Encouragment for Today - Nov. 16, 2010

 November 16, 2010
Living in the Hear and Now
Renee Swope

"My sheep listen to my voice; I know them, and they follow me." John 10:27 (NIV)

I sat on the couch looking out the window, wondering what the future held. Some opportunities were on the horizon. My excitement, mixed with the fear of getting over-committed, ignited a rapid firing of thoughts: What would I say yes or no to? What was God calling me to do? How would I figure out His plans and purpose for my schedule?

Wondering and worrying wasn't getting me anywhere, so I decided to start praying. I wrote questions in a notebook: "Lord, what should I say yes to? Where do You want me to spend my time? Will You please show me Your plans for me this coming year?"

I wanted a sneak peek into God's calendar so I could adjust mine. Instead, I sensed Him telling me not to worry about tomorrow but to live each day in the hear and now.

I'd done pretty well when it came to listening to God in the big things. It was when God called me to small acts of obedience behind the scenes that I was most challenged. A few weeks after my conversation with God and my commitment to listen more closely for His voice, I noticed my husband's side of the closet was a mess. I thought about how J.J. enjoys things being orderly, although it's not his natural inclination.

I remembered how frazzled he seemed the day before. Then I sensed God whispering to my heart, "One way you could really love J.J. and bring peace to his world would be to organize his side of the closet."

"He's a grown man; he can organize his own side of the closet. I have two kids, two dogs and myself to keep up with. Have you seen our garage and attic?" I thought.

"Did you hear Me? Are you going to obey Me now?" God's Spirit nudged.

Just that week I had read the parable of the talents in Matthew 25, and realized my attitude was like that of the third servant. He had not been entrusted with much and he buried his talent in the ground. Maybe he thought, "I wasn't given much so why even worry about being faithful with it? I'll just take it easy on this assignment. The master probably won't notice."

Sometimes I saw my role as a wife, daughter, mother and friend as "average" responsibilities - one-talent kind of assignment. Plenty of people have the same assignments, I thought. Without realizing it, I let myself slip into being selfish, inconsiderate or impatient here and there. But God wanted my willingness in every area of my life - hearing and acting on His promptings in my heart throughout my day.

Why does God want moment-by-moment, day-by-day obedience? Because He wants us to trust Him.

Obedience means actively exchanging our will for His. God knows it is hard for us to hear His voice and follow His plans for our tomorrows when we are not willing to obey Him in our todays. But He promises that when we are faithful with the little things, He will "put us in charge of many things" and give us a deeper joy than we have ever known (Matthew 25:21, NIV).

God is so patient as we learn to trust Him in the big and little things in life. And it's in our relationship with Him that we find the purpose, direction and meaning we're looking for. When we live in the "hear and now" our calling and our calendar begin to reflect our love for Him, not our need for fulfillment or the desire to be important in anyone's eyes but His.

By the way, I reorganized my husband's side of the closet. I'm almost sure I heard God chuckle and felt the warmth of His smile. May He smile on you today as you commit to live in the hear and now - acting on what you hear and living it out now.

Dear Lord, when You look at the assignments You've given me, do You find me faithful? Am I living and listening the way You want me to? Sometimes I fall into the trap of waiting for a better tomorrow or an easier assignment so that I can be faithful. Help me trust You. I want to reflect Your heart and extend Your hands today. In Jesus' Name, Amen.

Related Resources:
Renee's talking more about listening to God and learning to recognize His voice at www.ReneeSwope.com. And she's giving away a book that's helped her follow through on her promise to live in the hear and now. Enter to win by clicking here.

The Power of a Purpose Driven Mom (CD) by Renee Swope

Shaped with Purpose Workbook; Practical Guide to Discovering God's Purpose for Your Life and message on CD, by Renee Swope

For more everyday encouragement, connect with Renee on Facebook

What Happens When Women Say Yes to God by Lysa TerKeurst 

When you purchase resources through Proverbs 31 Ministries, you touch eternity because your purchase supports the many areas of life-giving ministry we provide at no cost. We wish we could, but we simply can't compete with prices offered by huge online warehouses. Therefore, we are extremely grateful for each and every purchase you make with us. Thank you!

Application Steps: 
Is there an area of your life where God is calling you to slow down, listen for His voice, and trust Him daily instead of running ahead of His plans?

Ask God to help you listen, recognize, and act on His gentle whispers as you go throughout your day. Visit Renee's interactive website for more encouragement and ideas on how you can distinguish God's thoughts from yours.

Do I desire to live in the "hear and now" - listening and obeying God in everything, believing I will discover His plans for tomorrow through my faithfulness today?

What roles and relationships has God entrusted to me? (mom, daughter, friend, classmate, wife, sister, etc.) How can I be more faithful in the little things in them?

Power Verses:

1 John 2:5, "If anyone obeys his word, God's love is truly made complete in him." (NIV)

Matthew 25:21, "You have been faithful with a few things; I will put you in charge of many things." (NIV)

© 2010 by Renee Swope. All rights reserved.

Proverbs 31 Ministries
616-G Matthews-Mint Hill Road
Matthews, NC 28105

Originally published Tuesday, 16 November 2010.