Are You Listening?

I Kings 19:11-13 (NLT)

 “Go out and stand before me on the mountain,” the Lord told him. And as Elijah stood there, the Lord passed by, and a mighty windstorm hit the mountain. It was such a terrible blast that the rocks were torn loose, but the Lord was not in the wind. After the wind there was an earthquake, but the Lord was not in the earthquake. And after the earthquake there was a fire, but the Lord was not in the fire. And after the fire there was the sound of a gentle whisper. When Elijah heard it, he wrapped his face in his cloak and went out and stood at the entrance of the cave. And a voice said, “What are you doing here, Elijah?”

This is by far one of my favorite interactions between God and man told about in the Word of God. I love this. I can identify with it. I find that when I am desperate to hear from the Lord it seems I find myself in isolation. Having many friends yet in that moment, they all seem distant or silent. For Elijah, it came on the heels of a stellar victory for the Lord. Hundreds of false prophets were killed. What drove him to the cave? A single threat. Nothing more than a lie catapulted him into hiding. Sometimes the human being in us may get tired of fighting for more faith. It is indeed a fight. After pouring our hearts out, the refilling may take a little too much time so we are dry and thirsty. Perhaps somehow unknowingly our expectation has fallen on mankind again… There are many variables that lead us to a place of straining to hear the sound of the gentle whisper or still small voice that speaks to us, encourages us, and engages us again.

“What are you doing here, _______?” (Insert your name.) What brings us to the place of needing to hear the Lord speak is as vast and individual as every single person ever created. The important thing is not what brought you here but what you are willing to do about it once you get there. The Lord asked Elijah what he was after, why are you here, and implying what are we going to do about it. To follow Jesus Christ stretches the boundaries of our humanity to become the new creation hidden inside of us from the very beginning. There is more to each one of us than meets the eye buried beneath the sin and darkness heaped on by the world. By surrendering our life to Jesus Christ, He begins to peel back each layer to expose the newness within us. In our gentle but ultimate undoing, certain vulnerability is revealed. This is when we must learn to lean on the Lord even more than before. A life of faith is nothing more than total dependence on Jesus. Hope is what holds us in this endeavor. When we are tempted to let go or run the other way, it is the reminder that there is more to life than this so hold on for just one more moment that will stretch into one more day.

Psalm 27:4-8 (NLT)

The one thing I ask of the Lord—the thing I seek most—is to live in the house of the Lord all the days of my life, delighting in the Lord’s perfections and meditating in his Temple. For he will conceal me there when troubles come; he will hide me in his sanctuary. He will place me out of reach on a high rock. Then I will hold my head high above my enemies who surround me. At his sanctuary I will offer sacrifices with shouts of joy, singing and praising the Lord with music. Hear me as I pray, O Lord. Be merciful and answer me! My heart has heard you say, “Come and talk with me.” And my heart responds, “Lord, I am coming.”

 

What are you after in this life? Is the one thing you want, ask for and seek above all things – Jesus Christ? I think sometimes in the course of life and being a Christian, we forget. Caught in religion and relationships of church, we may take for granted the one who is the point of this whole life changing movement. It is in that moment that He calls us to the place of aloneness. It is when deep in our heart, his voice says, “Come and talk with me.” What is our response? Most of the time, we feign busyness or put something in the place of intimacy with God. I am ministering to others. I am serving at the church. I am working to give to others. I am doing this or working that. What does Jesus want? Us. He wants us. He wants to communicate with us. He wants to share His Secrets with us. He wants to challenge us while empowering us all at the same time. Sometimes our rebellion is not overt but an act of omission. Pretending to have more important things to do, but not really. What could be more important than quiet moments and thoughtful conversations with God Himself?

There were many times in the last several years while I was with our son in the hospital or during treatment that I was alone. My family was at home. Friends living their life. I wasn’t at home, work or church for months at a time. It was a lonely experience especially when our son could do little more than sleep. I was thankful for him during those times of rest in the course of his treatment that would afford him an escape. Those were also the times when the silence was deafening. The beeping and noise of all the monitors and medical staff scurrying up and down the hallway would fade into nothingness. The Lord would speak to my heart during those times saying, “I am here.” We had the most wonderful conversations in that place. The peace that flooded my heart in the midst of such chaos could only be from the Lord. Now I am home. Life is good. Busy but good. I am back in the “cave” again of my own doing. The Lord is asking me today, “What are you doing here?” Oh, you can rest assured that He knows exactly why I am here. He wants me to know, too.

