaked curiosity starts a conversation with God just as that burning bush started a conversation between God and Moses which resulted in change.

Look for things God is doing in your life or in the world, be curious, because that just may be God’s way of reaching out wanting to start a conversation with you.

Point # 3

Hearing God’s voice will require an expectation that I am going to hear God’s voice. If I go into prayer not expecting to hear from God, I am not going to hear from God. Moses took his sheep to Mt. Horeb expecting to hear from God.

4 So when the LORD saw that he turned aside to look, God called to him from the midst of the bush and said, “Moses, Moses!” And he said, “Here I am.”

I told you that Moses came to Mt. Horeb expecting to hear from God.

Let me tell you why I believe that is the case. I have two reasons that I say that:

(1) The way that God addressed Moses by calling out his name twice Moses, Moses. In the Jewish language when two words are repeated back-to-back it is for emphasis. It is like saying Moses I have been waiting for you.

When I was a young boy if my mother hollered “Tom, Tom” meant that she had been waiting on me. God was telling Moses; I have been waiting on you.

(2) Look at Moses’ response. He did not say “Yes, Lord” but rather “here I am”. I finally made it here.

Make no mistake, Moses walked 25 miles out of his way to Mt. Horeb expecting to hear from God. And God waited for Moses to get there.

Conclusion

Verse 5 says “…for the place where you stand is holy ground.” 

Wherever it is you and God are communicating (that is talking to and listening to God) that is Holy Ground.

It could be any church house, your back porch, or 25 miles from “wherever”.

When is the last time you have been on Holy Ground?

Today, Jesus invites you to Holy Ground.

Will you come talk and listen to God as the invitation is offered?

Will we try just that much harder to hear what the Lord is saying to us?

“Speak, Lord, for your Servant is Listening.”

“You have my attention, Lord, I pray my ears are hearing you correctly.”

In the name of God, the Father and God the Son and God the Holy Spirit,

Lord God, my Way-maker, I know you have a destiny for me to achieve in this life. I want to follow the plan that you have laid out. Help me to understand and follow your call. Show me your will for my life and what I need to do right now to get started. Enable me to know who I am in Christ, and the special gifts and abilities you have given me. Give me the spirit of wisdom and revelation as I seek to know you more intimately. Gloria! Alleluia! Alleluia! Alleluia! Amen.

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From defeat and disobedience, from testing God to acceptance. How do we hear Him when He speaks? 1 Samuel 3 

The core Truth of the whole matter for believers is this: God means what he says. From the first line to the last line of the Word of God, what God says goes. His powerful Word is sharp as a surgeon’s scalpel, cutting through everything, whether doubt or defense, laying us open to listen and obey.

Nothing and no one can resist the revelation of God’s Word.

There is absolutely no escape from the revelation of God’s Word.

We cannot avoid it, nor can we get away from it—no matter what.

1 Samuel 3:1-11Easy-to-Read Version

God Calls Samuel

The boy Samuel was Eli’s helper and served the Lord with him. At that time the Lord did not speak directly to people very often. There were very few visions.

Eli’s eyes were getting so weak that he was almost blind. One night he went to his room to go to bed. The special lamp in the Lord’s temple[a] was still burning, so Samuel lay down in the temple near where the Holy Box was. The Lord called Samuel, and Samuel answered, “Here I am.” Samuel thought Eli was calling him, so he ran to Eli and said, “Here I am. You called me.”

But Eli said, “I didn’t call you. Go back to bed.”

So Samuel went back to bed. Again the Lord called, “Samuel!” Again Samuel ran to Eli and said, “Here I am. You called me.”

Eli said, “I didn’t call you. Go back to bed.”

Samuel did not yet know the Lord because the Lord had not spoken directly to him before.[b]

The Lord called Samuel the third time. Again Samuel got up and went to Eli and said, “Here I am. You called me.”

Finally, Eli understood that the Lord was calling the boy. Eli told Samuel, “Go to bed. If he calls you again, say, ‘Speak, Lord. I am your servant, and I am listening.’”

So Samuel went back to bed. 10 The Lord came and stood there. He called as he did before, saying, “Samuel, Samuel!”

Samuel said, “Speak. I am your servant, and I am listening.”

11 The Lord said to Samuel, “I will soon do things in Israel that will shock anyone who hears about them.

The Word of God for the Children of God. Gloria! In Excelsis Deo! Alleluia! Amen

Every Single Day, The Word of God for the Children of God reveals Truth ….

The heavens tell about the glory of God.
    The skies announce what his hands have made.
Each new day tells more of the story,
    and each night reveals more and more about God’s power.
You cannot hear them say anything.
    They don’t make any sound we can hear.

Except, in the days of Eli the Judge, we read 1 Samuel 3:1 when the central truth of the day was – “the word of the Lord was [indeed] precious but there were no open visions.” God was still revealing Himself, but the people had gone numb.

The Judge Eli had grown old and was nearly blind – both physically, spiritually.

I can particularly relate to the opening verse of the reading from 1 Samuel.

“During the time young Samuel was minister to the Lord under Eli, a revelation of the Lord was uncommon and vision infrequent.”

For Judge Eli it took several tries before the source of the message to Samuel became apparent. In today’s world perhaps we have come not to expect such revelation.

Perhaps this lack of expectation has led us to become bad listeners. (I know this is one trait which is lacking in my prayer and in my family interactions as well.)

Perhaps it’s the incredible effort it takes to be a Godly family (Ephesians 6:1-3), to raise children according to Proverbs 22:6 Train up a child in the way he should go [teaching him to seek God’s wisdom and will for his abilities and talents], Even when he is old he will not depart from it, contrary to the noise of counter-culture.

It is perhaps all of the continuous distractions and extraneous noise we hear as we walk or ride or drive down the street with both our ear buds stuck in our ears blaring and blasting all of our favorite music collections over all of the car horns telling us to move or turn faster – we don’t hear the siren directly behind us, so, in disobedience, we do not pull over to the side of the road as the law requires.

Then, as fate and luck would have it, we also fail to notice the police car who has turned their lights on, who pulls in behind us, then gives us a blast of his siren.

Perhaps it is our 21st century Being Christian and Being Church and Doing Life.

It is impossible for one person to reach the whole world. What about people groups reaching people groups? What about communities of faith reaching out together to other communities? Indeed, there are no lone-ranger Christians.

Being Church is not about personal devotions or individual heroics.

It is about 21st century living as a Church by God weaving together visible faith through “gospel communities.”  

This means doing church isn’t about activities within a church building. It means flourishing Christian witnesses all over our world.

In sum total, considering 1 Samuel 3:1 as it communicates and relates to us, we fail to notice the obvious things which makes God the biggest difference in life.

As the blind and aged and spiritually numbed Eli failed to recognize God’s voice when the youthful Samuel came rushing from his place of sleep to Eli’s room.

I fail, you fail, we all fail to recognize the voice of God because, perhaps, in our own day and age, visions and revelations are too easily believed to be much too infrequent or even more significantly, (GASP) non-existent.

How do we hear God when He speaks?

First Samuel 3:1 shows us a picture of God’s faithfulness to speak to us even when we have ignored Him in the past.

When God Speaks

In 1 Samuel 3, we read that Samuel was serving God without yet knowing Him. The very same thing happens today, doesn’t it? Many people are “religious”, and they adhere to perfunctory rules without having a relationship with Him.

The people of Israel had cut themselves off from the Lord, and so the Lord had cut Himself off from them.

For this reason, we read in 1 Samuel 3:1,

“Word from the Lord was rare in those days.” He no longer communicated with His people because they turned a whole society, a whole community, a whole culture of collective deaf ears to Him. They just did not listen to Him.

Even Samuel did not recognize the voice of God when God called him.

But Eli, as dim as he had grown spiritually, realized that God was speaking.

Even through his own spiritual numbness, He told Samuel to respond to God and listen to whatever He had to say. Samuel obeyed, listening as God told him that the line of Eli would be destroyed as a result of sin.

This prophecy reveals a major transition in the history of Israel, marking the moment Samuel became a true servant of the Lord, a recipient of His word.

Today, a keyway we hear from God is through reading the Word and through prayer. God is not silent when we read Scripture; He is faithful to teach us.

Because of God’s immeasurable measure of faithfulness, through our own sin of spiritual numbness, spiritual unawareness, we should turn to God, “shake out the cobwebs” train ourselves to hear His voice, listening when God speaks to us.

In the time of Samuel revelations and visitation from God were uncommon. So much so that when the Lord called Samuel, he did not recognize that it was the Lord. He thought his teacher was saying his name.

He couldn’t even imagine that the Lord would call to him. But once he realized that it was, in truth, the Lord, he was of course happy to do the Lord’s bidding.

I’m afraid we are in times like Samuel’s. Revelations and visitations from God seem uncommon now. In fact, today if people would say that God spoke out loud to them, they would be viewed as insane. People seem to think that God is far away, or at least does not directly and physically interact with people.

Someone like Samuel, hearing his name called out loud, might himself suspect insanity instead of a visitation from God. But I truthfully believe God does call to us and does reveal himself and visit. Maybe not with an audible voice, but in far more subtle ways in our everyday lives.

All the time, all around us there are opportunities to help others physically and spiritually. In the Gospel, Jesus is healing people, and when others ask for him, he says “Let us move on to the neighboring villages so that I may proclaim the good news there also. That is what I have come to do.” (Mark 1:38, Luke Chapter 15)

Every day there are opportunities for us to proclaim the good news. We are here to do his will, and that is to help people however we can.

Last month during the Easter season, I saw many opportunities from God to help someone heal. Every day God was asking me to make a sacrifice and help. And so, every day, I would re-devote myself to God’s Word by these devotions I send out literally into the whole world so God can “shake out our cobwebs!”

It’s not a lot, but whatever I can do. And I am grateful for this opportunity from God to be able to help in whatever way I can. From my dining room into God’s Kingdom, it’s only a tiny bit, but when God calls, we should all do what we can.

Every day we look around us at all the opportunities there are to proclaim the good news, we need to hear Samuel when he realized he was being called. We need to look around us and say, “Speak, for your servant is listening.”

We need to hear the Lord when he calls.

When we hear or see vast numbers of the opportunities for doing good for God’s sake, we need to do God’s bidding.

“Here am I, Lord, I will come to do your will.”

“Here am I, Lord; I have come to do your will.”

