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Pursuing the Heart of God – Day 53 – Be Humble

Pursuing the Heart of God – Day 53

Be Humble

Lord, please give me a picture of what it means to be humble. What would You have me do walk in greater humility? How do You want me to serve others? I confess that I am prideful, and I request that expose my pride every time it surfaces. Help me to see the error of my ways.

A Message from God’s Heart to Yours:

Dear one, I am your Father in heaven, the Sovereign Lord of all, everlasting God, Creator of the ends of the earth (Isaiah 40:28). I speak and even the wind and waves obey My voice (Mark 4:41). I rule and reign over heaven and earth, yet I gave the life of My Son for you. Jesus Christ is the picture of humility. He humbled Himself, taking on flesh of a man, in order to reconcile you to Me so that we could share an intimate relationship. He came to earth not to be served, but to serve (Matthew 20:26).

Jesus, My Son, bore the weight of all the sins of humankind: past, present, and future; once for all. This is real—it’s a personal sacrifice—He humbled Himself and died for your sin. He laid down His life in exchange for yours. He suffered the worst possible death, hanging on a cross—a sentence reserved for the worst of criminals. He did it willingly in obedience to His Father’s will. Greater love has no one than this: to lay down one’s life for one’s friends (John 15:13). You are My friend, and My Son did this for you.

I now ask you to do the same: lay down your life for Me. Humble yourself and I will lift you up (James 4:10). Serve one another in love (Galatians 5:13). Value others above yourself, not looking to your own interests but to the interests of the others (Philippians 2:3-4). Set your heart and mind on things above (Colossians 3:1-2), not on earthly things of your own desire. I favor the humble and contrite in spirit (Isaiah 66:2). Clothe yourself with humility toward others, because, I oppose the proud but show favor to the humble (1 Peter 5:5).

In your heart, you make your plans, but it is I, the Lord, who establishes your steps (Proverbs 16:9). Your own plans may fail, but My plans for you are better than you can conceive or imagine. Lay down your pride. Do not be so independent; but be dependent on Me. I hate pride and arrogance (Proverbs 8:13). Pride brings a person low, but the lowly in spirit gain honor (Proverbs 29:23). Sow pride and reap destruction; sow humility and reap honor. Love Me with all your heart, soul, strength, and mind. Love your neighbor as yourself. Do this and live (Luke 10:27-28). I do not say love yourself only and take pride in yourself, but love Me first with your whole heart and love others as you have been loved by Me—unconditionally.

Prayer:

Thank You, Lord. I have a better understanding of humility. Please help me walk out your desires. I submit myself to Your Spirit and ask that He would guide me, convict me, and empower me to live according to Your will. May my words and actions be a beautiful aroma to Your senses. Please continue to speak to me even more personally now as we meet one-on-one. Thank You so much. In the name of Jesus Christ, I pray. Amen.

Two-way Conversation with God: 

  • Father, please list some specific ways I have been prideful recently. (Record every thought He gives you.)

 

  • Jesus, you are the ultimate example of humility. Help me remember all you’ve done that I might live in a similar manner and bring glory to Your name. Lord, in what areas do I need to get rid of pride? (Write everything you think and hear.)

 

  • Holy Spirit, bring Your conviction upon my heart. I confess that my pride shows through in these ways that you have convicted me with just now:_______________ (fill in the blank). Please forgive me and help me live into the new creation You made me when I accepted You as my Savior and Lord.

Review God’s thoughts and impressions you’ve sensed and written above. What Scripture comes to mind as you review your notes? Use the concordance of your Bible to look up an impression from God’s Word. Record the verse or passage here. Write all insights and encouragement the Holy Spirit illumines for you as you read God’s Word right now.

Prayer:

Jesus, thank You for humbling Yourself and taking on the nature of a man, so that You would be the perfect sacrifice to bring me into a saving relationship with my heavenly Father. Thank You for exposing my pride. Please help me to live in Your humility and victory demonstrated on the cross. As I become the lowly in spirit—the servant—may You become greater and be glorified in me. In Jesus’ name, I pray. Amen.

Supporting Scripture:

Deuteronomy 10:12, And now, Israel, what does the Lord your God ask of you but to fear the Lord your God, to walk in obedience to Him, to love Him, to serve the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul, and to observe the Lord’s commands and decrees that I am giving you today for your own good?

1 Samuel 3:10, The Lord came and stood there, calling as at the other times, “Samuel! Samuel!”

Psalm 25:9, He guides the humble in what is right and teaches them His way.

Psalm 149:4, For the Lord takes delight in His people; He crowns the humble with victory.

Proverbs 8:13, To fear the Lord is to hate evil; I hate pride and arrogance, evil behavior and perverse speech.

Proverbs 11:2, When pride comes, then comes disgrace, but with humility comes wisdonm.

Proverbs 16:5, The Lord detests all the proud of heart. Be sure of this: They will not go unpunished.

Proverbs 16:9, In their hearts humans plan their course, but the Lord establishes their steps.

