Encouragement for Today
“Living in the Hear and Now” – Part 1
Renee Swope, Director of Proverbs 31 Speaker Team, Speaker Team Member
John 5:19-20a, “The Son can do nothing by Himself; he can do only what He sees the Father doing, because whatever the Father does the Son does also. For the Father loves the Son and shows Him all He does.” (NIV)
We were on vacation. My husband had taken our sons to the beach so I could be alone to read and journal. I sat on the couch looking out the window thinking about the months ahead and wondered what the rest of the year might hold.
Some exciting things were happening in ministry. The Lord had opened doors for a book on which I had been working. A church had asked me to develop
I decided to turn my questions into prayers and penciled them in my notebook. "Lord, what should I say ‘yes’ to? Where do you want me to spend my time these next few months? Please show me what you have planned for me this coming year."
I was hoping for a sneak peek into His Kingdom calendar so I could make adjustments in mine. In His wisdom, God gently but firmly whispered to my heart, “Stop asking Me about tomorrow. I want you to live in the hear and now.” I think He may have even spelled it so I would be clear on the point He was making.
I was a bit surprised by this. I thought I had been listening, but in that quiet moment I knew God was calling me closer. He was much more concerned with my character than my calendar. Before He would entrust me with more ministry, He was going to train me to recognize the faintest whisper of His voice. He wanted to see if I was willing to obey Him in the little things, before He assigned me any bigger things.
Isn’t it easy to seek God for the larger plans in life, convinced that if we figure out what He wants us to do we’ll become the person He created us to be? Have you ever thought: “If only God would show me what job to take; what man to marry; what church to attend - then my life would be complete and I could serve Him with my whole heart?”
But how often do we get a glimpse of where He wants us to go and then assume we know how to get there? I can’t even count the times I have made that mistake. Then I wonder why I am not getting anywhere when I was sure I heard Him say, “This is the way, walk in it.”
Jesus shows us how to live each day completely dependent on our Father for the large and fine print written in our life plan. He was the perfect example of listening closely and obeying quickly. Jesus also let others see His dependence on His Father, telling them, “The Son can do nothing by Himself; he can do only what He sees the Father doing, because whatever the Father does the Son does also. For the Father loves the Son and shows Him all He does.” (John 5:19-20a)
So, you may be wondering, “Is it wrong to ask God about our future plans?” The answer is no. It’s okay to ask. Sometimes He’ll tell and sometimes He won’t.
One thing is sure – a prerequisite to joining Him in kingdom assignments is a willingness to listen closely for His instructions. He will ask for more of our ears than our efforts. Jesus did so with the disciples when He called them to be with Him before He sent them (Mark 3:14), and He will do so with us.
He knows we must follow Him so we can lead others to Him. He knows we must listen to His whispers of love if we are to tell others of His affection. For it is when we obey Him that we show submission to His leadership and His purposes are accomplished in our lives. It is when we live in the hear and now that we discover the “bigger” thing - the most important assignment we’ll ever have - to know Him and become like Him as we allow Him to live His life through us.
Tomorrow we’ll look at some practical ways we can “hear” his voice and obey in the little things as we grow faithful and available for the bigger things He may have for us.
My Prayer for Today:
Father, I confess that I have selective hearing. Many times, I don’t even ask what You are thinking about my plans and choices. When I do, it’s often because I am desperate and need wisdom for a big decision. Then I get frustrated because I don’t know what you are telling me. Could it be I have a hard time hearing you because I have grown unfamiliar with Your voice? Today, I lean in to listen. I ask that You would make my ears attentive and my heart willing to live in the hear and now. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.
Take time to quiet your heart and your thoughts right now. Be still and acknowledge that He is God and you are not. Tell Him your desires for today and then ask Him to show you His. Give Him permission to interrupt your thoughts and agenda and lead you in a different direction if He wants to. Get ready for a day filled with adventure and companionship as you walk hand-in-hand with your Maker.
Do I listen for God’s voice each day? Or do I assume I know what He wants me to do?
If God were to speak to me, would I recognize His voice?
Is my mind so full of worries (and the need for control) that my thoughts drown out the possibility of hearing God’s thoughts?
1 Samuel 3:10, “The LORD came and stood there, calling as at the other times, "Samuel! Samuel!" Then Samuel said, "Speak, for your servant is listening.” (NIV)
Psalm 119:16, “I delight in your decrees; I will not neglect your word.” (NIV)
John 14:31, “But the world must learn that I love the Father and that I do exactly what my Father has commanded me.” (NIV)
Becoming a Woman Who Listens to God, by Sharon Jaynes
Radically Obedient, Radically Blessed, by Lysa TerKeurst
What Happens When Women Walk in Faith, by Lysa TerKeurst
Originally published Wednesday, 14 September 2005.