In the name of God, the Father and God the Son and God the Holy Spirit,

Let us Pray,

I am no longer my own, but thine.
Put me to what thou wilt, rank me with whom thou wilt.
Put me to doing, put me to suffering.
Let me be employed for thee or laid aside for thee,
exalted for thee or brought low for thee.
Let me be full, let me be empty.
Let me have all things, let me have nothing.
I freely and heartily yield all things to thy pleasure and disposal.
And now, O glorious and blessed God, Father, Son and Holy Spirit,
thou art mine, and I am thine.
So be it.
And the covenant which I have made on earth,
let it be ratified in heaven.
Alleluia! Alleluia! Alleluia! Amen

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Those Who have Ears let them Hear what the Lord God is saying to them Today. Please make their Ears Tingle.

“He who has ears for hearing, let him listen with them” Benedict of Nursia

Truth: You and I are the children of a loving God who is desperately jealous for the entirety of your heart. From beginning to the end, God’s Word illustrates a truth that spans beyond the ears of this world and into the fullness of eternity.

Truth: You and I have an enormous, God sized opportunity in this life either to give our whole hearts to God and receive an eternal reward, or give our whole hearts to the world, which will only lead to destruction.

Truth: We can each choose, either surrender all that we are and have to the perfect, pleasing Words of our heavenly Father or seek fulfillment, pleasure, status, wealth in that which has little to do with God’s Kingdom, belongs to the world alone.

The absolute best way we can ensure our lives are fully surrendered and wholly available to the Father is to spend the first moments of our day alone with him.

If we are going to make the most of this life, we must set aside time to assess our thoughts, actions, and emotions. We must make time to take an honest look at our lives and discover whether we are truly living for God or for the world.

And in response to a daily assessment, we must consistently engage in the process of listening for the voice of God through Word of God so that our lives may be encouraged and empowered by the forgiveness and love of the Father.

God longs for your life here on earth to impact eternity. He is a Father who has perfect plans to bless you in ways you cannot imagine. But God cannot bless that which is not best. He cannot reward you for doing that which is destructive.

Hear the Word of God. Choose to center your life around meeting with God that you might store up a wealth of eternal treasure in your daily thoughts. Open all of your heart unto the Holy Spirit every morning that he may reveal anything that’s keeping you from experiencing the fullness of life Jesus died to give you.

Surrender your life to the God who has greater things in store for you than you can ask or imagine. And experience the peace and joy that comes from allowing God to have the entirety of your life to bless and fill with his glorious nearness.

1 Samuel 3:11 Authorized (King James) Version

11 And the Lord said to Samuel, Behold, I will do a thing in Israel, at which both the ears of every one that heareth it shall tingle.

The Word of God for the Children of God. Gloria! In Excelsis Deo! Alleluia! Amen.

I want to start this devotional out by telling two brief stories.

The first is: – There once was a man that whispered, “God, speak to me.” And a meadowlark sang. But the man did not hear.

So, the man yelled back, “God, speak to me!” and Thunder rolled across the sky. But the man did not listen.

The man looked around and said, “God, let me see you.” and stars too numerous to count shone brightly. But he noticed it not.

The man then shouted, “God, show me a miracle.” as he looked down upon his newborn son sleeping in his crib. But the man was unaware.

So, the man cried out in despair, “Touch me, God, and let me know that you are here!” Whereupon God reached down, touched the man. But the man brushed the butterfly off of the back of his hand and walked on into the living room.

The second story is: – A man was having difficulty communicating with his wife and concluded she was becoming hard of hearing. So, he decided to conduct a “hearing” test without her knowing about it.

One evening he sat in a chair on the far side of the room. Her back was to him, and she could not see him. Very quietly he whispered, “Can you hear me now?”

There was no response.

Moving a little closer, he asked again, “Can you hear me now?” Still no reply.

Quietly he edged closer and whispered the same words, but still no answer.

Finally, he moved right in behind her chair and said, “Can you hear me now?”

To his surprise and chagrin, she responded with irritation in her voice, “For the fourth time, YES! I can hear you just fine! Didn’t you hear me shouting back?”

The Premise of these 2 stories is:

1.) When God speaks make sure you do not miss out on His blessing because it is not packaged the way you expect.

2.) The hearing problem is never with God not speaking but 1000% us not listening!

Life is full of twists and turns that require both big decisions, small decisions, adjusting to major life changes, and tackling day-to-day living.

It seems like there are plenty of people out there who are ready to give you advice—in books, on television, at the office.

But is that the counsel we really need?

If we entertain too many different influences, thoughts and opinions, it can lead to confusion. In the midst of it all, you may feel uncertain that you are hearing the one voice you absolutely long to hear most—the voice of God.

God is a speaking God, and He speaks to His children every day. We have the wonderful opportunity to listen to Him and learn to hear His voice.

To what measure or degree do we believe our ears being “tingled” by something or someone other than God today?

Do we believe the Word of God for His Children can still influence us today?

Do we believe the voice of God can still be our influencer?

We don’t have to go through life being influenced through hearing others’ opinions of life, or blindly making decisions or relying on our own listening skills and hearing abilities or disabilities.

Truth: God created each and every one of the complexities of our body. That, of course includes the anatomy and physiology of our ears and brain to interpret.

As much as we can or cannot hear ourselves think through a jumble of worldly noises and countless distractions, we can hear God clearly and consistently if we are each studious and disciplined to read The Word of God for His children.

“He who has ears for hearing, let him listen with them” Benedict of Nursia

“He who has ears for hearing, let him listen with them” Benedict of Nursia

In the name of God, the Father and God the Son and God the Holy Spirit,

Let us Pray,

Father, in the Name of Jesus, I thank You that You desire to speak to me every day—guiding me in spirit and in truth to obey Your Word and enjoy an abundant life. I thank You that You have called me Your friend and that I may come boldly to the throne of grace to find help whenever I have a need in my life. Lord, Let me Hear!

Lord, Your Word says that when we draw near to You, You will draw near to us. So, I draw near to You today. I seek Your face, Your truth and Your word for my life. I want to know You more, hear You more and obey You more. Help me, my Creator, to feel more and more confident each day in knowing that I hear Your voice. Alleluia! Amen.

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God speaks into One ear, and we end up coming out the other. Our habit of Selective Listening, Elective Hearing.

“I do not know why I should say anything to anyone anymore. It only goes in one ear and comes straight out the other with no stops anywhere in between!”

George Stewart – In One Ear and out the Other (1978) Lyrics

When someone talks, be sure you listen
When someone speaks, be sure you hear
‘Cause only if you listen to what they say
Then what they say will be perfectly clear

Don’t let it go in
One ear and out the other
Don’t let it go in
One ear and out the other
Don’t let those messages slip away
Be sure you know, you know what people say
Don’t let it go in
One ear and out the other
Don’t let it go in
One ear and out the other

When someone talks, you’re gonna listen
When someone speaks, you’re gonna hear
‘Cause if you really listen to what they say
Then what they say will be perfectly clear

Don’t let it go in
One ear and out the other
Don’t let it go in
One ear and out the other
Don’t let those messages slip away
Be sure you understand what people say
Don’t let it go in
One ear and out the other
Don’t let it go in
One ear and out the other

Don’t let God’s messages slip away
You’ll understand what the King of Heaven says
Don’t let it go in
One ear and out the other

Listen to what people say
Listen to what people say

When teachers talk, children will listen
When parents speak, the kids will hear
If everybody listens to what they say
Then what they say will be perfectly clear

Don’t let it go in
One ear and out the other
Don’t let it go in
One ear and out the other
Don’t let those messages slip away
Be sure you know, you know what people say
Don’t let it go in
One ear and out the other…

1 Kings 22:13-18 New American Standard Bible

Micaiah Predicts Defeat

13 Then the messenger who went to summon Micaiah spoke to him saying, “Behold now, the words of the prophets are [a]unanimously favorable to the king. Please let your word be like the word of one of them, and speak favorably.” 14 But Micaiah said, “As the Lord lives, whatever the Lord says to me, I shall speak it.”

15 When he came to the king, the king said to him, “Micaiah, should we go to battle against Ramoth-gilead, or should we refrain?” And he said, “Go up and succeed, for the Lord will hand it over to the king!” 16 Then the king said to him, “How many times must I make you swear that you will tell me nothing but the truth in the name of the Lord?” 17 So he said,

“I saw all Israel
Scattered on the mountains,
Like sheep that have no shepherd.
And the Lord said,
‘These people have no master.
Each of them is to return to his house in peace.’”

18 Then the king of Israel said to Jehoshaphat, “Did I not tell you that he would not prophesy anything good regarding me, but only bad?”

The Word of God for the Children of God. Gloria! In Excelsis Deo! Alleluia! Amen.

One problem that plagues the church of our day is the plague of “Selective Hearing”. In other words, we hear only that part of a message that agrees with our own point of view, and we discard anything that doesn’t agree with us.

As a retired professional Psychiatric Registered Nurse, I have often run into this attitude in counseling sessions. I know that the first duty, and probably the most important thing that we can do as a counselor is to just sit and listen as those who come for counseling sit, vent their feelings, frustrations and anger.

Most often people who want to counsel really don’t want to hear the truth, or to even hear the counselor’s opinion, they just want to talk to someone who will listen and then return their self-opinion of what is wrong. That’s all they want.

This is the story of Ahab, King of Israel, who persuades Jehoshaphat, King of Judah to join him in a battle for Ramoth-Gilead. Syria had won this territory from Israel in a battle some three years prior and had occupied it for all that time. Now Ahab wanted it back.

Ahab was the evilest king that Israel ever had.

In the beginning of I Kings chapter 21 we can read the story of how that he wanted to purchase or trade a vineyard from Nabaoth that was adjacent to the king’s palace.

When Nabaoth refused to trade or sell the land of his ancestors, Ahab went into his room, crying, pouting, lying across his bed, refused to eat like a spoiled brat.

His wife Jezebel came in and made matters worse by plotting to get the vineyard for nothing. She sent word to all the nobles in the city to call a fast and to place Nabaoth in a high position among the nobles. Then she had hired two “sons of belial” or sons of the devil, to falsely accuse Nabaoth of blasphemy against God.

Nabaoth was stoned to death and the king took the vineyard by default.

In 1 Kings 21:25 we read God’s opinion of the character of Ahab, “But there was none like unto Ahab, which did sell himself to work wickedness in the sight of the LORD, whom Jezebel his wife stirred up.”

Just to make a quick point here, I know that Ahab had to answer for his own evil heart, and he really had no one to blame for his idolatry than himself.

He could have chosen to not listen to Jezebel. But I wonder if he would have been a better king if he had not married an idolatrous and evil plotting queen?