Proverbs 22:4, Humility is the fear of the Lord; its wages are riches and honor and life.

Proverbs 29:23, Pride brings a person low, but the lowly in spirit gain honor.

Isaiah 40:28, 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 57:15, For this is what the high and exalted One says—He who lives forever, whose name is holy: “I live in a high and holy place, but also with the one who is contrite and lowly in spirit, to revive the spirit of the lowly and to revive the heart of the contrite.”

Isaiah 66:2, “These are the ones I look on with favor: those who are humble and contrite in spirit, and who tremble at My word.”

Zephaniah 2:3, Seek the Lord, all you humble of the land, you who do what He commands. Seek righteousness, seek humility; perhaps you will be sheltered on the day of the Lord’s anger.

Matthew 11:28, 28“Come to Me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. 29Take My yoke upon you and learn from Me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. 30For My yoke is easy and My burden is light.”

Matthew 20:26, “Not so with you. Instead, whoever wants to become great among you must be your servant, and whoever wants to be first must be your slave—just as the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give His life as a ransom for many.”

Matthew 23:12, “For those who exalt themselves will be humbled, and those who humble themselves will be exalted.”

Mark 4:41, They were terrified and asked each other, “Who is this? Even the wind and the waves obey Him!”

Luke 10:27-28, 27He answered, “’Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength and with all your mind’ and, ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’ 28You have answered correctly,” Jesus replied, “Do this and you will live.”

Luke 14:11, “For all those who exalt themselves will be humbled, and those who humble themselves will be exalted.”

Luke 22:27, “For who is greater, the one who is at the table or the one who serves? Is it not the one who is at the table? But I am among you as one who serves.”

John 12:26, “Whoever serves Me must follow Me; and where I am, My servant also will be. My Father will honor the one who serves me.”

John 15:13-14, 13“Greater love has no one than this: to lay down one’s life for one’s friends. 14You are My friends if you do what I command.”

2 Corinthians 10:1, By the humility and gentleness of Christ, I appeal to you—I, Paul, who am “timid” when fact to face with you, but “bold” toward you when away!

Galatians 5:13-14, 13You, my brothers and sisters, were called to be free. But do not use your freedom to indulge the flesh; rather; serve one another humbly in love. 14For the entire law is fulfilled in keeping this one command: “Love your neighbor as yourself.”

Ephesians 4:2, Be completely humble and gentle; be patient, bearing with one another in love.

Philippians 2:3-11, 3Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit. Rather, in humility value others above yourselves, 4not looking to your own interests but each of you to the interests of the others. 5In your relationships with one another, have the same mindset as Christ Jesus: 6Who, being in very nature God, did not consider equality with God something to be used to His own advantage; 7rather, He made himself nothing by taking the very nature of a servant, being made in human likeness. 8And being found in appearance as a man, He humbled Himself by becoming obedient to death—even death on a cross! 9Therefore God exalted Him to the highest place and gave Him the name that is above every name 10that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, in heaven and on earth and under the earth, and 11every tongue acknowledge that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.

Colossians 3:1-2, 1Since, then, you have been raised with Christ, set your hearts on things above, where Christ is, seated at the right hand of God. 2Set your minds on things above, not on earthly things.

Colossians 3:23-24, 23Whatever you do, work at it with all your heart, as working for the Lord, not for human masters, 24since you know that you will receive an inheritance from the Lord as a reward. It is the Lord Christ you are serving.

James 4:6-8, 6But He gives us more grace. That is why Scripture says: “God opposes the proud but shows favor to the humble.” 7Submit yourselves, then, to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you. 8Come near to God and He will come near to you.

James 4:10, Humble yourselves before the Lord, and He will lift you up.

1 Peter 5:5-6, 5In the same way, you who are younger, submit yourselves to your elders. All of you, clothe yourselves with humility toward one another, because, “God opposes the proud but shows favor to the humble” (Proverbs 3:34). 6Humble yourselves, therefore, under God’s mighty hand, that He may lift you up in due time.

Copyright © Sindy Nagel. All Rights Reserved

Pursuing the Heart of God – Day 31 – Child of God

Pursuing the Heart of God – Day 31

Child of God

Lord, what does it mean that I am Your child? How have I earned that awesome title? To what do I owe the amazing privilege of being a child of God?

A Message from God’s Heart to Yours:

My child, you have not earned this privilege of being called a child of God. It was given to you when you were created by Me, and when you were reborn again by faith in My Son, Jesus Christ. I knit you together in your mother’s womb (Psalm 139:13). I created you because I love you. I know you by name and you have found favor with me (Exodus 33:13).

Before you were born, I set you apart (Jeremiah 1:5) and called you by name (John 10:3). I have lavished My great love on you; you are My blessed child (1 John 3:1). I desire a more cherished relationship with you on a daily basis. You are My child, and I love to spend time with you alone. Will you put Me first and make Me your highest priority?

