Tag: listen

Jan 14 Wisdom over deception

“Help Lord, for the godly are no more; the faithful have vanished from among men.

 Everyone lies to his neighbor; their flattering lips speak with deception. May the Lord cut off all flattering lips and every boastful tongue that says, ‘We will triumph with our tongues;’.”

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Arise Lord and protect me from those who malign me and take unfair advantage. Protect me from the deceit of the world, the flesh, and the evil one. “O Lord, You keep us safe and protect us from such people forever.”

You watched over and provided for Jacob when his father-in-law Laban cheated him and changed the terms of his wages ten times. You spoke and told him what to do and protected he and his family.

Father, protect me as well, when others seek to deceive and swindle and mislead me. I turn to You for godly wisdom. Let me listen for Your voice, and understand what You say, trusting Your wisdom over what may seem right by earthly intellect.

You sent Your disciples out “as sheep among the wolves.”  We, Your children, are often referred to as sheep. Thank You for being our shepherd; for watching over us, for driving away predators, for leading us to green pastures and still waters.

Thank You for calming us the way a shepherd does his sheep so we can rest. There are many ”wolves” who seek our destruction, to get us away from the protection of our Shepherd knowing that’s when we are vulnerable.

Proverbs tells us we are blessed when we find wisdom – that it is more profitable than silver or gold and more precious than rubies. Help me discern godly wisdom; not just the logic of the mind or the reasoning of man.

Lead me to seek “the wisdom that comes from heaven: pure, peace-loving, considerate, submissive, full of mercy and good fruit, impartial and sincere.” This is the wisdom that leads to righteousness.

Open my eyes to the lies and deceit of men. Let me see Your wisdom in the circumstances of my life. Keep my lips from speaking lies. Help me live honorably as one of Your sheep. Amen

Genesis 31:1-13; Matthew 10:16; Psalm 12:1-8; Proverbs 3:13-15; James 3:17

 

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Dec 11 Return to the Lord

Father, so many times You sent messages to the people and leaders of Israel to return to You, and they did not.  You sent death in famine, drought, blight, locusts, plagues, and military defeats as a way to get their attention.

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When challenges and difficulties come to me, remind me to come to You.  You are the One who can help and heal me.  You are the One who can show me wisdom and how to cope with whatever You allow into my life.

Lord, when it is so easy to fret and worry, and grumble and complain to friends, and look to the world for answers, remind me that the source of all I need is You!

Calm my heart when I am anxious.  Shut my mouth when I whine.

Turn me around when I go toward the world’s solutions.

Let me pour out my heart to You and seek wisdom in Your Word.

I will not just talk during prayer, but will listen, so I can hear what You have to say to me.

I will open my eyes and ears to discern when You are showing and teaching me; and where You are leading me.

I will let go of my own way and humble myself to obey You.

For it is “You who forms the mountains, who creates the wind  and who reveals Your thoughts to mankind, who turns dawn to darkness, and treads on the heights of the earth—    the Lord God Almighty is Your Name.”

You are mine, and I belong to You.   You redeem me with Your love, renew me with Your presence, restore me with Your touch. Amen

Amos 4:6-13

Nov 19 Your Word is wisdom

Father, James says Abraham’s “ faith and his actions were working together, and his faith was made complete by what he did.”

bible-839093_1920I pray that my life and faith will be the same.

I understand that my actions alone will not save me.  That salvation comes by believing in You and accepting You as Lord of my life.

But I can also see that my actions bear out what I believe.   And since actions are what others can see, others will know my faith by my actions.

In addition to my actions, my words speak a lot about who I am and what I believe.   So set a guard on my tongue!

I have learned by experience that words cannot be unsaid.  Once spoken, their impact is made.  Father, forgive me for the times I have spoken without thinking, and in doing so, caused hurt to someone.

Forgive me for the times I spoke after thinking, but was wrong in the way the message was delivered.  For it is not only the words chosen, but also the way they are spoken that carries meaning and can cause trouble.

Words can tear down, damage, hurt, berate, mislead, manipulate, and deceive a person.  But they can also lift up, encourage, enlighten, inspire, bless and show love.   Father, give me wisdom for how and when to use my words.