She certainly pressed him on to disobey God and fall deeper into sin. Jezebel was a heathen princess, beautiful to look upon, but with a heart of malicious sin!

I wonder about Ahab since he does repent at one point because he recognized the judgment of God that was to come but Jezebel wouldn’t allow that to happen for long.

Throughout his reign as King, Ahab had been held accountable to his evil deeds by the prophets of God who dared stand up to him.

One of those prophets was Micaiah.

Micaiah was well known in the court of Ahab because Micaiah had come time and again to warn Ahab of the consequences of his evil deeds. Ahab dreaded the appearance of Micaiah, yet he knew that he could not kill Micaiah or face the wrath of the people of Israel who had confidence in the prophet.

Now Ahab’s heart was set for war to regain his lost territory and to regain his prestige in the land of Israel. No king would sit for long without attempting to win back that which was taken from him in battle and Ahab was no different.

Ahab, evil though he was, still understood that Israel needed to think that the Lord God was with them before they went into battle, so he called for 400 “prophets” to come and prophesy for his coming victory over Syria.

These so called “prophets” were nothing more than “yes men” or false prophets who ticked the ears of Ahab and always had good things to say to him.

After all, that was exactly what Ahab wanted to hear and they were no fools.

If Ahab didn’t like your prophecy, he could, without a second thought, or fear of recrimination, simply put you to death. As a result of this threat hanging over them, they told Ahab exactly what they thought Ahab would want to hear.

Have you ever felt that you needed an answer from God concerning anything in your life, but you were afraid of what the answer would be?

It’s far more pleasant to have someone say something good about your life than to hear the truth.

In fact, we often go to great lengths so that we don’t have to hear the truth. We will choose to talk to and listen to only those who we already know will agree with us. We avoid anyone who may want to disagree with us like a plague.

We don’t want to really know the truth. We just want someone else to just agree with us and put a stamp of approval on what we wanted in the first place.

It is as though their agreement with us gives us a false sense of being right and we rush headlong into disobedience of the Word of God.

All 400 of these false prophets and “yes men” prophesied good things to Ahab.

They foretold of great victories, of the coming glory to Ahab and Jehoshaphat in the war just ahead, but Jehoshaphat wasn’t satisfied with their prophesying.

Something just seemed to be wrong. It was as though all of these 400 men had planned in advance to all say exactly the same thing much as a bunch of parrots.

Ahab was content to hear what he wanted to hear and didn’t care if it were true or not. Either that or he just disregarded anything disagreeable that anyone had said and decided to do what he wanted no matter what the prophets foretold.

But Jehoshaphat still feared God and asked if there were any prophets in Israel who were not “yes men” to the king? Was there one man, in all of Israel, who would truthfully give the Word of the Lord without fear of Ahab’s revenge?

Sometimes we have to stand alone in our faith in God. Remember this: that God alone makes a majority and it’s always best to be on his team regardless of how many people raise up, shout, disagree or stand against you and persecute you.

Matthew 10:28 says it another way,

“… fear not them which kill the body but are not able to kill the soul: but rather fear him which is able to destroy both soul and body in hell.”

Just think about it.

Even if we lose the battle of “political correctness” and “theological semantics” with men, we still win with God as long as we speak all truth from God’s Word.

Ahab was so determined to do his own will and to hear nothing but positive things that he did his best to keep any negative prophet from coming into his court but now he had no choice for he knew that Jehosphaphat would not join him in the battle unless a true prophet of God were brought forth.

Ahab hated Micaiah! He despised this true man of God. Ahab is like so many in our churches today who would rather believe a lie than to hear the truth.

Speaking of the last days and the coming of the man called the “Antichrist,” Paul had this to say about the hearts of the people who were on the face of the earth at that time, “And for this cause God shall send them strong delusion, that they should believe a lie: That they all might be damned who believed not the truth but had pleasure in unrighteousness.” 2 Thessalonians 2:11-12

Right now, the only thing that keeps Satan at bay is the Holy Spirit operating through the church as a watchdog against Satan’s evils.

Matthew 24:36-41 NIV

The Day and Hour Unknown

36 “But about that day or hour no one knows, not even the angels in heaven, nor the Son, [a] but only the Father. 37 As it was in the days of Noah, so it will be at the coming of the Son of Man. 38 For in the days before the flood, people were eating and drinking, marrying and giving in marriage, up to the day Noah entered the ark; 39 and they knew nothing about what would happen until the flood came and took them all away. That is how it will be at the coming of the Son of Man. 40 Two men will be in the field; one will be taken and the other left. 41 Two women will be grinding with a hand mill; one will be taken and the other left.

What do you think will happen when the true church, the Body of Christ, is taken away in the rapture?

I shudder to think of the flood of evil, sin and great debauchery that will cover the earth to an even greater depth than the flood of water in Noah’s day.

Yes, Jesus said, just as it was in the days of Noah, evil will abound, and the heart of man will be deceived into believing a lie from the devil that will end in man’s eternal damnation.

As we can see that spirit of the antichrist was already living in the heart of Ahab and he loved the lies more than the truth.

It would eventually bring destruction upon him and his household.

It was foretold in I Kings chapter 21 that anyone of Ahab’s house who died in the city would be eaten by the dogs and anyone who died outside of the city would be eaten by the fowls of the air, and that Ahab’s own blood would be licked from the city streets by dogs.

The fearsome news of these prophecies had actually brought Ahab to a place of repentance for a while, but his repentance was short lived. As soon as the shock had passed and he had time to forget about it, he was back to business as usual.

Ahab warned Jehoshaphat that Micaiah would have nothing good to say.

Ahab had never heard one prophetic utterance from the mouth of this prophet to encourage him in doing what Ahab wanted to do.

Ahab never realized that the reason he never heard any good thing is that he was continuing to walk in disobedience to God. How could he expect to hear anything good when all he did was evil in the sight of God?

There are many in the church today who say preachers who preach full gospel messages of impending judgment from God are just negative individuals who should be disregarded or even silenced so that peace could reign.

Most people don’t want to hear the truth. They love to hear teaching of love, mercy, grace and they praise those voices that foretell those better times are soon coming and that man will ultimately usher in his own age of peace and prosperity.

The truth is this – They simply don’t want to hear the full truth.

What they fail to understand is that it is only those preachers who are telling the truth. All others are false prophets who have the spirit of antichrist to deceive as many as possible into believing their lies.

There are multitudes of “ministers” who claim to be God’s messengers to the church who refuse to even admit that judgment is coming.

Their message of peace and prosperity is very easy to swallow but leads to a complacent, weak, even dead church that will face eternity without God.

It is God’s “very toughest” expressions of love, mercy and grace that allows his true ministers to speak the truth of the coming judgment so that perhaps some will come to God in true repentance through the true preaching of the gospel.

Ahab sent a messenger to get Micaiah.

This messenger was convinced that Ahab was the one to follow.

I read this passage over and over again and I cannot help but wonder if he really genuinely understood where Ahab was leading him?

Like so many so-called “Good Sunday Christians” in our modern-day church, he was only faithfully going to go so far following the orders of the king (the preacher) and didn’t question whether he was really in the will of God or not.

In fact, he copied his leaders thoughts, actions and mannerisms and even attempted to stop trouble by asking Micaiah to say the same things that the other 400 prophets said so that there would be no trouble.

Are we aware enough to know that by our selective hearing, sometimes the lie of the “sons of belial” comes from the lips of those who we think are spiritually minded? If we are not very careful, we can also be one of those used to hinder or even stop the flow of the Holy Spirit and spread the lies of Satan to stop the truth from being told?

Micaiah came into the court of Ahab, with Jehoshaphat listening, and began to say the same thing that all of the other prophets had said. He “prophesied” of great victory for Ahab against Syria.

But Ahab believed he knew, in his heart, that Micaiah was just mocking him.

1 Kings 22:16, “And the king said unto him, How many times shall I adjure thee that thou tell me nothing but that which is true in the name of the LORD?”

Even in his sinful condition Ahab knew the difference between the truth and a lie. “All right, quit mocking, and tell me the truth. I know you have something negative to say, so just get it over with,” was the attitude of Ahab as he spoke to Micaiah.

The world knows the difference between the truth and the lie. So does every member of the church. The Holy Spirit will ever be a reminder of what is truth and what is not. Even when we refuse the listen and obey the truth, we will still know when we are in disobedience.

We can harden our hearts, refuse to repent, and continue in sin but our own heart will condemn us because God won’t let us forget what the truth is.

No man will have an excuse when we stand before God in judgment. Every man will know exactly where he stands before he ever faces God.

We can keep on practicing Selective Hearing but that will be no excuse for living in disobedience to God’s Word. Ignorance of the Law is no excuse in the courts of man and it will be no excuse in the court of the Lord God either.

Now the truth was said as God directed Micaiah – Ahab would be defeated, and the people of Israel would be scattered as though they had no shepherd.

What was Ahab’s reaction? 

1 Kings 22:16, … Ahab looked over at Jehoshaphat in total disgust and said something like this (just like our modern thinking), “Didn’t I tell you? He never has a good prophecy for me! Everything he tells me is nothing but bad news!”

“That’s why I didn’t want to call him in the first place! Now look at what you have forced me to do. I didn’t want to hear any negative! All I ever wanted was positive talk! Now it’s going to take me all day to get that negative thought out of my mind! These just ruins everything!”

You have to have Father, Son and Holy Spirit positive thoughts, picture their victory in your mind, write good slogans all over the refrigerator, the mirrors in the dressing room and everywhere to get the right results, not hear and listen to some negative old prophet with a message of repentance and acknowledgment God’s truth isn’t always going to be the palatable to eat and pleasant to hear.

It’s not always sweet to taste and easy to swallow. Sometimes it’s downright the most bitter food to take into our mouths. But, like a bad tasting medicine that helps us to heal, if the truth of God is heard and obeyed it brings healing to our souls, healing to our land and life that is more abundant and eternal.

One of the saddest parts of this whole scenario is that King Jehoshaphat was also fooled and became an unwitting part of Ahab’s disobedience.

Here was a king who was attempting to live in God’s will. He had every solid appearance of being a good king except for one all important things. He didn’t remove the idols from Judah that were already there when he became king.

Because he was used to compromising, it was easy for him to be led astray by Ahab. When the battle started, he was chased from the battlefield by the Syrians who thought that he was Ahab.

Meanwhile, Ahab disguised himself so that he would be harder to find and kill.