In Christ Jesus, you are My child through faith (Galatians 3:26). Your sin separated you from Me. However, I provided the way to reconciliation with Me. When you received Christ as your Savior and believed in the risen Jesus Christ as My Son, I gave you the right to become My child, adopted by Me, through faith in Christ (John 1:12-13).

For My Son, Jesus Christ, has said, “Truly I tell you, unless you change and become like little children, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven. Therefore, whoever takes the lowly position of this child is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven. And whoever welcomes one such child in My name welcomes Me” (Matthew 18:2-5). Take on the nature of a child of God, a lowly infant who is: dependent, pure, humble, meek, inquisitive, unassuming, obedient, passionate, loving, forgiving, and merciful. Be merciful as I am merciful, love your enemies and do good to them Then your reward will be great and you will be a child of the Most High (Luke 6:35-36).

You no longer need to remain in darkness. I am the light of the world, follow Me and have the light of life! (John 8:12). Believe in the light and walk in the light as children of the light (John 12:35-36). You are the light of the world; do not hide your light or allow the enemy to extinguish it. Let your light shine before others and glorify your Father in heaven (Matthew 5:14-16).

You are a child of God, and therefore, you are led by the Spirit of God. The Spirit you received when you confessed Jesus as your Savior and Lord brought about your adoption to sonship. And by Him you are given the right to cry, “Abba, Father.” The Spirit Himself testifies with your spirit that you are God’s child. Now if you are His child, then you are His heir—heir of God and co-heir with Christ, if indeed you share in His sufferings in order that you may also share in His glory (Romans 8:14-17).

You are human and you disobey Me occasionally. However, because you are My child, whom I love, I discipline you when you need it, in order that you may share in My holiness. No discipline seems pleasant at the time, but painful. Later on, however, it produces a harvest of righteousness and peace for those who have been trained by it (Hebrews 12:10-11). Consider yourself a legitimate child of God, when I love you enough to discipline you in the training of the Lord for a future harvest of righteousness and peace.

My blessed one, being a child of God is a privilege. It is an honor and a freedom. Along with any hardships you endure, you will also experience My favor in life, as My child. I will take care of you and provide for you. I will protect you and shield you. I will rescue you and uphold you. I am your loving Father, the Great Shepherd of His sheep. You are My little lamb that I love dearly.

Prayer:

Father in heaven, thank You so much for creating me, loving me, and adopting me as Your child. I am so blessed to be included as your little lamb in Your sheepfold. Thank You for Your favor as a child of the King. Thank You for your protection and provision. I live to bring You all the glory, honor, and praise You are due. Lord, please share more of Your passions with me right now as we sit in conversation with one another. In Jesus’ name, I pray. Amen.

Two-way Conversation with God: 

  • Father God, will You now speak to Me personally about my privilege and role as Your child. What do You desire from me? (Record all the words and thoughts He gives you now.)

 

  • Jesus, my Savior and Lord, thank You for providing the way back to God, the Father. Thank You for the many blessings my faith in You affords me. Please tell me what my faith in You offers me as God’s heir, co-heir with You. (Write whatever pops into your mind right now as you listen to His voice.)

 

  • Holy Spirit, help me assume the lowly position as a Your child. May I desire to be led by You in everything I do and say. Teach me how to remain in step with You all throughout my days. (Journal all ideas you hear in your thoughts.)

 

Review God’s thoughts and impressions you’ve sensed and written above. What Scripture comes to mind as you review your notes? Use the concordance of your Bible to look up an impression from God’s Word. Record the verse or passage here. Write all insights and encouragement the Holy Spirit illumines for you as you read God’s Word right now.

Prayer:

Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, thank You for Your love and the ability to hear Your voice in my thoughts. Thank You all for the work You have done in my life to bring me into a saving relationship with the Lord, an abundant life on this earth, and an eternity in heaven with You. I am truly blessed to be called a ‘Child of God,’ and I am eternally grateful for this privilege. Spirit please lead me and guide me through this life, so that I may let my light shine for others to see Your goodness and Your grace bringing all the glory to My Father in heaven. In the name of Jesus, I pray. Amen.

Supporting Scripture:

Exodus 33:12-13, 12…You have said, “I know you by name and you have found favor with me.” 13If you are pleased with me, teach me Your ways so I may know You and continue to find favor with You…

Deuteronomy 14:1, You are the children of the Lord your God.

Psalm 139:13-14, 13For You created my inmost being; You knit me together in my mothers’ womb. 14I praise You because I am fearfully and wonderfully made; Your works are wonderful, I know that full well.

Jeremiah 1:5, “Before I formed you in the womb I knew you, before you were born I set you apart…”

Matthew 5:9, “Blessed are the peacemakers, for they will be called children of God.”

Matthew 5:14-16, 14“You are the light of the world. A town built on a hill cannot be hidden. 15Neither do people light a lamp and put it under a bowl. Instead they put it on its stand, and it gives light to everyone in the house. 16In the same way, let your light shine before others, that they may see your good deeds and glorify your Father in heaven.”

