Listen Up!

20130817-132904.jpgThis week we have looked at the challenge of living remarkably (A Remarkable Challenge.)  To do this we have talked about the need for this to begin internally with our relationship with God (Inside Out) and that you just have to be the you God created (What If…) Today, I want to look at how we can let God use us for His purposes.  So the question is this…Have you ever wished God would use a billboard to communicate with us?  Wouldn’t that be so much easier to understand and follow?  But if we want to hear God we have to be quiet.  We have to be still.  We have to have our hearts tuned to the channel of the Holy Spirit.  And we have to be ready to move, to take action when given direction.  Even when it doesn’t make sense.

Let me share a story with you about a woman who touched me deeply just by listening to the Holy Spirit and taking action, even though it didn’t make sense.  This was taken from a letter that I had written to my prayer team shortly after having been diagnosed with Takayasu’s arteritis.

I wanted to share another amazing story of how God continues to work and reveal himself. A little before 9:00 one evening this week my cell phone rang. I was tired and thought of not answering it but the number was vaguely familiar so I picked it up. The voice on the other end was a very dear lady whom I haven’t spoken with in probably a year. (I had worked with her in the creation of her image and marketing collateral for her non-profit organization, Pampering Parents, one of the projects I am most proud of having been part of. You can read her amazing story at Pamperingparents.org) She was almost as surprised to hear my voice as I was to hear hers as she tentatively said “Ashley, I didn’t know if I could still get ahold of you. You have been on my mind lately. How are you doing?” She didn’t even really know why she felt so compelled to call out of the blue.  I absolutely couldn’t believe my ears and the words began spilling out over one another as I began filling her in on “how I was.” She was absolutely shocked to hear everything that had been going on. The Holy Spirit had placed me on her heart and she listened. She began to encourage and share with me immediately, reminding me of 2 Corinthians 12 where Paul asks God three times to remove the thorn from his side and how through our weakness God is able to display his perfect strength.  This passage is one that I had already spent time in but God knew that I needed to hear that message and his words again that night from one of his servants. My spirit was so lifted after we prayed together and God’s presence was tangible. We serve an amazing Lord who continues to know just what I need and provides it at exactly the right moment.

If you listen and hear His voice, through God’s Word or other source, then you have a choice to obey God’s word or go your own way. Hebrews 3:15 says if you hear and do not respond it is the same as rebellion and hardens the heart. This is the path that leads to destruction; whether it is by willful rebellion or by indifference there is no distinction.
If you listen and obey, then generally, you are spiritually growing in relationship with Christ and seeking ways to serve “the Kingdom” mission with your gifts and talents. If you are listening you should be shrinking and He should be increasing in you. His kingdom should be becoming more and more important to you each day and you should be less and less concerned with the cares of this world and its enticements. I wish this narrow road to perfection were an overnight process but like the people of Israel this sometimes seems like a back and forth process in life. Finishing well is what matters not how or when you start.

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