READ: 1 Samuel 3:8-10
(8-9) God called again, “Samuel!”–the third time! Yet again Samuel got up and went to Eli, “Yes? I heard you call me. Here I am.”
That’s when it dawned on Eli that God was calling the boy. So Eli directed Samuel, “Go back and lie down. If the voice calls again, say, ‘Speak, God. I’m your servant, ready to listen.'” Samuel returned to his bed.
(10) Then God came and stood before him exactly as before, calling out, “Samuel, Samuel!”
Samuel answered, “Speak. I’m your servant, ready to listen.”
THINK: At the beginning of 1 Samuel, Hannah wanted to give birth to a son, but she was barren. She prayed earnestly, crying out to the Lord. God heard her prayer, and she gave birth to Samuel. She dedicated him to the temple, where he ministered under Eli the priest. Scholars believe Samuel was a teenager when the events of this passage occurred.
Does hearing God so clearly seem possible? How do you decipher between his voice and the other voices in your life? Samuel needed Eli’s guidance for this. What people around you could help you discern when God is trying to communicate with you and what he’s saying?
This is basically how I’ve felt all week. Why? Well, I’m a week behind on this blog. The truth is: I’m only behind on the blog because I’m behind on my devotional. And I’m behind on my devotional because I’ve not been making it a priority since I’ve been home like I was when I was away and was leaving the television off. I’ve been getting up in the morning, coming out to watch the news with my morning cup(s) of coffee, while checking Facebook & Pinterest on my iPad, until I get hungry. Then, I eat, and find something to do. Since my classes start next, I’ve been loafing this week, trying to avoid unpacking my junk from a summer of house-sitting. (Oh! How I hate to put laundry away!). It’s amazing & annoying to me just how easy it is to get distracted with day-to-day recounting stuff at home. I was not bothered by these things while I was away. But, I had also made up my mind to leave the television off & devote my spare time to God while I was away. I came back from those classes so refreshed. Since I’ve been back from class, I’ve not felt that refreshed. Obviously, there is a correlation. And this is why the above picture spoke to me! Once I’ve gotten behind, it’s just too easy to stop because Satan is good at trying to subvert or derail anything I’m doing that could potentially bring glory to God or benefit my relationship with him or others.
PRAY: Often the most effective way to hear God’s voice is to still our minds and quiet our hearts for a considerate amount of time. Set aside twenty minutes in a quiet place and make yourself comfortable. Invite God to communicate with you. Don’t read or pray. Just listen and be, brining your mind back if it wanders.
This week, I’ve not been very diligent to take this time, but I’ve had plenty of times of being in the car undisturbed, and I find that God speaks to me when I’m on the road, in the car, by myself. The prevailing message I’ve been hearing this week has been: you’ve not been spending time with me. You’re worrying about things and getting anxious. Things have happened this week that have had my stomach in knots, things that I have allowed to rob me of peace and joy. And things that have made me want to go into self-protective mode and wrench control of my life back out of God’s hands. This can only be because I’ve not been making my devotional time a priority. I’ve not even been trying to. What I have done is let the guilt & condemnation I feel over falling behind pull me farther away from God. And because I don’t know how many people actually read this, I’ve entertained the thought that it really wouldn’t matter if I just stopped posting. But…I knew when I started this that if I didn’t post everyday it would be way too easy to get out of the habit of doing the devotional, which would mean that I would fall back into my normal routine and would – once again – not be spending individual alone time with God. I’ve spent so much time there this past year, and have been a worried, anxious mess. It’s not healthy. And that leads to me not being healthy! It’s a vicious cycle, and I knew that when I decided to make this my daily routine.
LIVE: Sometime in the next week, schedule another twenty minutes of silence and once again listen and wait for God to speak to you. Don’t give up. Your practice will pay off.
So, all I’ve got to say is: my hank God for His Grace! If you’ve been keeping track, you will see that I am nearly two weeks behind on this blog because of getting sidetracked. The sad thing is: I’ve only been home from Lynchburg a month. But, rather than choosing to dwell on how big a “failure” I am because I have not performed well, I am going to use this as motivation to draw closer to God this week. I know that. God cares about what’s in my heart more than he cares about how well I perform. If I remember to dedicate this work to Him and remember that I am doing this to better my walk with The Lord, then it will become what it is supposed to become. If I choose to use is blog as a platform for my own glory, it will fall woefully short. I pray that people have been blessed by this. And I do enjoy waking up to check my mail and see that I have a new follower. It makes me do a little happy dance. BUT, that cannot be why I do this everyday.
I would love to think that this will be the last times am going to get sidetracked and get behind. I pray that it is, but I doubt it will be. But, I know that there is merit in getting up 8 times after falling down 7. I pray that everyone reading this realizes that, and finds the grace God gas made available to stand back up that 8th time.
God Bless You All!