Help me see through the “wisdom” the world offers.  Before I speak or act, let me think through what I “think” I want to say.

The wisdom of the world can come from my own flesh: a kind of “sensual wisdom” based on my own thoughts and feelings.  It will produce self-satisfaction and pride, and ultimately, guilt – as James tells me my own desires can lead to sin.

Or it can come from others in the world, leading to approval and acceptance from the crowd.   It produces disorder, and You have told me I should not be conformed to the pattern of this world.

Or it may be demonic wisdom that brings envy, immorality and leads me to worship other things, eventually producing fear.

“But the wisdom that comes from heaven is first of all pure; then peace-loving, considerate, submissive, full of mercy and good fruit, impartial and sincere.”  This wisdom produces the Fruit of the Spirit in me.

Father, help me listen, and discern Your wisdom from all the others.  I desire to hear from and follow You alone.  Amen

James 2:18-3:18

Nov 18 Be quick to listen, slow to speak

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Father, James continues in giving good advice for righteous living.  I ask You to help me to be “quick to listen, slow to speak and slow to become angry.”

I can remember being told that “children should be seen and not heard.”   And “think before you speak – after all, you have two ears and only one mouth.”  The message being that you should only speak half as much as you listen.   And “count to ten” when you feel yourself getting angry so as to allow time to cool down and think before acting on your anger.

I was taught these things as positive ways to get along with people.  I did not know then they had Biblical roots for godly behavior!

So, help me truly listen to others with my mind and heart; not just count off time till it’s my turn to say something.  Help me focus on the person speaking and what they are trying to convey.  Then let me measure out my words carefully and respond, not just react.

And if what I am hearing is not to my liking, and I have a strong emotional response, guard my tongue so I do not create conflict.  But help me be a peacemaker.

Father, I am trying to follow James’ suggestion.  He says “Do not merely listen to the Word, and so deceive yourselves.  Do what it says.”

So help me listen more intently and pay attention to what You have to say to me in Your Word.  Do not let me miss anything You have to show me or teach me or say to me as an encouragement.

Teach me how to keep “a tight rein on [my] tongue;” how to listen more and speak less.  I want the blessing in doing this.

Father, You made my ears and my tongue.  Help me use them to bring You honor and glory.

Holy are You, Lord!  Hebrew translation:  Hallelu Yah!  Amen

James 1:19-26

Oct 19 God Speaks

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Father, You invite me to “Call to You and You will tell me great and unsearchable things I do not know.”  Lord, I do call on You.  For there is so much I do not know!

Father, help me understand more of Your Word.  I have studied long and hard to answer the questions:  What does scripture say?  What does it mean?  What does it mean to me?  These are the three main questions scholars study to understand what is also called Observation, Interpretation, and Application.

I have looked up definitions of words used in the original Hebrew and Greek languages.  And made lists of key words, comparisons and contrasts, people, places, events to make things clear in my mind.  I have examined cross-references to see where words, phrases and concepts are used elsewhere in scripture to understand better.

I have read about cultural, political, geographical, and literary contexts to get a better sense of background for scriptures.  And read the same passage in different translations to shed more light on meaning.  And looked for and assessed where symbolism is used in addition to the literal meaning.

These studies have brought me much understanding and clarity.  It has changed the way I look at and value and am amazed by Your precious Word.

Other times I have simply read Your Word, and feel as if You are speaking just to me, so clearly, and so intimately.  Father, keep speaking!  Use it all to make clear Your love for me, Your purpose for me, Your plan for my life.  Let me see where You are working, and how I can join in with You.

I feel close to You when I get in touch with Your creation.  When I see the colors of the leaves change, I marvel at the beauty, and how You make seasons for me that each have an attraction that I love.  When I see the mountains I envision Your grandeur and strength.

As I watch the ocean, I am awed by You immenseness.  And by the absolute endless nature of one wave after another.  It is mesmerizing, comforting.  Floating on the waves, I feel the surge and power of the water, and the unseen forces that pull me out to sea.

