Prayerfully Listening to God’s Word

Have you ever wondered what it would be like to hear God speak to you? I can’t promise Christians that they will hear voices, but I can promise Christians that they can hear verses. We have God’s love letter to us. Tragically, only about 1/3 of Christians read the Bible regularly.

I want to invite you to read through the Bible with me this year by spending around 15 mins a day prayerfully listening to God’s Word. Join others in the “Read the Bible for Life 4+1 Plan” on the YouVersion mobile app or print a hard copy of the plan here www.firstmckinney.com/bible. In just a little over 300 days, we will read through the entire Bible and Psalms 2x.

Consider starting a spiritual journal so that you can be intentional to hear God speak to you. Prayerfully ask God to speak to you through His Word. As you read the Bible, note a verse or verses that stand out to you. Then pick one verse to write out and answer these (S.O.S.) questions in response:

(S)ay – God, what are You saying to me? Summarize what God is saying through the verse or passage in your own words. What does this say about you? What does it say about God?

(O)bey – God, how do You want me to obey? Is there a command to obey?  Is there an example to follow?  How can you apply this truth to your life today? Be specific. So many times, I have stopped with something like: “I need to love better.” Instead of listening to How God wants me to obey like: “I need to stop right now and send an encouraging text to…”

(S)hare – God, who do You want me to share this with? We are called to be Jesus’ witnesses not lawyers. A witness shares what they have seen and heard. Who can you share with what God is teaching you?

Here is my journal entry from this morning as an example:

2/3/20 – Give Me Wisdom

James 1:5 – “If any of you lacks wisdom, you should ask God, who gives generously to all without finding fault, and it will be given to you.”

Say – If you don’t know what to do, you should request that God reveal it to you. He is a God that overflows onto us without holding back because of our sin. God will tell you what to do.

Obey – What a promise! I am wrestling with a leadership decision. I don’t know what to do. I’m going to ask God right now for him to reveal to me what He desires and spend time listening to His response… I am feeling like He is prompting me to pursue counsel from a pastor who has had to make this decision. God brought the name of a man I respect to mind.

Share – That man

After prayerfully listening to God and hearing Him direct me, I looked back to last year and noticed that God made this same verse jump off the page for me during the first day of my reading plan. I remember how God used it in my life over a two-day period when I was on a leadership retreat. His Word is alive and active! “All Scripture is breathed out by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness, that the man of God may be complete, equipped for every good work) (2 Timothy 3:16–17).

Will you join me? Let’s go! Set a time, a place and follow a plan to prayerfully ask God to speak to you through His Word this year.

Finding Freedom Through Forgiveness.

Psalms 32:1–2 “Blessed is the one whose transgression is forgiven, whose sin is covered. Blessed is the man against whom the LORD counts no iniquity, and in whose spirit there is no deceit.”

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What is God saying to me? I have two people in my life who have recently shared the burden of guilt they are shouldering. I am reminded of the many times I have sinned and battled shame. Psalms 32:3-4 describes that feeling: “For when I kept silent, my bones wasted away through my groaning all day long. For day and night your hand was heavy upon me; my strength was dried up as by the heat of summer.”

How will I obey? Confession… Psalms 32:5 David tells us how he found freedom: “I acknowledged my sin to you, and I did not cover my iniquity; I said, ‘I will confess my transgressions to the LORD,’ and you forgave the iniquity of my sin.”

Who will I tell? The two people in my life who have recently shared with me the guilt they are shouldering.

Holy Hearts or Hearts Wholly

2 Chronicles 16:9 “For the eyes of the Lord run to and fro throughout the whole earth, to give strong support to those whose heart is blameless toward him.”

Silhouette of a winner

What is God saying? This morning I read the story of King Asa in 1 Kings 15 and 2 Chronicles 14-16. Asa immediately follows Abijam whose “heart was not wholly true to the Lord his God” (1 Kings 15:3). In contrast, “the heart of Asa was wholly true to the Lord all his days” (Repeated word for word in 1 Kings 15:14 and 2 Chron 15:17). As a result, God gave Asa “strong support” because of his blameless heart (2 Chron 16:9).

How will I obey? I often praise God for the holy heart that I have been freely given through Christ that secures me eternally. Today, I’m reminded that my whole heart must be true to God to receive His strong support in this life. I am going to spend 15 minutes praying “Search me, O God, and know my heart! Try me and know my thoughts! And see if there be any grievous way in me, and lead me in the way everlasting” (Psalms 139:23–24)!

Who will I tell? Morning prayer group

What indicators on the dashboard of our lives will show us where our hearts are not wholly true to the Lord?

I am reading the Blue Letter Chronological Bible in 2016 and asking each day what God is saying to me, how should I obey, and who should I tell. You can find the plan in print and on You Version. Join me.

