Tag Archives: God’s Voice

Oh Give Thanks

Psalm 107 begins with these words:

Oh, give thanks to the Lord, for he is good! For his mercy endures forever.

I am reminded that we have every reason to give thanks. God is good. And the mercy he has shown us is eternal. But it seems that the author of this psalm realized that thankfulness isn’t necessarily one of our strong points. Several times these words are repeated:

Oh, that men would give thanks to the Lord for his goodness, and for his wonderful works to the children of men!

I’ve been in a funk lately. I find myself sitting alone in my home, watching TV or reading, and sighing a lot. I haven’t been motivated to walk even though the weather in my part of the world is nearly perfect this time of year. I read my Bible every day, and continue to write in my journal. I just haven’t felt led to post anything for several weeks. It seems God has been silent. Can that be? Does he have nothing of value to say to me through his Word?

Then I read Psalm 107 and recognize the problem is in me. I’ve neglected thankfulness. God has rescued me time after time, he has seen me through hard times, he’s revealed himself through victories. Every day there is evidence of his love and his presence. But I think I’m taking him for granted. I’m too busy feeling sorry for me.

So it’s time for an attitude check. I stopped this morning to consider how blessed I am, and the words of an old hymn came to mind. The lyrics are old school, but powerful:

Could we with ink the ocean fill,
And were the skies of parchment made;
Were every stalk on earth a quill
And every man a scribe by trade;
To write the love of God above
Would drain the ocean dry;
Nor could the scroll contain the whole,
Though stretched from sky to sky.

I don’t know what life is like for you right now. But if you know Jesus as your Savior, you are blessed beyond what could be recorded in the skies. I would encourage you (and me) to take our eyes off situations, other people, the challenges of life, and consider God. He is personal. He is present. And he wants you to know how much he loves you. Isn’t that reason enough to be thankful?

Here’s how my Father nudged me to read this psalm today:

Oh that Connie (you can insert your name if you are led) would give thanks to the Lord for His goodness, and for His wonderful works to her personally, lovingly, intimately.

May my life be lived out of a thankful heart to God, through whom all blessings flow.

The Good Shepherd

I was reading in John 10 this morning, and remembered something my pastor shared when he spoke on this text a few weeks ago. Jesus tells us he is the Good Shepherd as well as the door for the sheep. Maybe you already knew this, but this is what I learned:

Shepherds were with their sheep 24/7. They spoke to the sheep often so that they would recognize the shepherd’s voice. The more time the shepherds spent speaking to the sheep, the more familiar their voices became to their flock. Because there were times even shepherds needed a hot meal and a good night’s sleep.

Occasionally, the shepherds would lead their flocks into town, and put them in a community pen with sheep from other flocks. There was a gate and a guard to keep the sheep secure while the shepherd went home for a few hours. (I like thinking of Jesus as the gate, keeping me safe and secure, too).

In the morning, the shepherd fully rested, would go to the pen and begin talking. His sheep would hear his voice and go to him. The other sheep would simply ignore him. Those sheep did not recognize the shepherd’s voice. The shepherd would gather his flock and be on his way, leaving the others behind.

The question is, have I spent enough time with my Good Shepherd so that I know his voice? Have I devoured Scripture, spent time in prayer, listened to sound teaching so that I can distinguish my Shepherd’s voice from all other voices that are calling to me?

Or do I follow many voices, follow many ideas, believe things to be true that are not Scriptural, following this one, then that like a lost lamb? Jesus said his sheep hear his voice and follow him. Does that describe me? Describe you?

May it be so.

My Dear Good Shepherd, thank you for your voice that calls to me from your Holy Word. Thank you for the promptings that lead me where you want me to go. Thank you for loving me, caring for me, protecting me from the enemy who would destroy me if he could. May I stay close enough to you that I not only recognize your voice, but can ignore Satan’s voice as well. And may I follow you wherever you lead.

Hard Hearts and a New Year

The Bible tells us some hearts have become so hard against God that they will never come to him. (Read Revelation 15&16 for example). Prosperity, health, times of peace don’t draw them to the Savior. Poverty, sickness, and times of war don’t either. Some people are so tightly in Satan’s grasp they don’t even recognize the countless ways God is trying to get their attention.

In John’s vision, people watched the destruction of the Great City, Babylon. (chapter 18) Once the rich and powerful center of everything, the city received God’s wrath in a day. The neighboring towns and the merchants watched the destruction and said: That’s too bad. I feel sorry for that city. Now who will buy my wares? (from 18:11)

That got me to thinking. The world thinks they know what love, success, happiness, and contentment are. Satan has manufactured a pretty good imitation of God’s blessings. But in the end, those things which produce a false security, won’t hold. In the end, those people will be like the merchants, alone and ruined, and crying: What about me?

Life is not just the days we walk on planet Earth. It is forever. You will always exist.

One day, those who have humbled themselves and accepted God’s grace, the forgiveness of sin through the sacrifice of Jesus, will stand together and enjoy the best party ever thrown. The rest will find themselves alone, in darkness, crying in a loud voice: What about me?

2014 is almost behind us. It’s that time of year when many people reevaluate their lives, when they look back and think, What if?, and when they look ahead to a new year, a new start, a clean slate. I pray that as you do, you will consider your heart’s condition. God is trying to get your attention. Do you recognize it? Do you respond? Are you sensitive to his voice, or is your heart so hardened by sin  that you don’t even hear it?

Some good things will happen to you in 2015. And so will some bad things. In all that happens, look for what God is saying to you. Trust him. He won’t let you down.

Heavenly Father, some who read this blog are burdened by the events of 2014. Some have lost loved ones, some have faced physical challenges, some are lonely and afraid, some are confused and disheartened. I pray that all of us would check our heart’s condition. May we begin this new year humbled before you, repenting of our sin, accepting your grace, and determined to have hearts that are sensitive to what you have for us in 2015. Go with us God, as you have promised. May you find us faithfully obeying you, loving you, and spending time reading and learning from your written Word.   May our hearts be softened so you can mold us into the people you would have us be. Bless your people, Lord, and make us a blessing to others.