Matthew 18:2-5, 2He called the little children to Him, and placed the child among them. 3And He said: “Truly I tell you, unless you change and become like little children, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven. 4Therefore, whoever takes the lowly position of this child is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven. 5And whoever welcomes one such child in My name welcomes Me.”

Matthew 19:14, Jesus said, “Let the little children come to Me, and do not hinder them, for the kingdom of heaven belongs to such as these.”

Mark 10:13-16, 13People were bringing little children to Jesus for Him to place His hands on them, but the disciples rebuked them. 14When Jesus saw this, He was indignant. He said to them, “Let the little children come to Me, and do not hinder them, for the kingdom of God belongs to such as these. 15Truly I tell you, anyone who will not receive the kingdom of God like a little child will never enter it.” 16And He took the children in His arms, placed His hands on them and blessed them.

Luke 6:35-36, 35But love your enemies, do good to them, and lend to them without expecting to get anything back. Then your reward will be great, and you will be children of the Most High, because He is kind to the ungrateful and wicked. 36Be merciful, just as your Father is merciful.

Luke 18:16-17, 16But Jesus called the children to Him and said, “Let the little children come to Me, and do not hinder them, for the kingdom of God belongs to such as these. 17Truly I tell you, anyone who will not receive the kingdom of God like a little child will never enter it.”

John 1:12-13, 12Yet to all who did receive Him, to those who believed in His name, He gave the right to become children of God—13children born not of natural descent, nor of human decision or a husband’s will, but born of God.

John 8:12, When Jesus spoke again to the people, He said, “I am the light of the world. Whoever follows Me will never walk in darkness, but will have the light of life.”

John 10:2-4, 2The one who enters by the gate is the shepherd of the sheep. 3The gatekeeper opens the gate for Him, and the sheep listen to His voice. He calls His own sheep by name and leads them out. 4When He has brought out all His own, He goes on ahead of them, and His sheep follow Him because they know His voice.

John 12:35-36, 35Then Jesus told them, “You are going to have the light just a little while longer. Walk while you have the light, before darkness overtakes you. Whoever walk in the dark does not know where they are going. 36Believe in the light while you have the light, so that you may become children of light.”

Romans 8:14-17, 14For those who are led by the Spirit of God are children of God. 15The Spirit you received does not make you slaves, so that you live in fear again; rather, the Spirit you received brought about your adoption to sonship. And by Him we cry, “Abba, Father.” 16The Spirit Himself testifies with our spirit that we are God’s children. 17Now if we are children, then we are heirs—heirs of God and co-heirs with Christ, if indeed we share in His sufferings in order that we may also share in His glory.

Romans 9:26, and, “In the very place where it was said to them, ‘You are not my people.’ There they will be called ‘children of the living God.’”

Galatians 3:26, So in Christ Jesus you are all children of God through faith.

Hebrews 12:7-11, 7Endure hardship as discipline; God is treating you as His children. For what children are not disciplined by their father? 8If you are not disciplined—and everyone undergoes discipline—then you are not legitimate, not true sons and daughters at all. 9Moreoever, we have all had human fathers who disciplined us and we respected them for it. How much more should we submit to the Father of spirits and live! 10They disciplined us for a little while as they thought best; but God disciplines us for our good, in order that we may share in His holiness. 11No discipline seems pleasant at the time, but painful. Later on, however, it produces a harvest of righteousness and peace for those who have been trained by it.

1 John 3:1, See what great love the Father has lavished on us, that we should be called children of God! And that is what we are.

Copyright © Sindy Nagel. All Rights Reserved

Pursuing the Heart of God – Day 29 – For the Good of Those Who Love Me

Pursuing the Heart of God – Day 29

For the Good of Those Who Love Me

Lord, we know that even Christ followers are not free from personal struggles, challenges, trials, and disappointments. At times You allow us to experience difficulties in order to grow us in our faith and fortify our relationship with You. It is during these times, that we come to the end of ourselves and have no place else to turn, but to You. Thank You that You wait patiently for us to seek You and depend on You. When we seek You in the middle of the hardships, You strengthen our faith and increase our trust in You. We have the awesome promise that You will use all these trials, challenges, and disappointments for our good. Your love and grace are truly amazing!

A Message from God’s Heart to Yours:

My child, when you face difficulties in this life, rather than falling away from Me, run toward Me. Stay firm in the faith and put your trust in Me. Though you face opposition and obstacles, I am teaching you persistent determination. Do not be too eager for immediate resolution to your problems. Allow Me to do My work in My perfect timing and bring about the best for all concerned. In the process, I will teach you abiding hope and perseverance that will get you through anything you may face in the future as well.

Adversity may reveal a hidden sin in your life. Do not run ahead hoping to speed your way through this hardship. Take a step back and pay attention to the conviction of the Holy Spirit (John 16:8). When necessary, confess your sin and turn away from it. Do not return to the ways of the flesh. You are a new creation in Christ Jesus (2 Corinthians 5:17). Do not default to your old nature. Allow the God of peace to sanctify you through the work of the Holy Spirit (1 Thessalonians 5:23-24). Allow your adversity to be a bridge to a more meaningful relationship with Me.