Where can I find help?

Isaiah 41:17-20 “When the poor and needy search for water and there is none, and their tongues are parched from thirst, then I, the LORD, will answer them. I, the God of Israel, will never abandon them. I will open up rivers for them on the high plateaus. I will give them fountains of water in the valleys. I will fill the desert with pools of water. Rivers fed by springs will flow across the parched ground. I will plant trees in the barren desert— cedar, acacia, myrtle, olive, cypress, fir, and pine. I am doing this so all who see this miracle will understand what it means— that it is the LORD who has done this, the Holy One of Israel who created it.”

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What is God Saying? When we reach the end of the rope (physically, emotionally, mentally, relationally, etc.): 1. God will answer. 2. He is with us. and 3. He will give us water.  Why? So all will see Him in our lives.

How can we obey? Draw near to The Water Source. Jeremiah 2:13 “for my people have committed two evils: they have forsaken me, the fountain of living waters, and hewed out cisterns for themselves, broken cisterns that can hold no water.”

Who can we tell? Who in your life can you encourage with this truth with today?

As I seek to follow Jesus everyday, I am reading the One Year Bible and daily asking the questions above in my personal journal. On occasion, I will post my journal entry online.

 

Biblical Boldness

2 Corinthians 3:4-6, 12 “Such is the confidence that we have through Christ toward God. Not that we are sufficient in ourselves to claim anything as coming from us, but our sufficiency is from God, who has made us sufficient to be ministers of a new covenant, not of the letter but of the Spirit. For the letter kills, but the Spirit gives life… Since we have such a hope, we are very bold.”man-in-front-of-tanks-tiananmen

What is God saying? Biblical boldness is Christ-confidence, not self-confidence. How do we access it? Paul says our confidence (like our salvation) is “through Christ,” “from God,” and “Spirit given.” If we want this boldness we must find it in God, not ourselves.

Two days ago, I was struck by a verse in my Go Training, discipleship group: Acts 4:13 “Now when they saw the boldness of Peter and John, and perceived that they were uneducated, common men, they were astonished. And they recognized that they had been with Jesus.” Note the progression: Being with Jesus > Boldness through common men.

How will I obey? Meet with Jesus and memorize Acts 4:13.

Who will I tell? My dad.

Biblical boldness is Christ-confidence, not self-confidence. Do you want it? Meet with Jesus.

As I seek to follow Jesus everyday, I am reading the One Year Bible and daily asking the questions above in my personal journal. On occasion, I will post my journal entry online.

Our Leader is a Need Meeter – Psalms 107:19-20

Psalms 107:19-20 “’LORD, help!’ they cried in their trouble, and he saved them from their distress. He sent out his word and healed them, snatching them from the door of death.”

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What is God saying? God is a “need meeting” Leader. In times of trouble we can cry out to Him for help.

How can we obey? Go to Him in prayer and ask Him to “give us this day our daily bread.” Specifically, I am going to Him with a troubled heart asking Him to lead me.

Who will we tell? Tell someone today about our “need meeting” Leader.

Are you in trouble, distress, sickness or even facing death? Cry out to God for help. 

As part of my desire to follow Jesus everyday, I am reading the One Year Bible and daily asking the questions above.

Living with Faith in God’s Faithful Love – Psalms 138:8

Psalms 138:8 “The LORD will work out his plans for my life— for your faithful love, O LORD, endures forever. Don’t abandon me, for you made me.”

Ellie and Rebecca, right after delivery.

What is God saying to me? Three days ago God gave Rebecca and me our second daughter. Ellie (fullness of God) Marie (asked of Child) was born healthy after a complicated pregnancy. We are overwhelmed with thankfulness. This morning I started in my Bible reading plan by reading Psalm 138 out loud over Rebecca and Ellie. It blessed us so much that we read it out loud a second time. It is a Psalm of thanksgiving (vv.1,4) in response to God’s faithful and loving involvement in our lives.

How will I obey? The NLT’s placement of the word FOR in verse 8 challenges me. “The LORD will work out his plans for my life— for your faithful love, O LORD, endures forever. Don’t abandon me, for you made me.” David is able to be confident in God’s plans being accomplished in his life because of his faith in God’s faithful love. In addition, he prays for God’s involvement in his life in light of God’s faithful love. Today, I want to be confident in and pray for God’s plans being accomplished in Ellie’s life. I want to do the same in relation to Rebecca’s recovery. However, I don’t approach him not knowing His character. I must have faith in God’s faithful love.

Who will I tell? Rebecca

How can you live with an active faith in God’s faithful love today?

The Bible is the Word of God and the power of God is released in our life when we apply it. Join us as we follow the One Year Bible plan. Links to read digitally can be found online at www.pcbc.org/bible.