Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Hearing = Answering

With God, Hearing = Answering

Psalm 34:4 - I sought the LORD, and he answered me; he delivered me from all my fears.

Another version of this verse, New King James, uses "heard" for "answered." I tend to think there is truth in all mainstream versions of the Bible, but occasionally our modern language gets in the way of our perception of the meaning of words. This verse is an excellent example.

Our modern culture uses phrases such as "selective hearing" to describe our humanness. Whether it's distractedness, narrowed attention, lack of respect, or just plain pride, sometimes our hearing does not equal answering. I believe with God it does. Even if it doesn't feel like it.

Daniel 10:12-13 - Then he continued, "Do not be afraid, Daniel. Since the first day that you set your mind to gain understanding and to humble yourself before your God, your words were heard, and I have come in response to them. But the prince of the Persian kingdom resisted me twenty-one days. Then Michael, one of the chief princes, came to help me, because I was detained there with the king of Persia."

God's answer in Psalm 34 was to deliver from fear. Notice it was not to deliver from the circumstance that caused fear.

2 Timothy 1:7 - For God has not given us a spirit of fear, but of power and of love and of a sound mind.

In Psalm 34, the first step was to seek the Lord.
Seek: search, look until you find
The Lord: no one else will do, not your friends, not a book, not Facebook, only the Lord

Then listen for his answer, receive the answer, and wait for it to be fulfilled. Take what he gives, without expectations of what you think the answer will be.

He delivered me from all my fear.
He delivered, only him. My own rationalizing over what not to fear didn't deliver me. My friends didn't deliver me. My prayer didn't deliver me. God delivered me.
Not some, but all of the fear!
When God does something, he doesn't do it part way, or most of the way, but ALL the way.

When God delivers, are we going to run back into the very thing that he set us free from? I've seen it happen many times. God gives peace in place of fear, and people are so used to the fear that they talk themselves right out of the peace that God gave, and right back into the fear. Or they start listening to friends, or the radio, or the enemy's voice, and end up back in the fear they were once set free from.

This is a gift. It's worth more than gold. Don't treat it like a garage sale trinket and leave it by the road. Hang on to it. Hoard it, even, until it becomes part of you. Only then can you give it away and not lose it.

Thursday, February 24, 2011

like Sarah

I'm feeling a bit discouraged this morning. Something I've wanted for many years has been out of reach. Lately, there has been a slight glimmer of something hopeful far on the horizon. Then recently things changed again, and that hope of old is snuffed.

"Lay it down," says one. "I've heard many times that after one lays it down, out of the blue he is asked to take it up again."
"I did. When was the last time I brought it up?"
That didn't work.

Then God spoke to my heart, "Am I not enough? Why does this mean so much to you?"
I don't have an answer. "Wasn't it you who put this desire in me?"
And I feel like Abraham - or, Sarah, rather. Soon I will be too old. I may already be too old, looking at the average age of others.

And before you think that, I'm quite content with snuggling my grandkids, thank-you-anyway.

And there goes my Bible time ... lost in a pining for something unattainable. Why do I want it so much? As one asks, "What can you do there that you don't already do where you are?" and I don't have a good answer, "Pick the songs..." isn't why I want it. So I think to myself, if I don't have an answer, then my answer must be what I think isn't a good reason - to be in the lead. But it's hard to be this close and never get any closer.

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

"to drive out before you nations greater and stronger than you and to bring you into their land to give it to you for your inheritance, as it is today."
When we come to the Lord, we are freed from sin. That is only the first step in his plan for us, though. Freedom from slavery is great, but what do we do with that if we have no place to live? God knows, and we do too, that our land is full of giants too big for us to get rid of. This is where his strength comes through, when we begin to conquer those giants one by one in his power. Sometimes it's a Jericho time, when God simply says, "It's time to let that one go," and we obey, and see that old habit simply fall away without any fight. Most of the time, however, we have to take up our sword and shield and chase the enemy all the way out of the country.

Saturday, January 1, 2011

Love the Word, eat it up!

I truly love God's Word!

A psalm of praise. Of David.

1I will exalt you, my God the King; I will praise your name for ever and ever.2Every day I will praise you and extol your name for ever and ever.3Great is the LORD and most worthy of praise; his greatness no one can fathom.4One generation will commend your works to another; they will tell of your mighty acts.5They will speak of the glorious splendor of your majesty, and I will meditate on your wonderful works.6They will tell of the power of your awesome works, and I will proclaim your great deeds.7They will celebrate your abundant goodness and joyfully sing of your righteousness.8The LORD is gracious and compassionate, slow to anger and rich in love.9The LORD is good to all; he has compassion on all he has made.10All you have made will praise you, O LORD; your saints will extol you.11They will tell of the glory of your kingdom and speak of your might,12so that all men may know of your mighty acts and the glorious splendor of your kingdom.13Your kingdom is an everlasting kingdom, and your dominion endures through all generations. The LORD is faithful to all his promises and loving toward all he has made.14The LORD upholds all those who fall and lifts up all who are bowed down.15The eyes of all look to you, and you give them their food at the proper time.16You open your hand and satisfy the desires of every living thing.17The LORD is righteous in all his ways and loving toward all he has made.18The LORD is near to all who call on him, to all who call on him in truth.19He fulfills the desires of those who fear him; he hears their cry and saves them.20The LORD watches over all who love him, but all the wicked he will destroy.21My mouth will speak in praise of the LORD. Let every creature praise his holy name for ever and ever.
Who would not love a God like this?