How many ministers do we know which have disguised themselves and have gone into deep hiding or have simply blended in with the rest of their misled congregations? They have trapped themselves and others by their own lies.

You can’t hide from God (Psalm 139). His judgments are sure! Whether you believe them or not, or whether you accept them or not, is immaterial! The fact is that God’s judgments will come, and his perfect will must be accomplished.

How does this prophetic story end? The hidden Ahab was shot by a stray arrow.

One of the Syrian archers just drew back his bow and shot into the air at no specific target. That arrow was like a guided missile, led by the laser sight of God’s own hand of judgment, it struck Ahab right between the shoulder blades.

Ahab died in his chariot. His blood was washed from the chariot at the same spot where Nabaoth died, and the dogs licked up Ahab’s blood from the ground.

God’s judgments are sure!

Ahab died because he had selective hearing! He only heard and wanted to hear those things that he agreed with or that made him feel “theologically” good.

In closing let me say that we cannot afford to have selective hearing any more than Ahab could. We must hear and obey the truth of God’s Word!

There is coming a day of judgment soon. Only those who have opened their ears to hear the truth and have learned to obey God will enter Heaven’s glory. Get rid of your selective hearing and let’s hear the whole counsel of God’s truth.

In the name of God, the Father and God the Son and God the Holy Spirit,

Let us Pray,

Dear God, I desire to do according to your will. I desire to walk in your ways. I desire to have a heart that is more like yours. Lord, I desire this so I can be illuminated in my heart and mind. I pray for this because I want to recognize your word and hear your voice. I do not want to be deceived by preachers and prophets who claim to preach your word but actually are false teachers. I ask that you grant me these desires, oh Lord. Alleluia! Alleluia! Alleluia! Amen.

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Distracted from Believing in God or Driven to Holiness? Do We Wear our High-Tech or His Holy Headphones?

Back in those most ancient of days when the telegraph was the fastest method of long-distance communication, a young man had applied for a job as a Morse Code operator. Answering an ad in the newspaper, he went to the office address that was listed. When he arrived, he entered a large, busy office filled with noise and clatter, including the sounds of the telegraphs clicking in the background.

A sign on the receptionist’s counter instructed each job applicants to fill out a form, sit down and wait until they were summoned to enter the inner office.

The young man filled out his form and sat down with the seven other applicants in the waiting area. After but a few brief minutes, the young man stood up, had crossed the room to the door of the inner office, opened it and walked right in.

Naturally the other applicants perked up, wondering what was going on. They muttered among themselves that they had not heard any summons yet. They believed that the brash young man who went into the office made a mistake and because of his presumptiveness would be removed from the office, disqualified.

Within a few minutes, however, the employer escorted the young man out of the office and said to the other applicants, “Gentlemen, thank you very much for your interest and for taking time to come, but the job has just been filled.”

The other applicants began grumbling to each other, and one spoke up saying, “Wait a minute, I don’t understand. He was the last to come in, and we never even got a chance to be interviewed. Yet he got the job. That is so not fair!”

The employer said, “I’m sorry, but all the time you’ve been sitting here, the telegraph has been ticking out the following message in Morse Code: ‘If you understand this message, then do not wait, come right in. The job is yours.’ None of you heard it or understood it. This young man did. The job is his.”

Truth is: We live in a distracted world that is full of busyness and clatter.

Like those other applicants waiting in that office, people are distracted and unable to hear the message from a still, small voice of God as he speaks to them.

What about me? Am I too distracted? Am I tuned into God’s voice?

What about you? Are you too distracted? Are you tuned into God’s voice?

Do you hear him over your ultra-high-tech earphones when he speaks to you?

Are you and I distracted or are you and I listening?

Today, we are pondering this subject of “Ultra-High-Tech Holy Headphones: How to Hear God’s Voice” and the Lord and I want you to see exactly how God speaks to us through distraction so we can hear Him when He speaks to us all.

How many of you all wearing your earbuds have ever heard God speak to you?

1 Samuel 3:1-11 NIV

The Lord Calls Samuel

The boy Samuel ministered before the Lord under Eli. In those days the word of the Lord was rare; there were not many visions.

One-night Eli, whose eyes were becoming so weak that he could barely see, was lying down in his usual place. The lamp of God had not yet gone out, and Samuel was lying down in the house of the Lord, where the ark of God was. Then the Lord called Samuel.

Samuel answered, “Here I am.” And he ran to Eli and said, “Here I am; you called me.”

But Eli said, “I did not call; go back and lie down.” So he went and lay down.

Again the Lord called, “Samuel!” And Samuel got up and went to Eli and said, “Here I am; you called me.”

“My son,” Eli said, “I did not call; go back and lie down.”

Now Samuel did not yet know the Lord: The word of the Lord had not yet been revealed to him.

A third time the Lord called, “Samuel!” And Samuel got up and went to Eli and said, “Here I am; you called me.”

Then Eli realized that the Lord was calling the boy. So Eli told Samuel, “Go and lie down, and if he calls you, say, ‘Speak, Lord, for your servant is listening.’” So, Samuel went and lay down in his place.

10 The Lord came and stood there, calling as at the other times, “Samuel! Samuel!”

Then Samuel said, “Speak, for your servant is listening.”

11 And the Lord said to Samuel: “See, I am about to do something in Israel that will make the ears of everyone who hears about it tingle.

The Word of God for the Children of God. Gloria! In Excelsis Deo! Alleluia! Amen.

I’m certain by the end of this devotion, if you’re one of God’s children, you’ll be more aware of the times when God was speaking, and more aware of when God will be trying to speak to you, and if you are not one of God’s children, then you will be more aware of how you can become one and then start to hear His voice.

The first thing you got to do to hear God’s voice is Tune In. You cannot listen to your favorite music or news program on the radio unless your radio is tuned in to those stations, can you? You can’t listen to Rock if your car radio is tuned to News, can you? Well, you can’t hear God’s voice unless you are tuned in to Him.

“He who belongs to God hears what God says. The reason you do not hear is that you do not belong to God.” John 8:47

Young Samuel is lying down trying to sleep in the temple, the candles were still lit, so it’s about 2 or 3 in the morning and he cannot quite to get fully to sleep.

I believe His mind’s probably racing from everything he learned that day. You see, Samuel was perhaps 8 or 9 years old, and he was living with Eli, the priest. His mother Hannah had dedicated him unto the Lord as a baby, so Samuel as a boy learned the function of a priest under the Chief Priest – Eli.

So here Samuel is trying to get some rest and he hears somebody call his name.

He stands up, runs to Eli’s bedside and says, “Here I am, what did you want?”

And Eli’s like, “I didn’t call you, go back to bed.” So, Sammy goes back to the sack and the same thing happens. He hears somebody call his name, goes to Eli, Eli says, “It wasn’t me,” and he goes back to bed. The same thing happens a third time, and this time Eli catches on that God is the one calling Samuel.

So, Eli gives young Samuel some instruction on hearing from God and he goes back to bed, hears the voice of God, and then listens to what God has to say.

You see, at the beginning, Samuel didn’t quite know what was going on.

He believed Eli was calling him. He wasn’t tuned in to God, the Scripture says,

“the word of the Lord had not yet been revealed to him.”

If he was tuned in to God, he would have known that it was God who was speaking to him, and he would have heard clearly all the instruction that God had for him.

So, what about you?

So, what about us?

Have we tuned in to God?

Can we or can we not tell when God is genuinely speaking to us?

A man and his friend were in downtown New York City, walking near Times Square in Manhattan. It was during the noon lunch hour and the streets were filled with wall-to-wall people walking in every which direction. Cars were honking their horns, taxicabs were all squealing around corners, sirens were wailing, and the sounds of the city were almost deafening.

Suddenly, one of the men said, “I just heard some crickets.”

His friend said, “What? You must be crazy. You couldn’t possibly hear crickets in all of this ridiculous noise!”

“No, I’m sure of it,” the man said. “I definitely heard a bunch of crickets.”

Shaking his head, “That’s way beyond crazy,” said his friend.

The man quietly interrupted his friend listened carefully for a moment, and then walked across the street to a long cement planter where several shrubs were growing. He stopped, looked into the bushes, beneath the branches, and sure enough, he located several crickets. His friend was utterly amazed.

“That’s just incredible,” said his friend. “You must have super-human ears!”

“No,” said the other man. “My ears are no different from yours. You see, it all depends on what you are distracted by what you are hearing and listening for.”

“But that can’t be!” said the friend. “I could never hear crickets in this noise.”

“Yes, it’s true,” came the reply. “It depends on what you’re listening for. Here, let me show you.”

He reached into his pocket, pulled out a several coins, and discreetly dropped them down on the sidewalk. And then, with the noise of the crowded street still blaring in their ears, they noticed every head within twenty feet turn and look to check their pockets to see if the money that tinkled on the pavement was theirs.

“See what I mean?” asked the man.

“It all depends on what you are hearing and what you are listening for.”

If you have ears to hear and are actually using them to listen, you can tune in to God, it doesn’t matter what’s going on around you, you can hear Him speak.

Ok, if you really, truly, genuinely, actually, actively want to tune in to God. Well, what ultra-high-tech earphones do you and God have on right in this moment?

Speak Truth: Are any of us even close to tuning into the same frequency as God?

In the name of God, the Father and God the Son and God the Holy Spirit,

Let us Pray,

Dear Father in heaven, your Son promised that we would see him again if we wait patiently and listen to what the Holy Spirit says to us. Illuminate our hearts and send your Spirit in. All that is yours will be ours through your Spirit. I pray that I learn to quiet my mind so I can hear the Holy Spirit. I pray that I am filled with the understanding to know how to follow its guidance for me. Amen.

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Happy Mother’s Day! God’s Priceless Legacy: The Hope of Faithful Moms.

For as long as I can remember I wanted to be an archaeologist. The whole idea of my finding something buried and unseen by others appealed to me. When younger, I could be found digging in some corner of the yard. Best thing I ever found was a big old cookie tin with three small words on it – “Love, From Mom.”

And then, one day I was playing archaeologist in my dad’s old dusty library. I looked in an old, unlocked drawer on his secretary and encountered Christ. My whole life changed, but my love for a good dig didn’t. It was simply redirected.

God placed a treasure trove of priceless jewels within reach when I removed an old torn up Bible with pages falling out everywhere. Miner’s hat? Check. Pickaxe and shovel? Check. A new-born burning passion to discover God? Check, check.

Thus began my youthful lifelong search for God’s nature. The pages which had fallen out of the old Bible were from Psalm 139. I read it but really did not know what I was reading. So, I took it to Mom who was in the kitchen baking bread.

