This week’s readings:
Judges 14-16, 21-25; Ruth 1-4; selections from I Chronicles; Psalm 113; I Samuel 1-14
Have you ever spent some time with the Lord…read a few verses from the Word…mused over the fact that you have read those lines so many times before…but then…it happens…that familiar chain of words suddenly resonates with life that was not anticipated.
The above scenario occurred this week…truth be told…it probably happens more often than I realize.
I read the following:
“But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control. Against such things there is no law. Those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified the sinful nature with its passions and desires. Since we live by the Spirit, let us keep in step with the Spirit. Let us not become conceited, provoking and envying each other.”
(Galatians 5: 22-26)
I asked myself these questions:
Am I seeing fruit in my life?
Am I seeking some fruit more than others?
Have I crucified my sin nature?
Am I keeping in step with the Spirit?
Am I conceited?
Do I provoke others?
Do I envy others?
This scripture seemed to be a perfect circle to me…if we belong to Jesus…we have crucified our old nature…we live by the Spirit…keeping in step with Him…our life bears the fruit of the Spirit…we have no room for envy, conceit or challenging others (as the NASB translates the word provoke)…because we have crucified our passions and desires in Christ…
I prayed for the Lord to teach me what that really means…what it really looks like…be careful what you pray for…
That evening, I encountered someone that seems to take pleasure in provoking me…and when I am not careful…I begin to bite right back…or allow myself to be provoked…I took the bait or the challenge.
I went to bed miserable…I didn’t sleep well…I woke up still bothered…I am sure there is a verse somewhere about the dangers of sleeping on anger…hmmm…
This morning during the worship…no sooner than I got the words out…in all I do, let my life bring praise to You…I knew that last evening, my life had not brought Him praise…it spoke nothing about my life supposedly crucified…
Have you scrolled back to the top of this post to see if you are indeed reading my cover to cover post? Trust me…you are!
I read many chapters this week…but these were the words that took my breath away:
“The boy Samuel ministered before the Lord under Eli. In those days the word of the Lord was rare; there were not many visions.”
I Samuel 3:1
Although the Lord had spoken to Moses and Joshua, due to the wickedness of the people and Eli’s refusal to discipline his sons…God was silent.
Think about that…can you even imagine?
Ponder the ways that the Lord spoke to you last week…today…has it been in reading His Word…in hearing the Word preached…in singing praises to Him…in the company of a God seeking friend…was it in prayer…was it in a whisper…in nature…
What if it ceased?
Suppose during church, the pastor asked who had heard from the Lord in the past week…and no one raised their hands…one by one each pilgrim shook their head because the word of the Lord had become rare in their day…
Praise be to God that His Word is alive and active…sometimes as active as we want His word to be…as much as we want to hear from Him.
We can be like Samuel…and say…
“Speak, for your servant is listening.”
I Samuel 3: 10b
And God will speak…
I want to be like Samuel…
“The Lord was with Samuel as he grew up, and he let none of his words fall to the ground…the Lord continued to appear at Shiloh, and there he revealed himself to Samuel through his word.”
I Samuel 3: 19, 21
Speak Lord, for your servants are listening!
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