Your power is often unseen, but strong and mighty.  All I experience, seen and unseen teaches me more about You.  Continue to speak to me through Your marvelous creation.

Colors, sounds, wind, smells – all these things and more draw me to You and Your creative character.  It all makes me wonder: what would this awesome, amazing, majestic God, want with me?

Father, show me how to use the gifts and talents and traits You have placed in me to glorify You.  Show me how to overcome the obstacles of my flesh and the world and the evil one to honor You.

Teach me to not let my temper and irritability get the better of me.  Show me how to be loving and compassionate when annoyed and frustrated.  These are some of the things that I do not know that hamper my everyday living to honor You.

I call to You.  As You answer me, reveal more great and unsearchable things to me.  Amen

Jeremiah 33:3

Oct 8 Worship the Creator not the created

idol-1067151_640Jeremiah points out the worthlessness of the idols that the people made for themselves.  They were made of wood or stone.  They had to be carried from place to place.  They had no awareness and no power.  Yet the people superstitiously bowed down to them.

What a stark contrast to You!  There is “No one like You, Lord”.

You made, literally created, the earth!  You imagined it, and then spoke it into being.  When You speak, it trembles.  When You thunder, the waters storm with hurricane force.  “You are the Creator of everything that exists.”

If I were to worship anything else, I would be as Jeremiah described his people, and the whole human race: “stupid and foolish…without knowledge”.

Jeremiah also encourages me not to fear the predictions of those who look elsewhere for their wisdom.  So I need not be afraid of false prophets, horoscopes or those who seek to divine the future from the stars.  You made the stars.  So I worship the Maker, not what was made.

Paul was in chains for speaking out about who You are.  That is not a current threat where I live.  Help me “be wise in the way I act towards outsiders, and make the most of every opportunity.  Let my conversation be full of grace and seasoned with salt, so that I may know how to answer everyone.”

Show me when to speak, and what to say.  And when to hold my tongue.   So many people are put off of Christianity because of the actions and attitudes of Christians.  Let me be a beacon of light to others as I walk the walk, and talk the talk in grace and love.

Show me what it means to “Devote myself to prayer, being watchful and thankful”.  I strive to express my thanks in prayer and allow time for You to speak to me, not just deliver a list of requests.

Thank You Father, that You, the matchless King of the Universe, hear my prayers.   And thank You that You answer them.  Help me to be watchful for Your answers.  And wait on Your timing.  I trust in the Creator of all things.  Amen

Jeremiah 10:1-16; Colossians 4:2-6

Sept 9 Recognize Truth

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O Father. I pray that I will not be “deceived by the serpent’s cunning as Eve was”, and that my “mind would not be led astray from a pure and sincere devotion to Christ.”

The serpent used deception to lure Eve into sin. He approached her boldly; the better to distract her. He called into question what You had really said; the better to confuse her. He cunningly suggested that what You wanted for her was not enough, was even bad for her; the better to entrap her.

Father, help me avoid falling into whatever traps the evil one sets for me. Let me see through them; beyond the lure of the sound of his words, to the hook buried beneath. The answer to this “serpent speak” is “God speak.”

I need to be listening, really paying attention to all that You are saying to me. In Hebrew, the word is sh’ma. It means to listen so closely, so deeply, so diligently, that the words change the listener from the inside out.

The meaning also incorporates a response to those words as being similar to that of a mother who recognizes her baby’s cry and drops everything to respond immediately. Father, let me sh’ma You, listen deeply and respond to You.

For my mind to be guarded enough so that I am “not led away”, I need to take some action myself. You give me and every believer armor: protection against the enemy.

One item is the Helmet of Salvation. I believe that this helmet bears Your insignia so that all who see it will know I fight on Your side. And it protects not only my head, but my mind inside: my thoughts. In doing so, many lies the evil one would have me believe simply bounce off and never even enter my mind.

However, some lies are disguised, or they have a little bit of truth in them, and I listen to them.   But it is a twisted bit of truth, or a half truth. So before I accept it, I need to “take every thought captive to God”.

