Listening for God

A rule here, a rule there. A little lesson here, a little lesson there. ISAIAH 28:10

Equipped with the right tools, we can learn to listen to God. What are those tools? Here are the ones I have found helpful.

A regular time and place. Select a slot on your schedule and a corner of your world, and claim it for God. For some it may be the best to do this in the morning.… Others prefer the evening.…

A second tool you need [is] an open Bible. God speaks to us through his Word. The first step in reading the Bible is to ask God to help you understand it.… Don’t go to Scripture looking for your own idea; go searching for God’s.…

There is a third tool.… Not only do we need a regular time and an open Bible, we also need a listening heart.… If you want to be just like Jesus, let God have you. Spend time listening for him until you receive your lesson for the day—then apply it.

Just Like Jesus

JESUS DISPELS DOUBT

They were fearful and terrified … But Jesus said, “Why are you troubled? … It is I myself!” LUKE 24:37–39

They had betrayed their Master. When Jesus needed them they had scampered. And now they were having to deal with the shame. Seeking forgiveness, but not knowing where to look for it, the disciples came back. They gravitated to that same upper room that contained the sweet memories of broken bread and symbolic wine … They came back. Each with a scrapbook full of memories and a thin thread of hope. Each knowing that it is all over, but in his heart hoping that the impossible will happen once more. “If I had just one more chance”

And just when the gloom gets good and thick, just when their wishful thinking is falling victim to logic, just when someone says, “How I’d give my immortal soul to see him one more time,” a familiar face walks through the wall.

My, what an ending. Or, better said, what a beginning!

from NO WONDER THEY CALL HIM THE SAVIOR

This Same Jesus

“Jesus Christ the same yesterday, and to day, and for ever.” (Hebrews 13:8)

When the Lord Jesus rose from the dead, then later ascended into heaven, His body was immortal, no longer subject to death–yet it was a physical body, capable of being seen and heard and touched, even capable of eating with His disciples. He was clearly recognizable, yet could quickly ascend from earth to heaven and could pass through a solid wall. As He ascended, two angelic messengers said, “This same Jesus, which is taken up from you into heaven, shall so come in like manner as ye have seen him go into heaven” (Acts 1:11). He was immeasurably different after His resurrection, yet Peter could also proclaim “that God hath made that same Jesus, whom ye have crucified, both Lord and Christ” (Acts 2:36).

Furthermore, even when He returns and assumes the eternal throne of the universe, He will still be the same. “But unto the Son he saith, Thy throne, O God, is for ever and ever: . . . they shall be changed: but thou art the same, and thy years shall not fail” (Hebrews 1:8, 12).

This was the same Jesus whom John the Baptist identified at the beginning of His earthly ministry. “He that sent me to baptize with water, the same said unto me, Upon whom thou shalt see the Spirit descending, and remaining on him, the same is he which baptizeth with the Holy Ghost” (John 1:33).

In fact, before His baptism, and even before His incarnation, He was the same. “In the beginning was the Word . . . The same was in the beginning with God” (John 1:1-2). This same Jesus who lived among men, identified by John the Baptist as the Son of God, and who died on the cross, is the eternal Word by whom all things were made, as well as the resurrected Savior and coming King. Jesus Christ is truly “the same yesterday, and to day, and for ever.” HMM

Abraham stood yet before the Lord

“Abraham stood yet before the Lord.” (Gen. 18:22.)

THE friend of God can plead with Him for others. Perhaps Abraham’s height of faith and friendship seems beyond our little possibilities. Do not be discouraged, Abraham grew; so may we. He went step by step, not by great leaps.

The man whose faith has been deeply tested and who has come off victorious, is the man to whom supreme tests must come.

The finest jewels are most carefully cut and polished; the hottest fires try the most precious metal. Abraham would never have been called the Father of the Faithful if he had not been proved to the uttermost. Read Genesis, twenty-second chapter:

“Take thy son, thine only son, whom thou lovest.” See him going with a chastened, wistful, yet humbly obedient heart up Moriah’s height, with the idol of his heart beside him about to be sacrificed at the command of God whom he had faithfully loved and served!