2 Peter 1:3-7 (NLT)

By his divine power, God has given us everything we need for living a godly life. We have received all of this by coming to know him, the one who called us to himself by means of his marvelous glory and excellence. And because of his glory and excellence, he has given us great and precious promises. These are the promises that enable you to share his divine nature and escape the world’s corruption caused by human desires. In view of all this, make every effort to respond to God’s promises. Supplement your faith with a generous provision of moral excellence, and moral excellence with knowledge, and knowledge with self-control, and self-control with patient endurance, and patient endurance with godliness, and godliness with brotherly affection, and brotherly affection with love for everyone.

I have been given everything I need to live a godly life. A god-like life is not just about doing the right things, saying the right words and avoiding sin like the plague. No, it is about experiencing the glorious standard of living that Christ died for us to have. Too often, we get caught up in the religious doing rather than relationship revelation. When I choose to respond to God’s Promises, there is a certain level of obedience required. For my daughter’s birthday, we gave her a ticket to join her sisters and me to see Taylor Swift. She will hop a flight home and we will go to Tampa to see one of her favorite stars. She is 22 years old and married no longer living under our authority so she is free to live her life. If she uses her freedom to choose and decides not to get on the plane and come home, she will not make it to the concert. I have the tickets to the concert in Tampa. She lives in Dover, New Hampshire. She must do her part to get to me in order for me to keep my promise. We want all of God’s Promises. They are in His Hand. He tells His Secrets to our heart and how to find those desires. If I choose to do something else, be disobedient, or go my own way, I will not have God’s Best. He is not withholding it from me. I have just exercised my freedom to choose something else. I can promise you this I cannot think of a single thing that would keep my daughter from getting on that plane. She will do everything in her power to be there for sure. What about God? Will we respond to Him the way we would in the natural when obtaining a promise?

Are we making every effort to respond to God’s Promises? Supplementing our faith requires conversations with the Lord. We speak to God every day. Let’s be real, people don’t have problems telling God what they want. It is the listening to His Voice and doing what He says that trips us up every time. God keeps no good thing from His Children. However, God will not compromise either. If we want His Best, we must remain connected to the Source of Life and refuse to compromise or make substitutions. If we want all of His Promises, we must want all of Him.

Psalm 145:13-18 (NLT)

For your kingdom is an everlasting kingdom. You rule throughout all generations. The Lord always keeps his promises; he is gracious in all he does. The Lord helps the fallen and lifts those bent beneath their loads. The eyes of all look to you in hope; you give them their food as they need it. When you open your hand, you satisfy the hunger and thirst of every living thing. The Lord is righteous in everything he does; he is filled with kindness. The Lord is close to all who call on him, yes, to all who call on him in truth.

I am overwhelmed by God’s Promises that have manifested in my life. He has been so good to me. I want more of Him. I really, really do. I am fully invested in this thing called Christianity. I believe that Jesus is the one and only way to the Father. I believe that God loves me and nothing can separate me from Him. I believe that He has given me His Spirit as a guarantee that every single promise is possible in my life. I still find myself crying out to God in the silence of my soul sometimes. It’s funny that every time I do, He says, “Come and talk with me. Not you’re family, not your friends or anyone else who will listen. Come and talk to me.” His Kingdom is an everlasting Kingdom which means there is plenty of time to wait on the Lord. Waiting is much easier in the company of God, Jesus and the Holy Spirit. It is room filled with peace and joy even when the circumstances of your visit are less than desirable. Companionship with the Lord is absolutely essential to surviving in the good fight of faith and fully responding to all of His Precious Promises. It will cost you something. Actually, it will cost you everything. My life must be in the Center of His Presence. This is the place where His Hand opens and He satisfies my soul. The Lord is close to you or you wouldn’t have been able to hear that gentle whisper in the crashing and chaotic details of life, how will you respond today? He is waiting. He is listening. The Lord is ready to respond!

Psalm 23

The Lord is my shepherd; I have all that I need. He lets me rest in green meadows; he leads me beside peaceful streams. He renews my strength. He guides me along right paths, bringing honor to his name. Even when I walk through the darkest valley, I will not be afraid, for you are close beside me. Your rod and your staff protect and comfort me. You prepare a feast for me in the presence of my enemies. You honor me by anointing my head with oil. My cup overflows with blessings. Surely your goodness and unfailing love will pursue me all the days of my life, and I will live in the house of the Lord forever.

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