This means I need to examine it and hold it up to Your truth. When I don’t, problems begin. Even the little things I accept that are not true can pull me away from a “pure and sincere devotion to Christ”. And I may not even realize it until I have strayed significantly off course.

So Father, help me remember to examine any thoughts and compare them to what You have told me. I will use Your Word as a plumb line.   That string with a metal weight at the end is pulled by gravity so that the resulting line is absolutely straight. Anything can be measured against this line to determine if it is “true”, or not.

Your Word is truth. Thank You for Your Word.   Thank You for the Helmet of Salvation. Thank You that when I sh’ma You, I will not be deceived by the serpent or led astray, away from You. Amen

II Corinthians 11:1-4

July 7 Hear my morning prayer

Like You acted in Paul’s life, would You orchestrate my circumstances to allow for opportunities to bring You glory, and would You fill my mouth with the words to say as I give testimony to Your greatness.

Although Paul’s situation of being in prison did not change, You allowed a greater and greater audience for Your truth to be spoken.   There are situations in my life that I would prefer be changed so I don’t have to deal with the hardships they bring and the worry they cause. But I am willing to accept whatever conditions You allow, knowing that You are with me, and will defend me, and will use them to Your glory.

prayer-401401_640Thank You Lord, that this “morning You heard my voice. As I laid my requests before You,” I know You are listening and are able to act in even the most complicated of circumstances. And I am able to get up and go on with my day, knowing and trusting that You are in control as I “wait in expectation”.

I pray Your words back to You: “Lead me, O Lord, in Your righteousness…make straight my way before me. I take refuge in You, so let me be glad; let me ever sing for joy. Spread Your protection over me, and all who who love Your name and rejoice in You…Surround me with Your favor as with a shield.”

If my husband or sons or I have offended each another, let us be soft-hearted towards one another. Rather than being like fortified cities, where entry is barred, let them open their gates to each other and welcome each other in brotherly love. Bless them Lord, and surround them also, with Your favor. Amen

Acts 25:1-27; Psalm 5:1-12; Proverbs 18:19

May 8 Make me like Samuel

bible-coffeedrawnearLord God, make me as Samuel.

Samuel heard Your voice, and although he did not understand it all at first, he answered and was obedient. Father, when I hear Your voice, let my response also be “Speak Lord, for Your servant is listening.”

Samuel was only a child here, but he grew up in Your presence. You were with him. Sensitize my heart, my eyes, my ears; to see You at work, to hear Your voice, to feel Your presence. Let me recognize where You are, and purpose to be there.

Let me behave in a way that acknowledges that You are with me. Let me treat people as You would. Father, You know everything about me, even my thoughts. Help me grow in awareness that You are with me wherever I go. And let that be both a powerful deterrent and an awesome reassurance.

Father, reveal Yourself to me through Your presence as You did with Samuel. I have Your Word in the Bible! Help me set my priorities so I spend time in Your Word every day.  Let my actions, attitudes and words show other people that I have spent time with You. Don’t let me read Your scripture and walk away unchanged. But let Your words sink deep into my spirit and mind. Let them take root in my life and be the foundation for all I do and all I am.

Like Samuel, let me grow in stature and in favor with You and with men. Amen

I Samuel 2:22-3:19

 

Apr 4 Teach me to Pray

prayer-1159703_640Father, thank You that when asked by Your disciples, You taught me more than just some words to say when I pray.

In three verses You instruct me to honor Your Holy Name and ask for You to meet my needs. You indicate it is important to confess my sin and be forgiven of it, as well as to forgive others who have sinned against me. And You show me how to ask for Your divine direction and protection.

But You didn’t stop there. You use further illustrations to teach me that I need to be persistent in my prayer life. I am not to give up just because I don’t get an immediate answer.

You also promise my patience in prayer will be rewarded. “For everyone who asks, receives; he who seeks, finds; and to him who knocks, the door will be opened.”

Next You reinforce that I can trust You for specific answers to prayer, through the Holy Spirit, because “You are the Father of Lights, and every good and perfect gift comes down from You.

Thank You, precious Heavenly Father, that I can come to You with every joy, every sorrow, every praise, every need; and know that You hear me and You enter into dialogue with me. Help me to take time to listen for Your voice in answer; and not just call out my grocery list of wants.