Cast all your anxiety on Me. I care for you. Be alert. Your enemy the devil prowls around looking for someone to devour. Resist him, standing firm in the faith, because you know that the family of believers throughout the world is undergoing similar sufferings. After you have suffered a little while, I, Myself will restore you and make you strong, firm, and steadfast. All power is Mine for ever and ever (1 Peter 5:7-11).

 Child of Mine, My ways are higher than your ways and My thoughts than your thoughts (Isaiah 55:9). I know all things, and I will work all things together for the good of those who love Me, who have been called according to My purpose (Romans 8:28). Allow Me the room to move in your life in My ideal timing. Be strong and take heart, wait upon Me (Psalm 27:14). Be joyful in hope, patient in affliction, faithful in prayer (Romans 12:12). Be joyful in the confidence of knowing I am in control. Endure your suffering with forbearance. Always persevere in a continual posture of prayer. Give thanks in all things, at all times (1 Thessalonians 5:18).

I will allow this adversity only as long as it takes to accomplish My purpose in you. I will not leave you in it any longer than is necessary. You may have troubles, but I will deliver you from them all (Psalm 34:19). My purpose is fulfilled in you as you mature in your faith through your trials. When I have your attention, your heart is softened to spending time with Me. You are being conformed to the image of Jesus Christ (Romans 8:29), as you persevere in your trials. You are being molded and shaped through the heartaches and pain, learning to be more dependent on Me, and being prepared to serve where I need you most. I desire your devotion to a deeper connection with Me. I love you, My friend, and I want to spend more time with you.

Prayer:

Almighty God, I praise You Father because You are the all-knowing, all-powerful, ever-present God. You know what is best for every person and every situation and You will and work all things together for the good of those who love You and are called according to Your purpose (Romans 8:28). Lord, I thank You that You created me, love me, care for me, and prepare me for the purpose You created me for. Thank You for the difficulties You allow that mature me into the person You need me to be to carry out Your purpose and Your plan. Please walk me through each challenge and teach me everything I need to know. Lord, speak to me now, as I meet with You alone. Share Your heart with me in a more personal way.

Two-way Conversation with God:

  • Father in heaven, You know the current difficulties I face, specifically _____________ (fill in the blank). Please speak to me about this situation, Lord. What is it that you want me to learn from this trial? (Record whatever thoughts come your way.)

 

  • Jesus, what is my responsibility in this circumstance I named above? What should I be doing? What will help me and my faith to mature the most as I wait patiently for this current affliction to be over? (Write down all thoughts that enter your mind.)

 

  • Holy Spirit, please show me how You are sanctifying me, making me more like Jesus, during this current trial. Help me to see myself through Your eyes. What do I need to change? How can I respond most favorably to this challenge? (Journal your thoughts and Scripture that comes to mind.)

 

Review the Holy Spirit’s thoughts and impressions you’ve sensed and written above. What Scripture comes to mind as you review your notes? Use the concordance of your Bible to look up an impression from God’s Word. Record the verse or passage here. Write all insights and encouragement the Holy Spirit illumines for you as you read God’s Word right now.

Prayer:

Dear Jesus, my Prince of Peace, allow Your perfect peace to flow through my body, mind, and spirit. Help me to be confident in Your omnipotence, Your faithfulness, and Your grace, so that I can weather this storm and still remain at peace in the middle of it, knowing that You will see me through it. You alone can calm the wind and the waves and push back the clouds to reveal the sunshine again. I look forward to the rainbow at the end of this storm. May I humbly receive the instruction from Your lips which encourages the growth I need in my faith to withstand all the tests of time. Help me persevere in patience as I wait on You for the outcome of these momentary troubles. Thank You for sharing Your heart with me today. I wait on You, Lord, for clarity in my next step and for Your deliverance. In Jesus’ name, I pray. Amen.

Supporting Scripture:

Psalm 27:14, Wait for the Lord, be strong and take heart and wait for the Lord.

Psalm 34:6, This poor man called, and the Lord heard him; He saved him out of all his troubles.”

Psalm 34:19, The righteous person may have many troubles, but the Lord delivers him from them all; he protects all his bones, not one of them will be broken.

Psalm 46:1, God is our refuge and strength, an ever-present help in trouble.

Psalm 138:7, Though I walk in the midst of trouble, You preserve my life.

Isaiah 55:8-9, “For My thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways My ways,” declares the Lord. “As the heavens are higher than the earth, so are My ways higher than your ways and My thoughts than your thoughts.”

John 16:7-11, 7“But I tell you the truth: It is for your good that I am going away. Unless I go away, the Counselor will not come to you; but if I go, I will send Him to you. 8When He comes, He will convict the world of guilt in regard to sin and righteousness and judgment: 9in regard to sin, because men do not believe in Me; 10in regard to righteousness, because I am going to the Father, where you can see Me no longer; 11and in regard to judgment, because the prince of this world now stands condemned.”

