Closing the Gap 8.1.18

By August 1, 2018 Daily Devotional

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Week 30 Day 3

Pray:

Ask God to reorient you to Himself. Confess any known sin. Thank Him for His forgiveness. Be still and reflect on Jesus and His sacrifice for you. Ask the Holy Spirit to open your heart and mind to God’s Word. Pray for others in your life that they, too, would know and love God today.

Read:

1 Kings 19:2-14 So Jezebel sent a messenger to Elijah to say, “May the gods deal with me, be it ever so severely, if by this time tomorrow I do not make your life like that of one of them.” Elijah was afraid and ran for his life. When he came to Beersheba in Judah, he left his servant there, while he himself went a day’s journey into the desert. He came to a broom tree, sat down under it and prayed that he might die. “I have had enough, LORD,” he said. “Take my life; I am no better than my ancestors.” Then he lay down under the tree and fell asleep. All at once an angel touched him and said, “Get up and eat.” He looked around, and there by his head was a cake of bread baked over hot coals, and a jar of water. He ate and drank and then lay down again. The angel of the LORD came back a second time and touched him and said, “Get up and eat, for the journey is too much for you.” So he got up and ate and drank. Strengthened by that food, he traveled forty days and forty nights until he reached Horeb, the mountain of God. There he went into a cave and spent the night. And the word of the LORD came to him: “What are you doing here, Elijah?” He replied, “I have been very zealous for the LORD God Almighty. The Israelites have rejected your covenant, broken down your altars, and put your prophets to death with the sword. I am the only one left, and now they are trying to kill me too.” The LORD said, “Go out and stand on the mountain in the presence of the LORD, for the LORD is about to pass by.” Then a great and powerful wind tore the mountains apart and shattered the rocks before the LORD, but the LORD was not in the wind. After the wind there was an earthquake, but the LORD was not in the earthquake. After the earthquake came a fire, but the LORD was not in the fire. And after the fire came a gentle whisper. When Elijah heard it, he pulled his cloak over his face and went out and stood at the mouth of the cave. Then a voice said to him, “What are you doing here, Elijah?” He replied, “I have been very zealous for the LORD God Almighty. The Israelites have rejected your covenant, broken down your altars, and put your prophets to death with the sword. I am the only one left, and now they are trying to kill me too.”

Reflect:

It has been said that when we speak to God it is called prayer, but when God speaks to us it is called insane.  It is true that many claim that God has spoken to them when certainly he has not. Some who claim God has spoken to them are mentally ill.  However, God does speak to people. He speaks most often and most clearly through the Scriptures. But he speaks to people in other ways as well.  Prayer is often speaking to God, but prayer is also listening to him. Learning to discern his voice versus our own inner thoughts is a process that takes time and attention.  It is important to have others around you that you trust so you can ask them about what you believe God may be saying to you. You would be foolish to not take the counsel of wise people around you in discerning whether God is actually speaking to you or not.  How does God speak to people? Certainly, as already mentioned, he speaks through the Bible. He also speaks through others, through circumstances, and in our “hearts.” If you desire to better hear from God, it is very important that you understand the primary goal of hearing from him.  The primary goal of hearing from God is to have a mature love for God and for others. If you miss this point, you will consistently miss the voice of God. Beyond that key principle, you must approach God with humility. If and when God does direct you, it does not indicate you are special.  It simply means that God, in his mercy, wants you to understand something about him and his will for your life. It doesn’t make you authoritative, because God is the authority. You can be wrong, but he cannot. Do you want to hear from God? Why? Because you are bored? Because you want him to tell you some good news?  Because you don’t really believe and want validation? If God speaks to you, it will have as its goal HIS glory revealed in your increasing love for him and obedience to him. Your love for him and obedience to him will show up in love for those around you. It is truly a great thing for God to speak to a person, but his speaking is not primarily about us.  It is about him. God spoke to Baruch through the prophet Jeremiah, “Should you seek great things for yourself? Seek them not” (Jeremiah 45:5). God did speak to Baruch and he told him that difficult times were ahead for him and his people. But the trouble that was coming for them was ultimately about the glory of God. Sometimes what God says to us might not be what we want to hear.  But we must learn to want to hear what he wants to say, because what God wants is ultimately good because it is about his glory. If you want to position yourself to hear from God, be sure that you understand life is not about you. It is about God. Your life is not to be about you. It is to be about his glory. When he speaks – and he will speak to you about things in your life – ultimately what he says to you is about his greatness revealed in and through your life.  Close the gap on a conversational relationship with God. Conversation with God is called prayer and this conversation with God is always about relationship with God.

Pray:

(Personalize this prayer today; make it specific to the circumstances that face you.)

Ask God to lead you through His Spirit as you go through your day. Ask Him to bring to mind the truth of the gospel and its implications for what you will encounter today. Tell Him “Yes” to His will and ask Him for His power and protection to live this “yes.” Ask God to create and reveal opportunities to proclaim the good news today.

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