Let me sit at Your feet, like Mary. Do not let me be distracted by anything, but teach me to drink in Your presence. Remind me to include time with You in setting my priorities. And open my ears and heart to all You will tell me. Amen

Luke 10:38-11:13; James I:17

 

Mar 26 Help me hear

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“We will listen and obey.” This was the Israelites response to all You said on the mountain when they heard Your voice telling them how they should live.

Many things in the world keep me from hearing You. The world is a loud, noisy place, with so many voices that distract or actively deceive. Those voices suggest what I need and how I should live to be ‘accepted’ and ‘successful’ by the world’s standards. They tempt me into materialism, humanism, and all kinds of ungodly ideologies.

But to listen and obey, I must listen specifically and intentionally. I need to walk a path, live a lifestyle that purposely shows others what I believe.

Please remind me when I speak or act or make a decision, that everything I do will either draw me closer to You, or move me away from You and Your will. Help me examine my thoughts, words, actions, and attitudes, to ensure that they are honorable and do not cause distance or separation from You.

To obey these commands I am also responsible to teach others about You and Your truth. So I need to live what I believe – talk about my faith and who You are to me and how You impact my life. Help me do that when I have others in my home. And when I travel. From the time I get up until the time I go to bed.

When I am not speaking of You, my faith should still be obvious to others by my dress, my countenance, my attitudes, how I treat others. When people come to my home, they should see more than just the symbols of the world’s values. They should sense Your peace.

In my emails, social media and any other presentation to the world, I must be mindful that I represent You. As I am a Christ-follower, my presence in others’ lives shows whether I truly listen and obey, or whether I am a Christian in name only.

I will listen. And I will obey. And I will “proclaim the power of God”! Amen

Deuteronomy 5:1-6:9; Psalm 68:34

Feb 19 Whoever has ears, let him hear

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“Whoever has ears to hear, let him hear.”

Heavenly Father, thank You for giving me ears to hear. Help them to be tuned in to Your frequency so I can hear Your voice, or see, what You are saying to me in Your Word, in prayer, through other believers, and in my circumstances.  Help me keep my ears clean of the build up that might block my hearing You – the negative talk I say to myself, the self-doubt and self-criticism. And keep them clear of infection; sin which would dull my senses to what You would say.

Forgive me for the times I have blocked my ears because I did not want to hear the correction You were speaking to me, or the step I was too afraid to take.

I pray that in hearing, I would gain understanding. Hearing is only half the process. Not only do I need to hear what You are saying, but also understand what it means to me. Thank You for the times You explained what You meant in scripture parables so the message would be clear. Thank You for the times You have provided confirmation to me when I was unsure. Thank You that the more I listen and obey, the more I understand.

I have ears to hear, let me hear. Amen

Mark 4:1-25

Jan 25 I trust Your perfect plan

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Oh God I praise You that nothing can thwart Your plans!

Although evil is in this world, and is in positions of power and authority, it is nothing compared to You and Your ability to preserve Your will!

I ask for Your will to be done in my life, and in the lives of my loved ones. Do not let any powers or influences get in the way of effecting Your will in our lives

Whether in slavery or in prison, Your purpose was fulfilled in Joseph’s life. And in spite of the selfishness and greed of Joseph’s brothers, it played right into Your plan to save Israel’s descendants. Then hundreds of years later, when the new Pharaoh tried to kill the male Hebrew babies, You again had a plan for those children and the peoples’ deliverance. By human reckoning it took a miracle – because a baby in a basket floating in crocodile infested waters would have no chance of surviving. But You provided for this Hebrew baby to be raised in the palace as Pharaoh’s own grandson!

Even when Jesus tried to explain Your majestic plan for the salvation of all people -His disciples didn’t understand it. Peter said to Jesus “Never, Lord! This shall never happen to You!” And Jesus had to rebuke him.

Even after Peter saw Jesus transfigured and walking with Moses and Elijah, and heard Your own voice saying “This is My Son…Listen to Him.” Peter tried to interfere as Jesus was taken into custody in the Garden of Gethsemane. If he had understood the whole plan, would he have done that?

