Encouragement for Today
“How’s Your Reception?”
Sharon Jaynes, Vice President of Radio, Proverbs 31 Speaker Team Member
Mark 9:7, "This is my Son, whom I love. Listen to him!" (NIV)
When Steven was 13, he thought I was still living in the Dark Ages because I didn’t have a cell phone. But I didn’t want a cell phone. My car was one place where I could get away from the telephone’s constant pull on my attention, so I settled for just not being “with it.” Besides, he really just wanted me to have one so he could call into the radio station and win prizes on our drive to school each morning.
Boy, was I surprised that Christmas when I opened my lovely present from Steven to discover a flip-top cell phone purchased with his own money. How could I not appear grateful for a gift from my own child (that sly dog)?
“Thank you, Steven,” I said. “Now whenever Dad and I are out and you are home alone, I can call you anytime, from anyplace, to see what you’re doing.” From the look on his face, I could tell that the thought had never crossed his mind.
A few weeks later I decided to try out my new toy.
“Steven, this is Mom. Dad and I are in the car. When I hang up, I want you to call this number and let’s see if the phone works.”
We waited about three minutes, but the phone never rang.
“Steven, this is Mom again. What happened?”
“I called the number,” he explained, “but the operator said that your phone was turned off or that you were out of the calling area.”
I decided to call the cell phone company to find out what had happened.
“Let me explain something,” said the technical assistant. “A cellular phone works by sending out and receiving radio waves from a cell tower. You were at a point on the road that dips and forms a small valley, and the radio waves could not reach down into the dip for you to receive the signal. Another possibility is that your message was being blocked by a large building. And finally, Mrs. Jaynes, was your battery powered up? Have you charged it lately?”
“Yes,” I answered. “I charged it today.”
“And the antenna was up?”
“Yes,” I said, a little more than perturbed at all the parameters and requirements. “The antenna was up.”
I was more than frustrated with this two-by-six-inch piece of plastic, but it made me consider other transmissions that I had trouble receiving from time to time. John 10:27 says that the Lord speaks to His sheep and His sheep hear His voice. But why do I have so much trouble hearing from God? Could it be the same reasons that I have poor reception with my cellular phone?
If I’m having trouble hearing from God, I have to ask myself the same questions that the technical assistant asked me. Am I perhaps at a dip in the road? Sometimes a valley of depression can clog my spiritual ears in such a way that I don’t hear His gentle voice coaxing me to higher ground. Then, I need to start singing praises like David did in the Psalms and watch Him turn my valley into a level path.
Have I erected walls that are blocking God’s signals: walls of materialism, selfish ambition, or religion? If so, I need to tear them down. Is my battery pack powered up? If not, I need to plug into the Word and get recharged. Is my antenna raised or have I put it down like the Israelites, who, because of fear, told Moses, “Speak to us yourself and we will listen. But do not have God speak to us.” (Exodus 20:19, NIV) If I want to hear from Him, I need to make sure my spiritual antenna is up and that I am expectantly waiting to hear His voice.
Finally, why is it that I can sometimes place a call but often have trouble receiving one? I can go before the Lord at any time and He hears me. Though it doesn’t take more power to receive a message from Him, it does take more effort on my part to be receptive. In our fast-paced world, it takes more effort to stand still and listen than it does to speak. But I need to realize that what God has to say to me is much more important than anything I have to say to Him.
I held my little flip-top phone in the palm of my hand and thanked God for showing me once again how to hear His voice. What I realized was that hearing from Him was more than just receiving; it was also about making myself receptive.
My Prayer for Today:
Dear Lord, help me to hear Your voice. Whether through the pages of my Bible, prayer, the Holy Spirit’s prompting, other people, or nature, help me to hear Your still small voice in the business of my everyday life. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.
Are you currently experiencing some static in the communication waves between God and yourself? Spend some time today reading His Word and praying to conduct self-examination on how receptive you are. Then, ask yourself the following questions:
- Is there sin in your life that needs to be confessed before God, and then repented of?
- Though you may feel like you have been diligently talking to Him, are you slowing down long enough to give God a chance to speak to you in the midst of your busy schedule?
- Are there people, opinions, influences, or pressures that are shouting too loudly and blocking your reception? If so, it may be beneficial and/or necessary to remove yourself from some of those people or demands for a period of time until you have some clarity from the Lord.
- Are you struggling with depression or a foggy perception of God’s faithfulness in your life? If so, seek out opportunities for help, encouragement, and a chance to get a new perspective on life and on what God can do. Begin by praising God for all He has done in your life!
“If you’re talking, you’re not learning anything.” – Lolita B. West (Former elementary school teacher)
Journal about a time when you felt like you could not hear God’s voice. What was this experience like? How did it make you feel not to be able to hear the Shepherd’s voice leading you? Did you feel scared, anxious, or frustrated?
I challenge you to take a few minutes to be still before the Lord today. That’s right. Do not talk. Do not move a muscle (but don’t fall asleep!). Simply get still and quiet at His feet. Many times our biggest struggle is that we are so busy talking to Him that we aren’t learning anything from Him. Just like a disruptive child in a classroom, when we do all the talking, the Teacher cannot teach us!
John 14:26, “But the Counselor, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in my name, will teach you all things and will remind you of everything I have said to you.” (NIV)
Hebrews 3:7-8, “Today, if you hear his voice, do not harden your hearts as you did in the rebellion, during the time of testing in the desert.” (NIV)
Becoming a Woman Who Listens to God, by Sharon Jaynes
Message of the Month Club
Searching for God’s Treasures in Everyday Life (CD or tape), by Renee Swope
Originally published Friday, 14 October 2005.