Mom took the pages and she read them. She picked me up and put me on her lap and read them to me. In this moment of youth, I realized had stumbled across something stunningly lovely: His handiwork in fashioning my mothers’ heart.

It’s easy to miss God weaving Himself into mothers and their hearts. Man can only offer up a deep, well, totally unfulfilling definition coming from myriads of greeting cards offering vast armies of “sentimental” words feebly addressing it.

Hollywood’s script writers have spent countless millions, (if not billions by now) depicting it onscreen. Yet the very truest wellspring of a mother’s heart remains mysterious. They try to depict what cannot be depicted.

What can never be depicted is this incredible truth: Our Creator God takes great care to knitting all of Himself into who we are and will become.

In examining His deep love for us, His mothering nature is quickly apparent:

Psalm 139:13-18 Authorized (King James) Version

13 For thou hast possessed my reins:
thou hast covered me in my mother’s womb.
14 I will praise thee; for I am fearfully and wonderfully made:
marvelous are thy works;
and that my soul knoweth right well.
15 My substance was not hid from thee, when I was made in secret,
and curiously wrought in the lowest parts of the earth.
16 Thine eyes did see my substance, yet being unperfect;
and in thy book all my members were written,
which in continuance were fashioned,
when as yet there was none of them.
17 How precious also are thy thoughts unto me, O God!
how great is the sum of them!
18 If I should count them, they are more in number than the sand:
when I awake, I am still with thee.

The Word of God for the Children of God. Gloria! In Excelsis Deo! Alleluia! Amen.

Our Creator takes care to knit Himself into who we are and will become. In examining His love for us, His mothering nature is quickly apparent:

“…How often I wanted to gather your children together, the way a hen gathers her chicks under her wings…” (Matthew 23:37 NASB)

How could God reference Himself as a protective mother, lest He’d poured His compassionate nature into the mother’s heart? His maternal temperament continues:

“…He will rejoice over you with joy, He will be quiet in His love, He will rejoice over you with shouts of joy.” (Zephaniah 3:17b NASB)

“Quiet in His love,” duplicates the tenderest moments between mother and child, referencing the child being fully contented and simply enjoying the closeness of its mother.

The child wants nothing more than its mother’s presence. It’s a time of very quiet love. Drawing powerful strength from her proximity alone.

Again, we see His mothering side:

“Can a woman forget her nursing child and have no compassion on the son of her womb?” (Isaiah 49:15a NASB)

Who better than the Designer of mothers could explain this nurturing side of Himself? The nourishing definition of Jehovah Jireh. Our Provider.

His provision in limitless care was famously spoken to Moses. Asking a yet unnamed God His true name, He replied, “I Am.” A statement begging to fill in the blank. “I AM everything. I AM infinite. I AM all powerful.”

Until my mother’s passing from a heart attack 1997, I took fullest possible advantage of my family membership and went straight to her for comfort.

I guess Dad understood my running past him to reach her arms.

With advancing years, hurts changed, but the source of my consolation didn’t.

I still went directly to Mom and her lap for comfort and my “momma hug”.

For through her deep and limitless kindness, forgiveness, and never-ending compassion, I came to feel God’s caring, hugging presence, I came to wholly trust God’s ever nurturing presence. He was easily recognizable in her and I very deeply valued God’s mothering heart woven tightly into hers.

The birthing process is God’s idea. He’s maternally given birth to the universe, birth to our planet, and birth to us. Most importantly He’s given us re-birth, calling us into reconciliatory relationships with Him.

Nicodemus needed clarification. He knew it impossible to reenter a mother’s womb a second time. God’s way was easier with no gestational period.

Being born-again in the Spirit granted restoration with the Father, enjoying unbroken intimacy.

Our Father in heaven is solidly our Father. His maternal nature guarantees attendance at every bird’s funeral. Keeps track of 7.2 billion heads of hair.

Tallies innumerable thoughts about us exceeding grains of sand. Stills our storms, heals our diseases, binds our broken hearts.

The most potent attribute of His mother’s heart is His lavish forgiveness of our sins. Dark sins, washed in red blood, producing robes of white righteousness.

Like the mother that deliberately forgets her child’s shortcomings, He casts our sins directionally as far as the east is from the west, and as far as the north is from the south, until sinking to the absolute floor of the Sea of Forgetfulness.

Simply stated, He is Father God with a mother’s heart.

Waiting to wipe every tear; sitting up with us through the night; and listening to our troubles—solving them while we are yet wounded, suffering, speaking.

The mother’s heart is best defined by her unselfish generosity in ongoing, unconditional giving and raising her family to become loving parents too.

Proverbs 22:6Authorized (King James) Version

Train up a child in the way he should go:
    and when he is old, he will not depart from it.

Psalm 119:9-16Authorized (King James) Version

ב  Beth

Wherewithal shall a young man cleanse his way?
by taking heed thereto according to thy word.
10 With my whole heart have I sought thee:
O let me not wander from thy commandments.
11 Thy word have I hid in mine heart,
that I might not sin against thee.
12 Blessed art thou, O Lord:
teach me thy statutes.
13 With my lips have I declared all the judgments of thy mouth.
14 I have rejoiced in the way of thy testimonies,
as much as in all riches.
15 I will meditate in thy precepts,
and have respect unto thy ways.
16 I will delight myself in thy statutes:
I will not forget thy word.

Pastor Billy Graham is quoted as saying, “Only God Himself fully appreciates the influence of a Christian mother in the molding of character in her children.”

Now listen to these other quotes you may find of particular interest:

“All I am I owe to my mother; I attribute all my success in life to the moral, intellectual and physical education I received from her.” George Washington

“All that I am or ever hope to be, I owe to my angel mother.” Abraham Lincoln

“I cannot tell you how much I owe to the solemn word of my good mother.” Reverend Charles Haddon Spurgeon

Only loving relationships provide lasting legacy and hope.

Today, Mother’s Day 2022, we will celebrate and encourage all moms in their contributions to legacy…to being that character forming mother!

Plus, we will remind each of us—parents, children, teens, and young adults, of the importance of pursuing God’s plan for relationships.

Questions for Moms and Dads

What hope do we have that our children will stand by their faith and live by their values?

What or who do you trust to impact their lives?

What are you hoping will produce relationally healthy followers?

Who had a profound effect on Jesus? (Proverbs 22:6).

What legacy are we leaving?

We certainly can’t hope for perfect children like Jesus because our children are just like us—imperfect people. But where do they go for guidance does matter.

Do they go to God’s Word?

Do they seek guidance from attentive parents?

Both Parents, even Grand-Parents must continuously pursue relationship with their children so they will “earn the right” in their child’s eyes to speak God and Jesus Christ into their lives as they begin to make their own choices.

Could you join with me and every mom here today in this hope?

Look square into your mom’s face and tell her:

“I praise God for you and Psalm 127:3 Behold children are gifts from the Lord”

Let’s fervently hope and pray that…

Our children are raised by Godly principles drawn directly from the Word of God. (Romans 15:1-6, Ephesians 6:1-3, 2 Timothy 3:10-17, Hebrews 4:12)

• Our children are more influenced and shaped by their parents and their faith than by the world.

• Our teens and young adults remain open to our input and continue to be open about the details of their physical, emotional and spiritual life.

• Our adult children want to be around us, and we regularly enjoy being around them!

Some of us may also champion the simple, but profound, hope our current family could be a little healthier or a more functional than our own childhood family.

Thank God for creating motherhood!

Today we celebrate all moms who pay the price for making a difference in us!

Thank you, Mom, for letting me feel God’s love radiate through you.

In the name of God, the Father and God the Son and God the Holy Spirit,

Lt us Pray,

A Child’s Prayer for their Mama’s on Mother’s Day

Dear God, My Creator …

I just want to say, “Thank you for my Mama!”

Thank you for the woman who gave birth to me and has loved me ever since.

I’m grateful for her impact on my life, for her presence, for her love.

Thank you for every moment she was there to pick me up from school, and every moment she helped me heal from heartbreak.

Thank you for every phone call, hug, compliment, even complaint.

Thank you that she cares.

Thank you that despite us not always getting along, our love has endured.

I’m grateful for Mama, and pray that you help me to better honor her every day.

Show me how I can express appreciation for what she has done.

Help me to see all that she has done. God, please help me practice patience when I feel like she’s being too much, or too bossy, or too much like a mom.

Honestly God, who would I be without my Mama?

I pray to you now, God, asking you to bless the remainder of her life.

Please bring her comfort when sickness and body aches occur. Please give her continued direction for her life. Keep her mind renewed.

God, I ask the remainder of her life may be enriched, that she would still feel like she has purpose to fulfill, despite having accomplished so much already.

I pray for those Mama’s who have found their eternal reward with you. They have earned their place of rest by your side, and I know you will keep her safe.

Rest well, Mama, from your labors. One day we shall worship God together!

In the name of Jesus,

Gloria! In Excelsis Deo! Alleluia! Alleluia! Alleluia! Amen.

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“When upon this earth, when my life is all said and done, God, let me have the only true desire of my heart……” My God Honoring Words and my God Honoring Thoughts. – Psalms 19:14

In the beginning of all things, God spoke into the darkness. Underneath those first spoken words which remain beyond our knowledge and comprehension I can imagine is God’s not so subtle prayer the darkness would relent of its efforts to prevent the light of life from shining, from distracting the light away from revealing the absolute glory of God in creation to all created generations.

I can imagine too, God knowing fully what God is going to do in the life of the humanity He Himself formed (Psalm 139:1-18), likewise subtly prayed that humanity would one day come to the same knowledge of God and also believe.

I can imagine David, at any given time and season in his life and turning his yes and his soul deep into the heavens, trying to count all of the stars and praising God for the complete failure in his efforts to do so. The utter majesty of God!

David raised his soul, offered up a psalm of praise to God, then concluded with these words about his words and thoughts. And they are my prayer as well.

Psalm 19:14 Amplified Bible

14 
Let the words of my mouth and the meditation of my heart
Be acceptable and pleasing in Your sight,
O Lord, my [firm, immovable] rock and my Redeemer.

The Word of God for the Children of God. Gloria! In Excelsis Deo! Alleluia! Amen.

So many of the psalms of David rejoice our hearts, as he pours forth a harmony of poetic praise to God for His merciful forgiveness and extraordinary favour.

