How to hear from God

Daily Devotional for 09.17.2020 Bible Reading: Acts 13:2 While they were worshiping the LORD and fasting, the Holy Spirit said, "Set apart for me Barnabas and Saul for the work to which I have called them." The greatest move of God in the Book of Acts started with Worship and fasting. It’s so easy to become preoccupied when we need direction or when we are asking the Lord to show us what to do in a particular situation. We get consumed with the issue and our thinking gets clouded because we are entertaining input from too many sources. Our mind is like a computer that loves to suck up and spit out information, relevant or not. It wants to control us and find solutions that are safe and logical. To successfully “hear” from God we need to still the stormy sea, we need to quieten our mind and focus our attention upon the one we want to hear from. This is “seeking the Lord”. It is sifting out every voice apart from His voice, it is being attentive and listening. Psalm 123:2 says, “Behold, as the eyes of servants look to the hand of their master, As the eyes of a maid to the hand of her mistress, So our eyes look to the LORD our God Until He is gracious to us.” That is how we position ourselves, that is how we focus upon Him, as servants looking to the hand of their master. But what does this mean exactly? A servant is someone whose job it is, is to attend to his or her master and to obey their directions. While we have no grid for this today, the majority of us function with a boss, someone who gives us direction and orders our day. If the boss walks into the office, generally everyone is attentive, you don’t ignore him, you listen in case he has something important to say or some task that needs attention. At that moment your thoughts, your activity is suspended, someone more important has entered the room. It is this suspension that allows him to provide input and direction. How would it be if your boss entered the room and you ignored him because you are caught up trying to decide what to have for lunch? He might be about to announce that lunch today is on him in the Board Room, but you would miss that vital piece of information because you are too focused upon your issue. What if he came in ready to talk with you about your request for a raise, seeing you inattentive and preoccupied he would just turn around and walk away. The matter of a raise is certainly more important than lunch, but you were too engaged in the minor things of your life to be ready to dialog with him. When we are seeking God’s input, we need to be focused and attentive, and the way we do that is through Worship. When coming into the place of Worship we need to empty our hands so that we can lift them in adoration to the King. There is no such thing as co-worship – that is allowing Worship to co-exist with the things that are on our minds. Worship requires our whole attention; it must be attended to with a whole heart and its focus must be solely upon God Himself. We might need an answer but bringing the problem into the place of Worship means that we are trying to make co-worship a thing - and we mustn’t do that, it’s impure and we will not achieve a result that way. If we have brought the matter to God in prayer previously we should just concentrate on our ministry to the Lord, and continue to Worship with empty hands and open hearts. He will speak when He is ready and we should be confident of that. Your mind will assault you all the way, “yes, but what about ….?” Quieten your mind, still the stormy sea of your thoughts, and focus on God. Allow His presence and His peace to surround you and penetrate the deep places of your being. Paul and Barnabas (as well as others who were in Antioch) were concerned about the spread of the Gospel. Should they go - or should they stay, where should they go – here or over there? The more they talked, the more that they strategized, the less sure they became. Yet the matter was pressing, some were getting ready to leave, there was a lack of clarity, they needed to hear from Jesus. I can see it now, Barnabas speaks up, “Listen, this is really important and some of you just want to go, there are important issues at stake and we know that opposition is growing, but let’s just stop, let’s set all this aside and let’s Worship. In fact, why don’t we refuse to talk about this for a week, let’s Worship and fast and see what God does.” All of a sudden the pressure came off all of their shoulders – they were focused, prepared, and ready for something better – Worship. Then right in the middle of the week, God spoke …. “separate for me Barnabas and Paul” the strategy came, a command from Heaven that kick-started one of the greatest moves of God in history. They weren’t seeking the answer – they were seeking God and Worshiping Him – and when they were focused upon the boss – He walked in the room with an answer. So, if you need direction – or a word from Heaven, put the problem aside and start to Worship. Focus upon Jesus. Become like the servant in Psalm 123:2, sit at His feet completely focused upon Him, and when your mind is still and your attention focused – and you are no longer worrying about the problem - you may hear the word you have been waiting for.

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