Listen. A spiritual darkness, a time when we do not see God at work in our lives, is a time for acute listening skills. It may well be that during this darkness is a time for you to be actively listening for God. We have all heard about active listening skills somewhere in a language class long ago. Think about listening to the speaker, of making and maintaining eye contact, of making yourself active or animated in your own speech. Respond to the gestures and tone of the speakers’ voice; be involved in the conversation. How often do we find ourselves in darkness and assume that we are the only one there? God is there – Listen even when you do not hear anything. Listen for that still, small voice.
Take care of the personal things of your relationship with the Lord and stay close by. Continuously pour out your own soul and spirit on the altar of prayer and listen. Read the scriptures and find God’s voice in them. Lights often come on as a direct result of our making sure that our switch is in the right position. _dg
“Speak to us yourself and we will listen. But do not have God speak to us or we will die” (Ex. 20:19, NIV). So who do you listen to? It is likely that we do not intentionally disobey God, rather we simply do not listen to Him. God implies “If you love me you will keep my commandments” (Ex. 20:6). His commandments are there in the bible. Are you keeping them or are just counting on the pastor or the Sunday school teacher to tell you what you need to know, what you ought to do next. That is not a complex question but I beg you to consider your answer carefully. Who are you listening to? Be careful that you are not listening to a teacher’s embellishments of the scripture when the real words are quite clearly expressing the Lord’s message and the teacher is perhaps adding or subtracting their own interpretation to what has already been clearly said. The results of that can impact your eternity.
Why would we be afraid to have God speak to us directly, choosing rather to have a teacher or pastor speak to us? A cause for that could be simply that if God speaks to us, it is imperative that we do what God tells us to do. To do less is a blatant act of disobedience. If the pastor or teacher speaks to us it seems less final, it gives us a bit of wiggle room. They are, after all, just human and they just do not have the final authority and say. We assume that we can disobey them without disobeying God. Who are we listening to in our life of Christianity? Are we ready to have the Almighty God speak to us directly? If we are, there are no more negotiations or scheduling when and how we respond. I dare you to answer that truthfully. Much may hang in the balance of the answer. _dg
Available for God – Part #2/4
“Accessible or obtainable in any drugstore”, much like the springs of Living water being available to all who thirst spiritually.
Our personal spiritual lives must be comprehensive in their scope. Just as I can find most of what I need in a drugstore, an unsaved person looking to me for answers about salvation and living for Jesus Christ should be able to find exactly what they need in their life. Spiritual honesty, happiness, inner peace? These are all commodities that born-again Christians possess and should exhibit.
As Christians, we have continuous access to the springs of Living water written about by the prophet Jeremiah (2:13). Consider this, the life’s purpose of a spring of water. It satisfies the thirst of any that will drink from it and, most importantly, it is moving on continuously. You cannot stop it or horde it as it will overflow your boundaries. The water from a single spring can combine with others and grow into a river and that river can move mountains. Such is the spiritual life blood of a Christian. As each one of us stays connected to the springs of Living water, the outflow of Christianity into the world is greater than that one spring quenching the thirst of one man. As Christians we must live a life of “passing it on”, of letting God’s Living water flow into and through us to all that we come into contact with.
On the eastern slopes of Elk mountain in southeast Wyoming is a spring that provides the headwaters of Mule Creek, one of my favorite places on earth. The rancher that ran his cattle on that part of the mountain was smart enough to drive a steel pipe into the rock that was the outlet for that spring. That enlarged and channeled the opening for the water, turning a trickle into a small creek that provided water for his herd. That little trickle of water grows and winds its way into the Platte river system that traverses Nebraska and flows into the Missouri river on its way to the Gulf. One little spring feeding one creek touches an awful lot of lives in the course of its own life. God’s springs of Living water are like that. If we, the individual Christian, can draw our life from the Living water of God, what flows through us will nourish other thirsty souls at distances that we neither imagine nor predict.
Living your Christianity out loud keeps the water from the springs of Living water flowing. We have only to quench our own thirst and to pass it on.
My little sister and I talk for hours about that word “available.” Webster says “present or ready for immediate use, accessible, qualified or willing to do something or to assume a responsibility.” Ouch. Ready, accessible, qualified and willing to assume a responsibility. That’s quite a mouthful or list of chores when God is in the loop. I can always fail to be at least one of those four things at any given moment. The wonderful thing is that if I am living my own Christianity out loud, all four of those things are present by default. If my day-to-day life is testament to my salvation and evidence of God’s grace then “available” is the default condition. By the same measurement, if one of those things are missing there is an issue that needs to be resolved by prayer. That sounds hard but it strikes me as true.