It does not take very long for one to conclude, perhaps more than any other worship song from Israel’s great psalmist, Psalm 19 reminds us of the never-ending wonders of God’s mighty works and ways, the glories of His creative wisdom, and His most gracious acts towards the rebellious children of Israel.

The heavens above do indeed declare the beauty and splendour of our Heavenly Lord, and His magnificent handiwork is most certainly reflected in the glorious works He has performed by the might of His power.

The diverse language of nature and the spoken and unspoken poetry of the heavens above and the earth beneath, pour forth a never-ending message of unyielding worship and praise, as it proclaims the wonderful works of God.

So many of the sacred words that have been penned by Israel’s shepherd-king are prayers that have been rehearsed on the lips of many saints over centuries of time, who have found comfort, grace in his pleadings to the Lord.

From the very first utterances of those very first Words, God’s truth is revealed and forwarded into eternity for all to come to belief. For the law of the Lord is perfect, converting the soul; the testimony of the Lord is sure, making wise the simple; statutes of the Lord are right, rejoicing the heart; the commandment of the Lord is pure, enlightening the eyes; the fear of the LORD is clean, enduring forever; and all of the judgments of the Lord are true and righteous altogether.

David was a man after God’s own heart, for he realized it is not only the outside of a cup that needs to be clean and unsullied, but God desires an inner purity, which stems from a heart of flesh which is cleansed, humbled before the Lord and from whom will stream rivers of living water.

Words of worship flowing from a proud, rebellious, or unrepentant heart, are undoubtedly like an open and festering sewer to the Lord, but worshipful words flowing forth from a heart, soul and life which is pure in thought and in motive, word and deed, ascend unto the Father’s nostrils as a fragrant, sweet perfume.

And so, as David’s exuberant praise for the Lord climbs into an ever-increasing crescendo of worship and exaltation, his heart and his soul are suddenly moved into hushed prayer of submissive surrender and deep devotion, as he recognizes his own human limitations in contrast to the magnificent glory of God and cries out unto the Lord, “Let the words of my mouth and the meditation of my heart be always acceptable in Your sight, O Lord, my Rock, and my Redeemer.”

Imagine a heart (how about your heart) that meditates on the glory of the Lord and lifts up the person of the Lord Jesus, is the one that exhibits an inner grace and beauty, for such a one is willingly being transformed into the likeness of the Christ, for out of the mouth come thoughts that are conceived in the heart.

David not only understood the need for an inner cleansing and purity on a day-by-day basis, where God Himself governs and sanctifies the thoughts of the heart and the words of the mouth, but he had come to an understanding that his future promised royal Son- the coming King, the Promised Messiah – the divine days-man of Job – and the coming Seed of the virgin woman, would be the true, everlasting strength of his life, the only true Kinsman-Redeemer for his soul. 

May we, like David, in true humility of heart, sanctify the words of our mouth, the meditation of our heart, the thoughts of our minds, and the motives of our inner most being so that all we say and all we do, will be pleasing and acceptable in the sight of our precious Lord and Savior, our Rock, our Redeemer and friend.

My prayer is that the words that come out of my mouth would be pleasing to God. Not just the words I speak when I am gathered with the church. But also when I am socializing with friends. When I am talking about politics or other social issues. And when I am in debate, or dispute, with another person. May my words be filled with grace and honoring to God.

And may my thoughts also be pleasing to God. Not just when I am meditating on the words of the Bible. But also, when I am fighting traffic. When I am also stewing over some wrong done to me, or someone close to me. I pray that my thoughts always be respectful of mankind’s diversity, God honoring and pure.

The earlier part of the Psalm gives us instruction in how to accomplish this.

Immerse yourself in God’s Word. Let it fill you and root out the sin and error in your life.

The Bible has great value for those who will dwell in it.

Allow it to fill your heart and your soul. And then you will surely and certainly find that your words and thoughts will more and more be pleasing to the Lord.

In the name of God, the Father and God the Son and God the Holy Spirit,

Let us Pray,

Loving Father, the heart that meditates on the Lord and lifts up the person of the Lord Jesus, is the one that exhibits an inner grace and beauty, for such a one is willingly being transformed into the likeness of Christ.

I know that out of the mouth come thoughts that are conceived in the heart, and so I pray that, like David, in humility of heart I would sanctify the words of my mouth, the meditation of my heart, the thoughts of my mind, and the motives of my inner being so that I too am pleasing and acceptable in the sight of my precious Lord and Savior, my Rock and Redeemer. In His name I pray, AMEN.

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Encouraged to Believe. Motivated to Believe. Inspired to Believe. Desire to Believe. Make Me Acceptable in Your Sight, O LORD (Psalm 19:12-14)

As the children of God, our goal in life is to be sinless.

That means we are seeking to be imitators of God, to follow and live out the example of His Son Jesus in the ways and truths the Bible communicates. As Christians, we are all disciples of Christ and we therefore seek to imitate him, his life, truth, his attitudes and his desire to always do the will of the Father.

We are all aware that this is a lofty goal and that we will fail at times. (In fact, the more we recognize the holiness of God, the more we realize how far short we fall of being like him.) The good news is that as long as this is our goal and we are striving every day for that perfection, we confess our weakness, and our sinfulness and by His grace and mercy God promises to continue to forgive us.

As an essential part of that goal, we seek to make the words of our mouths and the thoughts of our hearts pleasing in the sight of God. Our actions begin with our thoughts and our thoughts are controlled by what we put into our minds.

So, to walk in his light, we must fill our minds with His light, the things of God, the things which are right, pure, wholesome and lovely. This means we must be ever so very careful of spiritually dining on the things of this world; the ungodly entertainment that fills the radio, television, internet and other forms of media. As a man thinks in his heart; so is he. As his heart beats so his life beats away.

We are covenanted by God to daily desire more and more of Him in our lives. As we make this our greatest desire, our most sincere effort, our heart is changed. It beats not in tune with the godlessness of the world but with God’s true life.

Is that not what we should most desire – a heart which beats to keep us upright and living? A sin corroded; sin sickened heart will die and leave us in our graves. There has to something, someone, somewhere to be more desired than a grave.

David provides us with his insights through these final verses from Psalm 19.

Psalm 19:12-14 English Standard Version

12 Who can discern his errors?
    Declare me innocent from hidden faults.
13 Keep back your servant also from presumptuous sins;
    let them not have dominion over me!
Then I shall be blameless,
    and innocent of great transgression.

14 Let the words of my mouth and the meditation of my heart
    be acceptable in your sight,
    O Lord, my rock and my redeemer.

The Word of God for the Children of God. Gloria! In Excelsis Deo! Alleluia! Amen.

So far, we have looked at what Psalm 19 teaches us about how creation recounts the glory of God and we have looked at and studied what Psalm 19 teaches us about the other book God has written, the Bible. Specifically, David praises the beauty and the perfection of the Law in Psalm 19, which raised an important question for us: As Christians, how should we read and understand the Law?

I recently heard someone helpfully explain the Law like this: Before we came to Christ, the Law was our enemy because it exposed our sin and our guilt before a holy and righteous God. But after we came to Christ, the Law became our friend because we have no better teacher than the Law for learning how to desire God to the utmost and to please the God whom we have come to know and to love.

This is what David explains in the final verses of Psalm 19

Let’s break this down into a few guiding principles to help us interpret this.

David Uses the Law to Expose His Sin, Not to Forgive It

The first thing I pray we each recognize about what David does in this prayer is that he isn’t citing the Law as evidence for his innocence.

He isn’t pointing to the Law and saying, “O LORD, my rock and my redeemer, I am innocent from hidden faults and blameless before you!”

He understands that he hasn’t yet achieved perfection under the Law.

In fact, he assumes that he has faults that are “hidden” from him.

The word used here for “errors” describes a sin that is committed in ignorance (e.g., Lev. 4:13 or Job 6:24).

The fact that the sin happened unintentionally doesn’t make it acceptable, but that kind of sin wasn’t judged as harshly as sins that were committed willfully.

David’s relationship to the Law is to use it as a “diagnostic tool” to find out where he is still guilty, and not as justifying tool to proclaim himself innocent.

This is the main contention of the New Testament writers to write strongly against the wrong use of the Law. It is not that they are rejecting the Law altogether, but they absolutely reject any idea that we can use the Law as a platform to declare ourselves righteous. The Law simply doesn’t work that way.

The only way for anyone to be saved—at any point throughout salvation history—is through their sincere heartfelt confession faith in Jesus Christ as Savior.

People like David didn’t necessarily know or comprehend the details of who Jesus would be, so they were required to have faith that God would fulfill his covenant promises, but we do know what God has done to save his people.

He sent his Son Jesus to be born under the Law so that he could fulfill the Law, perfectly obeying the Law in ways that we could not and suffering under the full weight of the curse of the Law in our place, as we ever so righteously deserved.

Jesus is our only hope for salvation—not the Law.

David Longs for Communion with God

So instead of misunderstanding David as a legalist, let’s listen more closely to his real desire. 

David wants to be blameless…

In these final verses, he pleads for God to help him to discern his ignorant sins so that he can be declared innocent from hidden faults.

(The word for “hidden” is the same word used to describe how there is nothing “hidden” from the sun’s heat in Psalm 19:6.)

Then, he asks God to graciously hold him back from presumptuous sins. And finally, he pleads that every word of his mouth and meditation of his heart would be “acceptable in your sight, O LORD, my rock and my redeemer.”

But why? What’s David’s motivation behind his desire for blamelessness?

Quite simply, David longs for everlasting communion with God.

In the context of the whole Psalm, here is what is happening.

David is first standing in awe of God’s majesty and glory as he listens to the praises of creation.

Then, as he reads, studies and prays Yahweh’s Law and finds it to be perfect, reviving, sure, etc., he wants nothing more than to know the God of creation who has crafted such a perfect Law.

There is wisdom found here, and David wants to know the wise God who gave this Law—to know this God is the great reward David mentioned in Psalm 19:11.

David wants to be accepted by this God: “Let the words of my mouth and the meditation of my heart be acceptable in your sight, O LORD, my rock and my redeemer.” He wants to be embraced by God and to know him better and better.

Union vs. Communion

This isn’t the same thing as being justified by God.

David doesn’t embrace the Law in order to make himself righteous before God, because he knows only God can make sinners righteous, by grace through faith.

Our union with God was established perfectly at the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ, and the ebbing and flowing of our obedience and holiness before the Lord can do nothing to affect it.

Theologians, however, make an important distinction between our union with God and our communion with God.

Think about it like a marriage.