I often cannot make sense of the twists and turns my life takes. There are times I don’t know whether to stay or go, to act or wait. I cannot see how things will play out but I make a plan. Even when I think I can, it doesn’t always turn out the way I expect. How many times do we switch to Plan B, or Plan C, or D,E,F…

How then do I make decisions? Move forward? Live my life?

I echo the words of King David: “For the king trusts in the Lord; through the unfailing love of the Most High he will not be shaken.” I too trust in You, the Lord, the Most High. I ask You, Lord God to show me enough light for the next step I am to take. Help me listen for Your response and obey what I hear. And trust that even if it doesn’t make sense to me, it will turn out according to Your plan. I trust that Your plan is the best one for me – a plan to prosper me and not to harm me, a plan to give me a hope and a future.

I trust You. My security is in You – even when nothing I can see supports my feeling safe. Because of Your unfailing love for me, I can remain at PEACE. Meaning I can: Possess Equilibrium Amid Chaotic Events. You have the power, You have the ability and expertise, You have the sovereignty and the willingness to bring Your plans to fruition. So let it be done. On this earth. In this country. In my life.  Amen

Exodus 1:1-2:10; Matthew 16:21-17:9; Psalm 21:7; Jeremiah 29:11

Jan 3 Make me like Noah

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Lord God Almighty, I know it is only by Your great mercy, and Your steadfastness, and holding to Your promise to Noah and the animals, that You do not destroy the earth again by flood.

Surely there is as just much, if not more evil and corruption now, in my time, as there was then. When You see the earth once again full of violence, are You saddened and grieved to see how people treat You, Your earth and each other? You have the power to wipe man and beast from the face of the earth again. I am in awe of Your restraint, and grateful You do not.

Father, help me be more like Noah. Let me hear Your voice like Noah did: in a way that I understand who You are and what You are telling me to do. And help me respond as Noah did, in complete obedience, doing all that You command.

Show us all Lord, how to draw away from the violent, corrupt, evil influences of the earth and our flesh. Let us see where in our circumstances we are not listening to Your voice or receiving Your instruction. There will be temptations. Even You, when You walked the earth, were tempted. You went into the wilderness where needs became great, yet were not overcome by the devil’s temptings.

We also are tempted: by our own appetites, our desire for fame and for power. Yet You have promised that You will not let us be tempted beyond what we can bear – because of Your faithfulness. You will show us a way of escape.

Give us the strength to overcome temptations, and take the way of escape. Help us make righteous choices when tempted. Help us remember that when we submit to You, and resist the devil, then he will flee. Let us remember that we are Your children, Your sons, Your daughters; and find strength in that relationship.

Father, I desire to worship and serve only You. Strengthen me to withstand temptation. And send Your angels to come and attend when I am weak and in need. Thank You. Amen

Genesis 6:1-7:24; Matthew 4:1-11

Nov 19 Your Word is wisdom

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Father, James says Abraham’s “ faith and his actions were working together, and his faith was made complete by what he did”. I pray that my life and faith would work the same way. I understand that my actions alone will not save me. That salvation comes by believing in You and accepting You as Lord of my life. But I can also see that my actions bear out what I believe.   And since actions are what others can see, others will know my faith by my actions.

In addition to my actions, my words speak a lot about who I am and what I believe.   So set a guard on my tongue! I have learned by experience that words cannot be unsaid. Once spoken, their impact is made. Father, forgive me for the times I have spoken without thinking, and in doing so, caused hurt to someone. Forgive me for the times I spoke after thinking, but was wrong in the way the message was delivered. For it is not only the words chosen, but also the way they are spoken that carries meaning and can cause trouble.

Words can tear down, damage, hurt, berate, mislead, manipulate, and deceive a person. But they can also lift up, encourage, enlighten, inspire, bless and show love.   Father, give me wisdom for how and when to use my words. Help me see through the ‘wisdom’ the world offers. Before I speak or act, let me think through what I ‘think’ I want to say.