What a rebuke to our questionings of God’s dealings with us! Away with all doubting explanations of this stupendous scene! It was an object lesson for the ages. Angels were looking.

Shall this man’s faith stand forever for the strength and help of all God’s people? Shall it be known through him that unfaltering faith will always prove the faithfulness of God?

Yes; and when faith has borne victoriously its uttermost test, the angel of the Lord—who? The Lord Jesus, Jehovah, He in whom “all the promises of God are yea and amen”—spoke to him, saying, “Now I know that thou fearest God.” Thou hast trusted me to the uttermost. I will also trust thee; thou shalt ever be My friend, and I will bless thee, and make thee a blessing.

It is always so, and always will be. “They that are of faith are blessed with faithful Abraham.”— Selected.

It is no small thing to be on terms of friendship with God.

Come, my beloved, let us go forth into the field…let us see if the vine flourish

“Come, my beloved, let us go forth into the field… let us see if the vine flourish.” Song 7:11,12

The church was about to engage in earnest labour, and desired her Lord’s company in it. She does not say, “I will go,” but “let us go.” It is blessed working when Jesus is at our side! It is the business of God’s people to be trimmers of God’s vines. Like our first parents, we are put into the garden of the Lord for usefulness; let us therefore go forth into the field.

Observe that the church, when she is in her right mind, in all her many labours desires to enjoy communion with Christ. Some imagine that they cannot serve Christ actively, and yet have fellowship with Him: they are mistaken. Doubtless it is very easy to fritter away our inward life in outward exercises, and come to complain with the spouse, “They made me keeper of the vineyards; but mine own vineyard have I not kept:” but there is no reason why this should be the case except our own folly and neglect. Certain is it that a professor may do nothing, and yet grow quite as lifeless in spiritual things as those who are most busy. Mary was not praised for sitting still; but for her sitting at Jesus’ feet. Even so, Christians are not to be praised for neglecting duties under the pretence of having secret fellowship with Jesus: it is not sitting, but sitting at Jesus’ feet which is commendable.

Do not think that activity is in itself an evil: it is a great blessing, and a means of grace to us. Paul called it a grace given to him to be allowed to preach; and every form of Christian service may become a personal blessing to those engaged in it. Those who have most fellowship with Christ are not recluses or hermits, who have much time to spare, but indefatigable labourers who are toiling for Jesus, and who, in their toil, have Him side by side with them, so that they are workers together with God. Let us remember then, in anything we have to do for Jesus, that we can do it, and should do it in close communion with Him.

All the goodness of the past, the present, and the future, Christ bestows upon His people

“Who hath blessed us with all spiritual blessings.” Ephesians 1:3

All the goodness of the past, the present, and the future, Christ bestows upon His people. In the mysterious ages of the past the Lord Jesus was His Father’s first elect, and in His election He gave us an interest, for we were chosen in Him from before the foundation of the world. He had from all eternity the prerogatives of Sonship, as His Father’s only-begotten and well-beloved Son, and He has, in the riches of His grace, by adoption and regeneration, elevated us to sonship also, so that to us He has given “power to become the sons of God.”

The eternal covenant, based upon suretiship and confirmed by oath, is ours, for our strong consolation and security. In the everlasting settlements of predestinating wisdom and omnipotent decree, the eye of the Lord Jesus was ever fixed on us; and we may rest assured that in the whole roll of destiny there is not a line which militates against the interests of His redeemed. The great betrothal of the Prince of Glory is ours, for it is to us that He is affianced, as the sacred nuptials shall ere long declare to an assembled universe. The marvellous incarnation of the God of heaven, with all the amazing condescension and humiliation which attended it, is ours. The bloody sweat, the scourge, the cross, are ours for ever.

Whatever blissful consequences flow from perfect obedience, finished atonement, resurrection, ascension, or intercession, all are ours by His own gift. Upon His breastplate he is now bearing our names; and in His authoritative pleadings at the throne He remembers our persons and pleads our cause. His dominion over principalities and powers, and His absolute majesty in heaven, He employs for the benefit of them who trust in Him. His high estate is as much at our service as was His condition of abasement. He who gave Himself for us in the depths of woe and death, doth not withdraw the grant now that He is enthroned in the highest heavens.