If you had an affair, that wouldn’t automatically sever your union with your spouse. Legally, you would still be considered married to your spouse unless you both went through the divorce proceedings to break that union.

But an affair would absolutely destroy the communion you have with your spouse. Even if you tried to cover it up, that violation of your spouse’s trust would be an onerous burden on any kind of relational intimacy you might have otherwise had until you were both able to somehow work with God through it.

Our union with Christ is inviolable, and there is nothing that we could ever do to destroy it. Even the most severe spiritual adultery is something that Jesus Christ has already died for, and he extends grace to us through the victory he won over sin through his resurrection.

Shout this to whoever will hear it:

There is more than sufficient grace for even the very vilest of sinners! Nothing you do can separate you from the love that God has for you in Jesus Christ!

But our communion with Christ can absolutely change over the course of our lives. Sin clouds our intimacy with him, and what David teaches us here in these verses is to learn to love the Law of God as a tool for exposing our hidden faults as well as illuminating the imminent danger of presumptuous sins.

David is not interested in blamelessness for its own sake, or for the sake of trumpeting his own “not so high and mighty” righteousness to the world.

His goal is simply this, he wants to be blameless so that nothing at all will stand between his heart, his soul, his God—that is, between his Rock and Redeemer.

Or as Charles Albert Tindley would later write … (1906)

1. Nothing between my soul and my Savior,
naught of this world’s delusive dream;
I have renounced all sinful pleasure;
Jesus is mine, there’s nothing between.
Refrain:

Nothing between my soul and my Savior,
so that his blessed face may be seen;
nothing preventing the least of his favor;
keep the way clear! let nothing between.

2. Nothing between, like worldly pleasure;
habits of life, though harmless they seem,
must not my heart from him ever sever;
he is my all, there’s nothing between.
(Refrain)

3. Nothing between, like pride or station;
self or friends shall not intervene;
though it may cost me much tribulation,
I am resolved, there’s nothing between.
(Refrain)

4. Nothing between, e’en many hard trials,
though the whole world against me convene;
watching with prayer and much self denial,
I’ll triumph at last, there’s nothing between.
(Refrain)

In the name of God, the Father and God the Son and God the Holy Spirit,

Let us Pray,

O Lord, my God and my Father, I thank you for revealing your Living Word. Lord of wisdom, I sometimes finding understanding the Bible to be difficult. I know you want me to apply your word to my life. I thank you for giving me your word so I can grow in my relationship with you. Help me grasp what you want me to know as I read your revealed word. Open my eyes to see the wonderful truths in your instructions. Be my teacher, so I can live and obey your word. Thank you for your wise advice. Amen.

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Motivated and encouraged, and now, Inspired to Believe in God. What then may be the Next Step for us? “Delight Yourself in the Lord” Psalm 37:4-6

I have always wondered what Psalm 37 4 means.

Have you asked yourself what it really means to delight yourself in the LORD?

If you are even .01% like me, then the answer is almost certainly yes, then you have been brought by GOD to the right place.

Today, let me try to discuss the real meaning of Psalm 37:4-6 which most people either do not know about or care or reach out, dare to know about!

Psalm 37:1-6 NASB

Security of Those Who Trust in the Lord, and Insecurity of the Wicked.

A Psalm of David.

37 Do not get upset because of evildoers,
Do not be envious of wrongdoers.
For they will wither quickly like the grass,
And decay like the green plants.
Trust in the Lord and do good;
Live in the land and [a]cultivate faithfulness.
Delight yourself in the Lord;
And He will give you the desires of your heart.
Commit your way to the Lord,
Trust also in Him, and He will do it.
He will bring out your righteousness as the light,
And your judgment as the noonday.

The Word of God for the Children of God. Gloria! In Excelsis Deo! Alleluia! Amen.

For however long we have been a Christian, a short time or for a long time, there are those certain words and phrases which have a subtle tendency to settle into your vernacular, become commonplace, and lose their potency.

Any new believer, well-versed believer is certainly familiar with and, truthfully has probably memorized, David’s beautiful invitation in Psalm 37:4“Delight yourself in the Lord; And He will give you the desires of your heart.” 

But what does it mean to delight yourself in someone—especially ‘the Lord’?

We’ve all had those days. “Do I believe in God?” “Why should I believe today?”

Circumstances go from bad to impossibly worse, creating an undercurrent of fear so strong that it tugs at your hope and threatens to pull you under. While you and I are trying to believe, to stay afloat on God’s promises, guilt sets in.

“Joy in the midst of trials is the mark of a true Christian,” you tell yourself.

In enters doubt with all the what-ifs that make your burden heavier.

You pray and put your trust in God. Now what?

You need a distraction to ward off anxiety.

Work, phone, binge-watching, ministry, mission—any of these should do.

But they don’t.

Somehow, they just seem to fall of the steepest cliffs into the deepest abyss.

Why does the call to ‘delight yourself in the Lord’ seem so distant in times of trouble?

What Does It Mean to ‘Delight Yourself in the Lord’?

Think back to a specific moment in time when you freely enjoyed the company of a loved one.

What made that moment special and memorable?

Did you laugh or cry together—like good friends often do.

Did you bond through the thrill of a shared experience? Did you boisterously celebrate a long-awaited victory together? Or perhaps you sat with each other in loving silence, grateful to know you didn’t have to carry a burden alone.

To experience deep, satisfying fellowship is a gift like no other.

But that kind of connection doesn’t happen overnight.

It’s silly to think we could find heartfelt delight with a stranger.

The same is true when it comes to delighting ourselves in the Lord.

What is the Psalm 37 4 meaning?

Psalm 37:4 is no doubt one of the most popular passages in the book of Psalms.

Why not?

After all, it is a wonderful promise from God that many people hold on to.

Psalm 37 is a psalm of David in which he reassures the righteous not to be dismayed at the sight of evildoers. In this Psalm, David explains what will happen to the wicked, but at the same time, what the righteous should also do.

Since the fate of the wicked is already prophesied and understood, the righteous should not worry about them anymore, rather they should place their sole focus on their relationship with God, the Father and God the Son and God the Holy Spirit.

That’s where Psalm 37 verse 4 comes in.

Psalm 37:4 is just one of the instructions David mentioned in Psalm 37.

As you can read:

  • Verse 3 – Trust in the LORD and do good
  • Verse 5 – Commit your way to the LORD
  • Verse 7 – Rest in the LORD
  • Verse 8 – Cease from anger, and forsake wrath

These are just some of David’s admonition in Psalm 37.

As you can see, Psalm 37:4 is part of a greater list of instructions.

But for now, let us focus on the meaning of Psalm 37:4.

What does delight mean in Psalm 37:4?

The first thing we need to ask is, what does the word “delight” mean? 

https://www.blueletterbible.org/kjv/psa/37/4/t_conc_515004

https://www.blueletterbible.org/lexicon/h6026/kjv/wlc/0-1/

It came from the Hebrew word, “anag,” which means to be happy about and to make merry over. 

So, basically, delight means to take pleasure, to be happy, joyful, and excited.

The next question we need to ask is, to whom should we delight ourselves? 

Psalm 37:4 clearly states that we must delight in the LORD.

LORD here is Yahweh, the personal name of God.

He is the ever-living, eternal, and supreme God of the entire universe. But at the same time, He is our loving, caring, and merciful Father.

If we put everything together, Psalm 37:4 tells us that we must take pleasure, we must be joyful, we must be excited about Yahweh.

It means our only source of joy and happiness should be our Heavenly Father.

Is it the right time to confess our real truth? Exactly Who or what is our source of delight?

However, as we look around us, where do people get their happiness?

Where do people usually take delight from? 

They take delight in worldly and sensual things. They take delight in watching inappropriate and immoral entertainment. They take pleasure in material possessions. They take pleasure in people. Worst, they take pleasure in sin.

Now, it is not wrong to enjoy the blessings that God has given us as long as it does not lead to sin. Nevertheless, our ultimate source of delight must be God!

But the absolute bottom line truth be told – we ALL fall impossibly short.

This utterly dismal failure on our parts must not go unaddressed – otherwise, it will very definitely, very decisively not go unnoticed and unpunished by God.

Mark 1:14-15 NKJV

Jesus Begins His Galilean Ministry

14 Now after John was put in prison, Jesus came to Galilee, preaching the gospel [a]of the kingdom of God, 15 and saying, “The time is fulfilled, and the kingdom of God [b]is at hand. Repent, and believe in the gospel.”

Out of the most indescribable act of Love known, God acted, God sent His Son.

Sent to save the World, NOT TO CONDEMN IT as would be His right to do so.

Salvation in no other name or condemnation in no other name?

Absolute Delight in YAHWEH or Absolute delight in the World?

These realities are ever before every one of us – if we acknowledge them!

Some choose to acknowledge, come to believe – their delight is YAHWEH.

Others, refuse to acknowledge, do NOT make the decision or flat refuse the invitation to believe and subject to condemnation – delight – the World.

We must examine ourselves, then

How about us? 

Where do our joy and delight come from?

If we look at our activities and schedule for the day, can you find God in it?

Can you honestly say that you are delighting in God?

Does the very thought of studying the Bible make you excited?

Or do you simply make it an optional thing, that you only do it when you have extra time?

Do you still find time for prayer and meditation? Or are you too busy that you don’t have time to pray?

Does preaching and teaching the Gospel of Jesus Christ make you happy and blessed? You think it’s boring and useless? Divisive or politically incorrect?

Is your mind filled with God’s word, peace, and love? Or are you filled with worries, anxiety, and fear?

The answers to these questions would determine whether you truly delight in Yahweh or not.

How Psalm 37:4 changes your life?

Now, here’s something you need to realize.

Psalm 37:4 is a life-changing verse. 

It literally changes your perspective in life. 

If you delight in Yahweh, you take on a new mindset. 

No matter what happens in your life, as long as you delight in God, you are still at peace. 

You are still filled with Joy. 

You still feel blessed.

I strongly believe we, as individuals, need to delight in God more than ever.

As we go through these Ecclesiastes 3:1-8 times and seasons under the sun, we are coerced, forced to make many difficult moral choices and ethical decisions.

Choices and decisions which no one can claim would be delightful or desirous. 

If we don’t delight in God, we all can easily drift away. We can all easily become weak in faith and eventually, forget about our brothers and sisters in Christ.

But as we continually delight in the Eternal, what then become the possibilities?

Connection of Psalm 37:4 to gratefulness

Here’s another important key we should not forget about delighting in God. It is being grateful both for the things we have and the things that we don’t have.