The wisdom of the world can come from my own flesh: a kind of ‘sensual wisdom’ based on my own thoughts and feelings. It will produce self-satisfaction and pride, and ultimately, guilt – as James tells me my own desires can lead to sin. Or it can come from others in the world, leading to approval and acceptance from the crowd. It produces disorder, and You have told me I should not be conformed to the pattern of this world. Or it may be demonic wisdom that brings envy, immorality and leads me to worship other things, eventually producing fear.

“But the wisdom that comes from heaven is first of all pure; then peace-loving, considerate, submissive, full of mercy and good fruit, impartial and sincere.” This wisdom produces the Fruit of the Spirit in me.

Father, help me listen, and discern Your wisdom from all the others. I desire to hear from and follow You alone. Amen

James 2:18-3:18

Nov 18 Quick to listen, slow to speak

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Father, James continues in giving good advice for righteous living. I ask You to help me to be “quick to listen, slow to speak and slow to become angry”. I can remember being told that ‘children should be seen and not heard’.   And ‘think before you speak – after all, you have two ears and only one mouth’; the message being that you should only speak half as much as you listen.   And ‘count to ten’ when you feel yourself getting angry so as to allow time to cool down and think before acting on your anger. I was taught these things as positive ways to get along with people. I did not know then they had Biblical roots for godly behavior!

 

So, help me truly listen to others with my mind and heart; not just count off time till it’s my turn to say something. Help me focus on the person speaking and what they are trying to convey. Then let me measure out my words carefully and respond, not just react. And if what I am hearing is not to my liking, and I have a strong emotional response, guard my tongue so I do not create conflict. But help me be a peacemaker.

Father, I am trying to follow James’ suggestion. He says “Do not merely listen to the Word, and so deceive yourselves. Do what it says”. So help me listen more intently and pay attention to what You have to say to me in Your Word. Do not let me miss anything You have to show me or teach me or say to me as an encouragement. Father, I want the blessing in doing this: Listen more and speak less. Teach me how to keep “a tight rein on [my] tongue”.

Father, You made my ears and my tongue. Help me use them to bring You honor and glory. Holy are You, Lord! Hebrew translation: Hallelu Yah! Amen

James 1:19-26

Sept 9 Recognize Truth

O Father. I pray that I will not be “deceived by the serpent’s cunning as Eve was”, and that my “mind would not be led astray from a pure and sincere devotion to Christ.”

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The serpent used deception to lure Eve into sin. He approached her boldly, the better to distract her. He called into question what You had really said, the better to confuse her. He cunningly suggested that what You wanted for her was not enough; was even bad for her, the better to entrap her.

Father, help me avoid falling into whatever traps the evil one sets for me. Let me see through them; beyond the lure of the sound of his words, to the hook buried beneath. The answer to this ‘serpent speak’ is ‘God speak’. I need to be listening, really paying attention to all that You are saying to me. In Hebrew, the word is sh’ma. It means to listen so closely, so deeply, so diligently, that the words change the listener from the inside out. The meaning also incorporates a response to those words as being similar to that of a mother who recognizes her baby’s cry and drops everything to respond immediately to it. Father, let me sh’ma You, listen deeply and respond to You.

For my mind to be guarded enough so that I am “not led away”, I need to take some action myself. You give me, and every believer, armor: protection against the enemy. One item is the Helmet of Salvation. I believe that this helmet bears Your insignia so that all who see it will know I fight on Your side. And it protects not only my head, but my mind inside: my thoughts. In doing so, many lies the evil one would have me believe simply bounce off and never even enter my mind.

However, some lies are disguised, or they have a little bit of truth in them, and I listen to them.   But it is a twisted bit of truth, or a half truth. So before I accept it, I need to “take every thought captive to God”. This means I need to examine it and hold it up to Your truth. When I don’t, problems begin. Even the little things I accept that are not true can pull me away from a “pure and sincere devotion to Christ”. And I may not even realize it until I have strayed significantly off course.

So Father, help me remember to examine any thoughts and compare them to what You have told me. I will use Your Word as a plumb line.   That string with a metal weight at the end is pulled by gravity so that the resulting line is absolutely straight. Anything can be measured against this line to determine if it is ‘true’, or not.