Romans 8:28-30, 28And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love Him, who have been called according to His purpose. 29For those God foreknew He also predestined to be conformed to the image of His Son, that He might be the firstborn among many brothers and sisters. 30And those He predestined, He also called; those He called, He also justified; those He justified, He also glorified.

Romans 12:12, Be joyful in hope, patient in affliction, faithful in prayer.

2 Corinthians 5:17, Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; the old has gone, the new has come!

1 Thessalonians 5:16-18, 16Rejoice always, 17pray continually, 18give thanks in all circumstances; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.

1 Thessalonians 5:23-24, May God Himself, the God of peace, sanctify you through and through. May your whole spirit, soul and body be kept blameless at the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ. The One who calls you is faithful, and He will do it.

James 1:2-4, 2Consider it pure joy, my brothers and sisters, whenever you face trials of many kinds, 3because you know that the testing of your faith produces perseverance. 4Let perseverance finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything.

1 Peter 1: 6-7, 6In all this you greatly rejoice, though now for a little while you may have had to suffer grief in all kinds of trials. 7These have come so that the proven genuineness of your faith—of greater worth than gold, which perishes even though refined by fire—may result in praise, glory and honor when Jesus Christ is revealed.

1 Peter 5:7-11, 7Cast all your anxiety on Him because He cares for you. 8Be alert and of sober mind. Your enemy the devil prowls around looking for someone to devour. 9Resist him, standing firm in the faith, because you know that the family of believers throughout the world is undergoing the same kind of sufferings. 10And the God of all grace, who called you to His eternal glory in Christ, after you have suffered a little while, will Himself restore you and make you strong, firm, and steadfast. 11To Him be the power for ever and ever. Amen.

Copyright © Sindy Nagel. All Rights Reserved

Roadblock #4 – Worry – The Enemy of Trust

Worry does not add anything to our lives; in fact, it sucks the life right out of us. Worry equals not trusting fully in God. When we don’t trust God for everything, we distance ourselves from Him. Not relying completely on God to care for us, protect us, and provide for us, we detach ourselves from Him and His enormous power. God is omniscient: He knows our every need. God is omnipotent: He is the almighty, all-powerful, invincible Lord. God is omnipresent: He never leaves us; He’s always with us. God is the All-Sufficient One: He is enough. God is trustworthy: He will do what He promises.

God does not ask us to have blind faith and complete trust in a human being. He does ask us to put our trust and confidence in Him alone. We can rest in the assurance that He will take care of us. He is the Most High God. He is dependable, reliable, and faithful.

Jesus said, “Therefore I tell you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat or drink; or about your body, what you will wear. Is not life more important than food, and the body more important than clothes? …Who of you by worrying can add a single hour to his life?” (Matthew 6:25, 27). Proverbs 3:5-6 says, “Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways acknowledge Him, and He will make your paths straight.” God wants us to be completely dependent on Him for everything. Not depending on God and trusting in Him completely may put distance between Him and you.

God loves children and speaks to them. Perhaps He does so because children are more dependent. Are you approaching God as a child? Are you dependent on Him? Remember the story of the boy Samuel? After God had spoken to him, Samuel didn’t question God; he listened and obeyed. (See 1 Samuel 3 for the whole story.) God spoke to the boy because he practiced humility and willingly served the Lord. He did not have preconceived ideas about how God would talk to him. Samuel did not practice the freedom of self-sufficiency. He enthusiastically listened to God however God chose to speak to him, and then he obeyed.

This story offers encouragement. God speaks to people of all ages and all spiritual maturity levels. He doesn’t stop calling you just because you don’t recognize Him. He keeps pursuing you until you learn the sound of His voice. He will speak to you when you are still and ready to listen.

And yet, hearing Him is not enough. God looks for people who are dependent on Him, ready to listen to and obey Him. When we practice our independence and do what we please, God may choose not to speak to us. Depending on God and obeying His lead will keep the doors of communication open between you and the Lord.

To hear God’s voice, you must become like a child: humble, with a simple faith and reverence for the Lord. In Matthew 18:3, Jesus says, “I tell you the truth, unless you change and become like little children, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven. Therefore, whoever humbles himself like this child is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven.” In Mark 10:15, Jesus says, “I tell you the truth, anyone who will not receive the kingdom of God like a little child will never enter it.”

Become like a child and surrender to the work and power of the Holy Spirit within you. Trust God, and depend on Him for everything. Walk in submission to God by being sensitive to the voice of the Holy Spirit and acting in obedience to His instruction.

Trusting in the Lord, rather than in ourselves and others, proves to be the most stress-free way to live. Giving our cares over to God, Who controls all things, prevents us from being stifled in our spiritual growth by depending on our own limited understanding. Put your trust in God today, and acknowledge His supreme influence, power, and authority in your life. Permit yourself to relinquish all control and worry to the One who rules and reigns over everything on earth and in heaven. Purchase your copy of 7 Roadblocks to Hearing God Speak today and trade in the following lies for the truth in God’s Word.

