Friday September 16, 2022
Today is Friday, September 16 and we explore what the Bible says about listening for God.
As I enter a time of prayer, I pause and become still. I breathe slowly and deeply, and focus myself on the presence of God’s Holy Spirit.
Pause and Pray
Holy and loving God, I am here to listen for Your voice speaking in my life. Reveal the message You have for me through the power of Your Holy Spirit. I ask in the name of Jesus Christ, my Lord. Amen.
I praise God for His loving instruction and wise counsel using the ancient words of Proverbs 4.
Listen, my sons, to a father’s instruction; pay attention and gain understanding. I give you sound learning, so do not forsake my teaching. For I too was a son to my father, still tender, and cherished by my mother. Then he taught me, and he said to me, “Take hold of my words with all your heart; keep my commands, and you will live.” Proverbs 4:1-4
Pause and Pray
In the book of Acts, Paul preacheD to a Jewish audience in the city of Antioch. He told them that Jesus fulfilled the words of the prophets and cited Old Testament texts to prove that the resurrection of Jesus was the fulfillment of those scriptures. Paul left the synagogue with Barnabus and the people invited them back to speak again on the next Sabbath day. Many of the Jews and devout converts followed them and talked with them as they walked the streets of the city. Next week an even larger crowd gathered to hear Paul speak. This caused anger and jealousy among the Jews, but the Gentiles were hungry to hear from God and listened attentively to the word.
On the next Sabbath almost the whole city gathered to hear the word of the Lord. When the Jews saw the crowds, they were filled with jealousy. They began to contradict what Paul was saying and heaped abuse on him. Then Paul and Barnabas answered them boldly: “We had to speak the word of God to you first. Since you reject it and do not consider yourselves worthy of eternal life, we now turn to the Gentiles. For this is what the Lord has commanded us: I have made you a light for the Gentiles, that you may bring salvation to the ends of the earth.” When the Gentiles heard this, they were glad and honored the word of the Lord; and all who were appointed for eternal life believed. Acts 13:44-48
I try to imagine an entire city gathered to hear the word of God. How wonderful to have so many amassed and longing for the truth. Perhaps if my entire city gathered to hear a preacher from a religion other than my own, I might be jealous too. I consider times when I have been envious of the success of other churches instead of happy for the kingdom. I remember times I have been critical of the message because it did not come from a place with which I am familiar. Paul and Barnabus are contradicted, rejected and abused by the unhappy portion of the crowd. They answer this ridicule boldly. After all, they did preach to their own people first, but when they rejected God’s word they turned to others to share the gospel. Am I like the Antioch Jews in this story who reject and contradict or am I like the Antioch Gentiles who are glad and honor the word of God? Am I able to recognize the truth of God even when it comes from a new place? Am I able to recognize lies about God? Do I know I am destined for eternal life because of my acceptance of Jesus and belief in His word?
Ask: How do I honor the word of God in my life? When have I dishonored the word of God?
Pause and Pray
Lord, I am here, listening for Your word. Speak to me of eternal life and truth. Do not turn away, but shine the light that brings salvation to me and to others all over the world. I am very thankful for your offer of salvation and promise of eternal life. I believe in Jesus Christ my Savior and I honor Your word. I read Acts again, listening for the message you have for me today.
On the next Sabbath almost the whole city gathered to hear the word of the Lord. When the Jews saw the crowds, they were filled with jealousy. They began to contradict what Paul was saying and heaped abuse on him. Then Paul and Barnabas answered them boldly: “We had to speak the word of God to you first. Since you reject it and do not consider yourselves worthy of eternal life, we now turn to the Gentiles. For this is what the Lord has commanded us: ‘I have made you a light for the Gentiles, that you may bring salvation to the ends of the earth.’” When the Gentiles heard this, they were glad and honored the word of the Lord; and all who were appointed for eternal life believed. Acts 13:44-48
Ask: What image, word or phrase stands out to me when I slowly read this passage? What is God trying to say to me through these words of scripture?
Pause and Pray
What does this passage of scripture stir up within my spirit today? I imagine the crowds who are hungry for a message from God. I recall my own negative emotions from the past – emotions like jealousy and anger that caused me to contradict, reject or even “heap abuse” on someone for their opinion. I consider the times when I have gladly received the truth of God’s word and approached God’s message with honor, listening attentively to find the truth of scripture. The phrase “I have made you a light for the Gentiles” applies to Paul and Barnabus, but it also applies to me. I am called to honor God’s word and bring salvation to the ends of the earth. What is God saying to me about my past, present and future? Do I consider myself worthy of eternal life? Do I have the assurance that it is my own?
Pause and Pray
Lord Jesus Christ, I invite You into my circumstances to shine Your light upon my path. Show me the next steps in my spiritual journey and remind me how I am invited to approach the word of God. I treasure these quiet moments with You as I begin my day and ask You to direct my journey and teach me to walk the way of holiness. Amen.
Do you not know? Have you not heard? The Lord is the everlasting God, the Creator of the ends of the earth. He will not grow tired or weary, and his understanding no one can fathom. Isaiah 40:28
As I leave this time of prayer and go throughout my day, I listen for the voice of God in the holy scriptures and seek to shine the light of Jesus Christ for others.
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