Your Word is truth. Your Word is the absolute. Thank You for Your Word.   Thank You for the Helmet of Salvation. Thank You that when I sh’ma You, I will not be deceived by the serpent or led astray, away from You. Amen

II Corinthians 11:1-4

Apr 16 Your Voice, not the world

LToHear God's Voiceord, let me and my sons be like Caleb and Joshua. They spied out the Promised Land and saw all the goodness there.   They also saw the enemy for who they were, but knew that You would give victory and deliver them according to Your Word. They held to their convictions and lived a long life receiving all You had promised. Even in their old age, they were strong and vigorous because they served You wholeheartedly.

I do not know if goodness or enemies lie before me, but I know if I serve You wholeheartedly, I will receive all You promise. Your will, Your plan will not be thwarted. I will be blessed and receive an inheritance from You.

Father, let me also be like the widow who made her plea persistently. Let my faith be that I will not give up, but always lift my concerns and needs to You in prayer.   When You return, let me be found faithful, continuing in prayer, not being dissuaded by circumstances or the influences of this world.

Also, Lord, keep me mindful that my only righteousness comes from You, so I will not look down on anyone else, but remain humble. I am ever dependent on You, on Your mercy and on Your grace for my life and all that I have. Thank You for Your faithfulness – to warriors, to widows, to me. Amen

Joshua 14:6-15; Luke 18:1-14

Mar 26 Help me listen

“We will listen and obey.” This was the Israelites response to all You said on the mountain when they heard Your voice telling them how they should live.

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You commanded them to “Love the Lord your God with all your heart, all your soul and all your strength.” How do I do that Lord? I hear, and I believe, that You are the One and Only true God.   But how do I love You with all my heart and soul and strength? I can only do it with Your help. Please remind me when I speak or act or make a decision, that everything I do will either draw me closer to You, or move me away from You and Your will. Help me examine my thoughts, words, actions, and attitudes, to ensure that they are honorable and do not cause a distancing or separation from You.

You also tell me I am responsible to teach others about You and Your truth. So I need to live what I believe – talk about my faith and who You are to me and how You impact my life. Help me do that when I have others in my home. And when I travel. From the time I get up until the time I go to bed.

When I am not speaking of You, my faith should still be obvious to others by my dress, my countenance, my attitudes, how I treat others. When people come to my home, they should see more than just the symbols of the world’s values. They should sense Your peace. In my emails, tweets, facebook page and any other presentation to the world, I must be mindful that I represent You. As I am a Christ-follower, my presence in others’ lives shows whether I truly listen and obey, or whether I am a Christian in name only.

Many things in the world keep me from hearing You. The world is a loud, noisy place, with so many voices that distract or actively deceive; telling me what I need and how I should live to be ‘accepted’ and ‘successful’. So I must listen intentionally. Many things try and tempt me to draw me into materialism, humanism, and all kinds of ungodly ideologies; so I need to walk a path, live a lifestyle that intentionally shows others what I believe.

I will listen. And I will obey. And I will “proclaim the power of God”! Amen

Deuteronomy 5:1-6:9; Psalm 68:34

Feb 19 Let me hear

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“Whoever has ears to hear, let him hear.”

Father, thank You for giving me ears to hear. Help them to be tuned in to Your frequency so I can hear, or see, what You are saying to me in Your Word, in prayer, through other believers, and in my circumstances.  Help me keep my ears clean of the build up that might block my hearing You – the negative talk I say to myself, the self-doubt and self-criticism. And keep them clear of infection; sin which would dull my senses to what You would say.

Forgive me for the times I have blocked my ears because I did not want to hear the correction You were speaking to me, or the step I was too afraid to take.

I pray that in hearing, I would ‘hear’ or gain understanding. Hearing is only half the process. Not only do I need to hear what You are saying, but also understand what it means to me. Thank You for the times You explained what You meant in scripture parables so the message would be clear. Thank You for the times You have provided confirmation to me when I was unsure. Thank You that the more I listen and obey, the more I understand.

I have ears to hear, let me hear. Amen

Mark 4:1-25