#1: God won’t provide for all my needs.

#2:  I can’t trust God because He let me down in the past.

#3: I need to take care of things myself because God isn’t.

 

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Book Two in Hearing God’s Voice Series

 

 

Roadblock #2 – Fear – The Enemy of Confidence

Apprehension about the unknown can keep us from understanding the mystery of God. But fear is not from God. Second Timothy 1:7 says, “For God did not give us a spirit of timidity, but a spirit of power, of love and of self-discipline.” I had a fear of God, but not the right kind of fear. Before I got to know God better, apprehension shrouded my desire to speak in conversation with Him. I feared that everything that came out of God’s mouth would convict me. I dreaded His wrath, because I did not know the truth about His character.

God is loving, kind, compassionate, forgiving, faithful, trustworthy, and so much more. He loves us so much He wants to have an intimate relationship with each of us. I had to get to know God more intimately before the only fear I felt toward Him equaled awe and reverence. Psalm 147:11 says, “The Lord delights in those who fear Him, who put their hope in His unfailing love.” God delights when we fear Him with a reverence that acknowledges we can put our trust in Him and depend on Him for everything.

Now that I know God better because of spending time in His Word and listening to His voice, I no longer fear Him with anxiety and apprehension. I can’t wait to speak with Him because He amazes me. I now fear God out of reverence and respect because He has made His loving character known to me through His Word and His voice. I can depend on Him to meet all my needs. “The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom” (Psalm 111:10).

            Read Acts 9. It’s the story of Saul, later renamed Paul. After the death and resurrection of Christ, Saul threatened to kill Jesus’ disciples and take His followers as prisoners to Jerusalem. As he neared Damascus, however, he saw a light from heaven flash around him. “He fell to the ground and heard a voice say to him, ‘Saul, Saul, why do you persecute Me?’” (Acts 9:4) It was the voice of Jesus. Saul could have fallen from the fear and dread of what was about to happen, or from the awe and reverence of being in the presence of the Lord. As he met the Lord face to face, Saul may have feared his own identity as one who persecuted the Jesus who stood before him.

Is it possible your identity causes you anxiety in communicating with Jesus? If you have accepted Jesus as your Savior, you are a child of God. No longer are you a slave to fear. Psalm 34:4 says, “I sought the Lord, and He answered me; He delivered me from all my fears.” However, you may not feel connected to God. Maybe you’ve strayed from living a life that pleases God, and the shame you feel causes you to fear God’s wrath. Perhaps you have stopped attending church, reading the Bible, or praying regularly. As a result, you experience apprehension about how Jesus would relate to you if He spoke to you.

Many times, we claim our identity from external sources in our lives. My identity branded me early in life when I heard my mom repeatedly refer to me as “an accident.” Accidents are unwanted, unexpected events that we don’t plan for and that sometimes cause pain: physical, emotional, or spiritual. I knew my mom had not planned me; therefore, I believed I was unwanted and unloved. My conception and birth had caused my mother undue emotional pain and then emotionally scarred me for much of my life. The external label “accident” spawned an internal insecurity about my identity that stuck with me for more than thirty years.

Another fear that blocked my communication with God was the fear of intimacy. I feared He wouldn’t speak to me; therefore, I didn’t want to experience the pain of rejection. I wasn’t even sure He listened to me when I talked to Him. I hesitated to get emotionally close to God and become too dependent on Him because I feared He would let me down, as others had.

I knew I was a child of God, but I didn’t feel like His child. What if God also viewed me as an accident? What if He didn’t love me either? What if my sins were too big for God to forgive? God wouldn’t speak to me. I was nothing to Him. I was nobody special. Why would He talk to me? Do you ever experience conversations like this within yourself? Are you insecure about your relationship with Jesus? Are you unsure about your identity in Christ? I was. My uncertainties caused me to approach the throne of God with fear and trembling, not in confidence with awe and wonder.

The first time I sat down to listen for God’s voice, I needed reassurance from God that He wasn’t angry with me. I wanted to know how He felt about me. I longed to know who He saw when He looked at me. I craved His attention, positive or negative. I prepared myself for whatever He would say to me. I wanted to know who I was to God and that He had a plan for my life. Battling depression for the second time, I desperately needed a reason to go on.

My depression counseling sessions had turned into spiritual mentoring meetings. My counselor described how he listened to Jesus’s voice and encouraged me to try it. He instructed me to record my conversations with Jesus in a journal. During one session, we talked about how God has His own special name for each of His children. My counselor invited me to consider asking God, “What is your name for me?”

A name is more than a way to identify someone. It’s a birthright; it represents our heritage, our legacy, our inheritance. It becomes our own challenge to make our names good and live up to our full potential as God’s creation. This starts when we seek God for His name for us. We can’t live into our God-given identity and purpose until we understand what that is.

