Today’s Truth “The seed on good soil stands for those with a noble and good heart, who hear the word, retain it, and by persevering produce a crop” (Luke 8:15 NIV).
Friend To Friend Have you ever thought about how frustrated God must feel when He calls out to us and gets no response? The Lord taught me a little lesson in how to be a better listener through a gift from my son.
When Steven was thirteen, twelve years ago, 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 being a little archaic. 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)? Of course he convinced my husband to pay the monthly fees. “After all,” he argued, “it is much too dangerous for a woman to be driving around town without a cell phone.”
“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 was the antenna up?” (This was when cell phones actually had antennae.)
“Yes,” I said. “The antenna was up.”
Finally I asked, “Why could I send a call, but I could not receive a call?”
“Because it takes more call strength to receive a call, than to send one,” she explained.
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 cell 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 in 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 be 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 sure I was receptive.
Let’s Pray Dear Lord, help me to hear Your voice when You speak. If there are walls that I have erected that are blocking me from hearing You, please show me what they are so that I can tear them down. Fill me afresh with the Holy Spirit today. Charge my spiritual battery! Thank You for giving me two ears and only one mouth, and teach me to use each one appropriately.
In Jesus’ Name,
Now It’s Your Turn I love this quote: “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 or anyone else!
I’d love to hear how God is speaking to you!
Today’s devotion was taken from Sharon’s book, If you would like to learn more about how to hear God through the Bible, prayer, creation, circumstances and other people, then this book is for you. In it, Sharon also teaches about Road Blocks that hinder hearing from God and how to remove them. Also, make sure and check out the featured summer resource.
I heard God loud and clear this morning. I cried out to the LORD only a few days ago about not be able to hear Him. I asked the LORD to speak to me. I realize today that He is speaking but there’s something wrong with my reception. Thank you so much for this gentle reminder.
God bless you as you continue to bless His people through this service.
I just came out of an unreceptive time. I was being over-ambitious. I can never get enough of God. I always feel the desire for more, and this time, I tried to fix it myself. I decided that I needed to start reading all of the devotional books that I don’t have time for; I decided that I would take an online christian course. I felt like I needed someone or something else to teach me because hearing from God for myself was just not working right then. I would turn on my worship music to try to “enter in”, and then my children would of course interrupt that. Then I would open my Bible to where I know He wanted me and read, but get nothing. I turned hearing from him into a process because I knew how he has spoken to me in the past, and I know how I stay close to Him. Well, the scriptures that He has been taking me through have been a little boring to me. I would keep asking Him what am I reading this for, I just don’t understand why I am here. And all of the other things that I was trying to do just never worked out so one by one I gave up, but I pressed through those scriptures out of obedience (because you know when you know what He has told you to do). And then there it was. So I began to journal about the few verses that jumped out at me, and before I knew it I had been writing for over an hour. Page upon page. I can’t tell you how many words He has given to me through writing. I just know when it’s Him writing and not me. And my kids were so well behaved that nothing was becoming a distraction. I guess sometimes I just want to know when all He wants me to do is be obedient and He will get me there, or show me in His timing. I don’t need to know the plan, I just need to love Him and be obedient. So now with this word that I have been given I am praying about an opportunity to speak at my church for national women’s ministry day. Our women’s leader is just waiting for my answer. Last year I spoke for the first time ever for the same day. God revealed to our leader that I would have the word and then he showed me (I of course didn’t think it was God telling me this until it was confirmed by the word and the other woman) I just don’t do that…I work in the background. Not in my own strength, but with His could this ever happen. And now He has done it again. I am just so grateful that I could be used for His greater purpose, when I know that I am not good enough. I love Him and thank Him for His grace and mercy in my life and everyone elses who will accept it.
Thanks for your obedient heart and devotions. They are truly uplifting and inspiring.
This is such a beautiful msg.
Thank you for all these msges 🙂
God must be tired of talking to me. ..
and i still keep on complaining, ‘why aren’t you answering my prayers.?’
He must have talked to me in many ways . . but am so so deaf in hearing His voice. .
pls keep me in your prayers that i’ll be diligently listening to His voice and faithfully reading His word (really weak in this area.)
Thank you once again Sharon.
May God who cares for your little details and yet did great things bless you & keep you safe & use you more as His hand to share His word. Amen.
Hi Sharon..Thank you for the wonderful devotion.Indeed God used you as an instrument to speak to me..Lately Im kinda frustrated and anxious of my life..Thank you for reminding me that I have to tear down walls in my life that hinders me of hearing God’s voice.God bless!
Well said, Sharon! Thank you for allowing yourself to be used so mightily by God. Your cell phone analogy really made the message SO clear! Yup, this truly spoke to my heart and mind; been seriously blocked on the receiving end recently (and SO frustrated!).
Going to get quiet right now.
Thank you, Sharon, for sharing such a wise message. Tis true our ears are not tuned in to God’s voice and some walls are interfering with the reception. May God continue to bless and guide you and your entire family.
Thanks for this sobering devotion. I was really blessed by it.
May the Lord continue to be with you abundantly and continue to use you to minister to others.
This is long overdue on my part. I read your devotions every day. I subscribe to “Light for the Journey”, and faithfully follow it. Now, there are days when I’ve put it off. Those are the “bad reception” days, and believe me, I’ve had so, so many of those lately. My Dad very recently died, and I am in a valley right now, hanging onto the rope of God’s Word literally for dear life! I start each day by first working on the bible study in Journey, then reading your devotion. It has changed my life! Each day, I find new strength – my faith is reinforced, and I see miracles happening all the time! You just need to know how profoundly this little email has impacted my life. THANK YOU – THANK GOD!
Thank you so much for your encouraging words!
This devotional was so timely. I have been increasingly aware that I do not allow myself to be quiet before the Lord. Just last night I went for an evening walk all by myself..well actually a walk with Jesus really. I was quiet before the Lord and prayed that He would speak to my heart…so I continued on my walk…silent and with an expectant heart. I heard from the Lord, but I guess I always have the concern that it is me and not Him. I prayed that He would open my heart to hear what He had to say to me, so I am trusting that. Thank you for your encouragement. Your devotionals are wonderful and truly appreciated.
Thank you so much for this. When I sat down to check my email I was in a place where I have been praying for God’s word in a decision in my family’s life. I was praying so hard that I forgot to listen for an answer. It was exactly what I needed to hear at this moment. Thank you for allowing God to speak through you to me today.
Thank you for such encouraging words. We get so busy with our daily lives that we can’t hear from God. We need to be in a position to hear what God is trying to tell us. The Word of God says Be still and know that I am God (Psalm 46:10), and that’s what we need to do BE STILL, thanks again for such inspirational words of encouragment.
This was a very helpful message. It’s way too easy for me to get ‘caught up’ in the busy-ness of my life. Your narrative was a helpful reminder to STOP, be still, and listen – and receive His peace. It’s such an inspiration how you are able to take the most mundane event and see the wisdom in it. Thank you and God bless!