Take note of this:

No one can never truly delight in Yahweh without FIRST and FOREMOST being grateful and you can’t be truly grateful without delighting in Yahweh.

That’s why we must always be thankful for whatever situation we might be in. 

Think about this, we might not have everything, but we always have something

We never come to a point where we have nothing. 

So, stop murmuring or complaining.

Instead of complaining that you don’t have shoes, be thankful you have feet.

Instead of complaining that you eat almost the same thing every day, be thankful you still have something to eat.

Instead of complaining about how hard your work is, be thankful that you still have a job.

Instead of complaining about how unfair life is, be thankful, you’re still alive.

What I’m telling you is that people who truly delight in God see His blessings. 

These blessings move them to be more grateful and worship God.

All these are part of delighting yourself in the LORD.

Psalm 37:4 and the REAL desires of our heart

Now, what happens when we delight in Yahweh,

we read the rest of Psalm 37:4, “He will give you the desires of your heart.”

This verse does not mean that if we delight in God, He will give us any desires of our hearts! 

Now, that’s a dangerous teaching. 

Why? 

Because not all desires that we have are good for us!

You see, friends, it doesn’t mean that if you delight in God, you will become rich, you will have a new smartphone, you’ll have a big house.

You’ll have a lot of money in the bank.

It doesn’t mean that everything you want would be given to you.

No, that’s not how it really works.

Listen to this very carefully: 

If we truly and genuinely delight in Yahweh, the desires of our hearts will eventually align with God’s will and purpose in our lives. 

This means that your ultimate desire will not be limited in this world anymore, but it will be God’s desire.

The problem with so many people, and that includes you and me, is that we determine our desires first before we delight in God!

Instead, what happened should be is that we FIRST delight in God so that we will have the right and proper desires in our hearts.

I hope that we come to the point that whether we receive what we ask from God or not, we are still thankful and would still delight in God. 

If God gives what we’ve asked, then, praise God! 

If God doesn’t give it, then we still praise Him because you know that He has your best interest in mind.

That’s exactly what it means to delight in God. 

It is never conditional. 

Whether God grants our prayers or not, we still choose to delight in Him. 

God has become our ultimate source of happiness, joy, and peace.

So, friends, let me end this devotional by reading Psalm 37:4 again:

“Delight yourself in the Yahweh, and He shall give you the desires of your heart.”

What does Psalm 37:4 mean?

In conclusion,

Psalm 37:4 means that we must delight in Yahweh, the supreme Ruler of this vast universe.

It means that the object of our gladness, joy, and delight should be God.

Psalm 37:4 should remind us that the ultimate Source of our joy should be our Heavenly Father.

When we delight in God, He will give our desires, but our desires have already been in line with His will and purpose in our lives.

Romans 8:28New King James Version

28 And we know that all things work together for good to those who love God, to those who are the called according to His purpose.

In the name of God, the Father and God the Son and God the Holy Spirit,

Let us Pray,

My ABBA, My Heavenly Father, forgive me for the times when I have delighted myself in wrong things. Keep me from fretting over much over evildoers in this increasingly confusing world and help me to keep the eyes of my heart on Jesus and to delight myself in the things of God.

Align my thoughts to Your thoughts, I pray, and my will to the will of God. May the desires of my heart unite with Your perfect will and eternal purposes, for Your everlasting praise and glory. This I ask in Jesus’ name, Alleluia! AMEN.

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I am Encouraged and Motivated and Mightily Inspired to Believe in God. The Law’s Lesson: Come, Fully Desire God in the beauty of his Holiness. Psalm 19:7-11

It was Francis Bacon who wrote:

God has, in fact, written two books, not just one. Of course, we are all familiar with the first book he wrote, namely Scripture. But he has written a second book called creation.

This incredibly insightful sentiment arises directly from Psalm 19

In our latest devotions, we looked at the incessant, universally reaching message in God’s book of creation in Psalm 19:1-6.

Theologians call this the witness of creation general revelation, because God has revealed something about himself in what he has made.

In particular, creation endlessly focuses on recounting the glory of our Creator God and the wonder of his handiwork (Psalm 19:1).

But natural revelation is not the only way in which God has revealed to us something about himself.

When God speaks to us directly in his Word, theologians call that special revelation, which gives us an altogether different quality of revelation.

Differently from general revelation where we can only infer certain aspects of God’s attributes, in special revelation God speaks directly to us—through His covenant name to us.

We should not miss the transition from Psalm 19:1-6, David speaks of what creation teaches us about “God,” to Psalm 19:7-11, as David now speaks of his understanding of the LORD, Yahweh, which is God’s covenantal name.

As we go forward, pay very close attention to the intimate, personal reflections David offers about the Law as he turns his attention from the Book of Nature to the Book of Scripture in Psalm 19:7-11:

Psalm 19:7-11 New King James Version

The law of the Lord is perfect, [a]converting the soul;
The testimony of the Lord is sure, making wise the simple;
The statutes of the Lord are right, rejoicing the heart;
The commandment of the Lord is pure, enlightening the eyes;
The fear of the Lord is clean, enduring forever;
The judgments of the Lord are true and righteous altogether.
10 More to be desired are they than gold,
Yea, than much fine gold;
Sweeter also than honey and the [b]honeycomb.
11 Moreover by them Your servant is warned,
And in keeping them there is great reward.

The Word of God for the Children of God. Gloria! In Excelsis Deo! Alleluia1 Amen.

This is a fascinating meditation on the Scripture that in many ways anticipates the more extended reflection on the Law in Psalm 119.

But for now, there are three aspects of this passage that I want to highlight.

The Law Gives Us the Wisdom that Adam and Eve Sought from the Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil

One of the very first things that David says about the Law is that it is “sure, making wise the simple” (Psalm 19:7).

In the book of Proverbs, the “simple” are those to whom Lady Wisdom calls out, pleading with them to turn in to her so that she can make them wise (Proverbs 8:59:4); however, the “simple” are also those whom Dame Folly targets and seduces to their destruction (Proverbs 7:79:16).

However, the wisdom that David has in mind here is more precisely the wisdom which both Adam and Eve sought out in the Garden of Eden from the Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil.

God had told them not to eat of that Tree, promising them that they could eat of the Tree of Life if they obeyed him.

The decisive reason that they had disobeyed God, however, was Eve judged the tree to be “to be desired to make one wise” (Genesis. 3:6).

Instead of trusting God, Adam and Eve chose to seek out wisdom according to their own understanding—listening to the snake rather than God.

Because of their sin, they died to their sin, along with the rest of humanity after them.

Look at a couple of other ways in which David alludes back to the first chapters of Genesis here in Psalm 19:7-11

  • In verse 8, David says “the commandment of the LORD is pure, enlightening the eyes.” In Genesis 3:5, the serpent had promised Eve that when she ate from the Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil, “your eyes will be opened,” and one of the factors for disobeying Yahweh was Eve had judged the Tree to be “a delight to the eyes” (Genesis 3:6).
  • In verse 10, David describes the rules of the LORD as “More to be desired are they than gold…” As mentioned earlier, Eve judged the Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil “to be desired to make one wise” (Genesis 3:6). Eve desired the wrong source of wisdom.

The Law Outlines for Pure and Righteous Living

But David also describes a different angle on the Law—that the Law gives us a blueprint for what pure, righteous, and holy living should look like.

In these verses, David says that the Law is “perfect,” “sure,” “right,” “pure,” “clean,” “true,” and “righteous altogether.”

If you want to know what God loves and what God hates, look to the Law. God poured out the burdens of his heart into the Law, establishing guidelines for seeking justice and for living righteously in his sight.

The Law is More Desirable than Anything on Earth

It’s important to understand, then, David loves the Law because he loves God.

David understands that pleasing God through obeying the Law is far better—and “more to be desired”— than gold, or “even much fine gold” (Psalm 19:10).

The Law is not only better than absolute finest gold, but it’s “sweeter also than the sweetest honey and drippings of the honeycomb.” And finally, David envisions, recognizes there is “great reward” by keeping the Law—implicitly, that the Law offers a far better reward than any other reward he might seek.

The Lesson of the Law: Desire God in His Holiness

Honestly, this kind of “love” language makes Christians a little uncomfortable.

We get squeamish when we read people in the Bible praising the Law because we worry about becoming legalists. If we praise the Law, are we suggesting that we can be saved apart from the atoning death and resurrection of Jesus Christ?

If we do, then we have completely missed the beauty of the Law.

The New Testament teaches very clearly that the Law does not have any power to save us, but we also learn in the New Testament that the Law is good.

Jesus insisted that he did not come to abolish the law, but to fulfill every iota and dot of it (Matthew 5:17-20).

The Apostle John insisted that only those who keep God’s commandments abide in God, and God abides in them (1 John 3:24).

Even Paul, who so fiercely contended for the doctrine of justification by faith alone, insisted that “the law is good, if one uses it lawfully” (1 Timothy 1:8).

What the Law teaches us, then—and what David tells us at every turn in Psalm 19—is that God is holy, and that his holiness is the most desirable thing that we could ever hope to possess for ourselves.

The Law is perfect, reviving, sure, wise, right, joyful, pure, enlightening, clean, everlasting, true, righteous, valuable, sweet, and rewarding.

Who wouldn’t want to know the ‘Way, Truth, Life’ God whom the Law reveals?

So how does the Law fit into the life of the Christian?

How are we to understand the Law and relate to it as people who find our justification only in Christ by grace and through faith? We’ll talk about that more tomorrow as we finish out Psalm 19 with verses 12-14.

But, until then, get yourself a jar of the sweetest honey you can find, grab a spoon and get ready to dip that spoon deep down into that jar of honey.

Then pick up your Bibles and dig in deep and deeper still into the Word of God.

Read and Study and Pray over those verses which the Holy Spirit reveals to you.

Taste and see of the absolute goodness of the LORD, YAHWEH.

Magnify your APPETITE, your desire for the WISDOM OF LORD YAHWEH ….

In the name of God, the Father and God the Son and God the Holy Spirit,

Let us Pray,

I have Come into this sacred space to worship YAHWEH
whose teaching is perfect;
whose directions are sure.
I have Come into this holy place to worship YAHWEH
whose standards are right;
whose commandment is clear;
whose judgements are true.
I have Come with holy fear –
to be given life, and made wise,
to have my heart stirred and my eyes opened wide.
I have Come with a desirous heart— let me now worship YAHWEH.
Let the words of my mouth and the faintest whisperings of my heart
be according to your will, O’ YAHWEH. My Redeemer. Amen.

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