God’s chosen name for you may be different than the name your parents gave you. Many people throughout the Old and New Testaments received their names, name changes, or identity, directly from the mouth of God and Jesus: Abram (Abraham), Sarai (Sarah), Isaac, Jacob (Israel), John the Baptist, Jesus, Simon (Peter), and Saul (Paul), to cite a few.

Considering the possibility that God had a special name for me, I was excited to learn it.  It was the missing link to my identity, my sanity, and my confidence in Christ. One evening, I escaped the noise of my family and retired to my quiet bedroom. This marked the first time that I really tried to hear God speak. I wanted to capture whatever I heard from God that night, so I wrote all my thoughts in a notebook.

I asked God, “What do you think of me? Who am I to you? Do you have a name for me?” I listened intently but heard nothing. I kept asking the same questions but didn’t know what to expect or how the answer would come to me. Would I hear an audible voice? Again I inquired of God, “Who do you see when you look at me? What is your name for me?”

In one very distinct moment, I heard a name whispered in my thoughts. I wrote it down, but I quickly dismissed it, not being able to relate to it at all. I asked God again, “What is your name for me?” Again, the voice in my head repeated the name. Once more, I thought I’d heard it incorrectly. I couldn’t identify with the name. I didn’t understand its meaning. I had expected to hear a name like “beloved one,” similar to the name one of my friend’s had heard.

A third time, I requested God’s name for me. Yet again, God confirmed it in my thoughts, and this time the words took center stage in my head, displayed in all capital letters. Three times God clearly spoke the same name to me in my thoughts. I knew it must be the name He had given me—but I didn’t recognize the meaning behind it.

One way to confirm and comprehend what God says to us is to go to Scripture. Using the concordance in my Bible, I began a two-hour search for all the verses and meanings I could find about the name God had spoken to me. Seeing the name appear in more than twenty-five verses surprised me. As I read each verse and the surrounding passages, a feeling of peace and joy came over me. Emotion overwhelmed me. When I discovered the meaning of God’s name for me, it resonated with me. This name would most likely not mean the same thing to any other person, but it embodied everything I longed to be to God and everything I desired to hear from God at that moment.

That evening, God met me at the bottom of the pit of depression I occupied. He showered me with His loving kindness. He lifted me up out of the darkness and washed off the mud. I connected with Him in a way I never had before. I had a new understanding that God is alive. He’s a loving Father who cares about me and wants to have a relationship with me. I felt special, wanted, and loved by God. I felt important to God, a priority to Him. When I discovered how God felt about me, nothing else mattered. My fear dissipated and my confidence in the Lord replaced it. When I felt loved and wanted by the God of the universe, I had a new reason to live and a new excitement about what the future would hold for me. No longer did I fear spending time with God.

Shortly after I received God’s name for me and began spending more time alone with Him, my church went through a 40 Days of Purpose study from the book The Purpose Driven Life by Rick Warren. From this study, God revealed and confirmed many things to me as He healed me and strengthened me.

God brought to light the reason He created me and His purpose for my life here on earth. He wants me to help set His captives free, like He set me free, by awakening hearts to Him. He wants me to help lead His people to the promised land, which is the abundant life in Christ, through a personal, intimate relationship with Him. He wants me to be a light to the Gentiles, people who do not know God yet. Really, these assignments represent activities He calls all of His children to carry out. It’s what Jesus did when He walked the earth. God’s Word promises, in John 14:12, we will do even greater things than Jesus did. Can you believe it?

If you have not yet heard the voice of God, I encourage you to listen. If you do not yet know God’s name for you, I pray you will ask Him. If you find yourself imprisoned by Satan’s lies about your identity, I invite you to seek God’s truth and let God Himself set you straight.

God is a gentleman. He pursues us, but He doesn’t crash in on us and take us over. In Revelation 3:20, Jesus says, “Here I am! I stand at the door and knock. If anyone hears My voice and opens the door, I will come in and eat with him, and he with Me.” Jesus continually pursues us. He is pursuing you now. He stands at the door to your heart and knocks, saying, “Here I am!” He patiently waits for you to listen, hear His voice, open the door, and let Him in to enjoy intimate relationship with the living God.

Open the door to Jesus. He will come in, sit with you, and eat with you. Are you hungry to hear God’s voice? Are you desperate enough to listen? He waits for your response. Will you open your door, and your ears, to what God has to say to you? He calls you by name. No need to fear God because of who you are or who you are not. You are His child, loved and redeemed by Him. Identify yourself with the name God so carefully chose for you before the world began. Your name is engraved on His palms (see Isaiah 49:16).

Some lies swirling around in our heads evolve from the idea that the only things God will say to you are: He will convict you of your sin, or God will ask you to do something you don’t want to do, or He’s full of only wrath and fury toward you because of your sin. Are these falsehoods feeding your fear of intimacy with God? Get your copy of 7 Roadblocks to Hearing God Speak, and start identifying and eliminating any lies you may be unknowingly investing in.

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Book Two in Hearing God’s Voice Series