Week 5 Devotional Thought:
How good is a timely word?
People at ONE&ALL Church, the congregation I pastor in Socal, are familiar with my Grandmother, Bessie. Before passing on to be with Jesus, she left me with so many good stories, not to mention, an example of what life could be like when a person listens to and obeys the voice of God. Grandma Bessie truly believed in a God who speaks to His people. One evening while we (my father and I) were sitting on the front porch, watching Bessie rock away in her rocking chair, the town drunk stumbled by. Raising his hands toward the sky, howling at the moon, and cursing God because of all the troubles in his life, he loudly protested the predicament of his life. Suddenly, Grandma Bessie stopped rocking. She looked at my father, much to his dismay, and said, “Dean, take me to the street. I wanna speak with that old drunk.” Of course, dad protested. “Mom, you don’t want to do that. He is out of his mind. He may harm you.” Bessie would have none of it. She said, “God just spoke to me and I must obey.” I watched my father take Grandma by the hand and lead her out to the road, directly into the path of the inebriated fool. As he approached, once again cursing the heavens, Grandma Bessie emphatically stated, “Now you hold on there. Why are you cursing God? He gave you His only son so that you may live with Him in heaven. This is how you thank Him? What makes you so special that no trouble should come your way. We all have hardships. We deserve much worse. Now stop this nonsense and turn your heart toward God and He will redeem all that you have lost.” Speechless. That's the only way to describe the stranger. Then, after a long pause, he said, “I’m very sorry. Please forgive me. Pray for me old lady.” Bessie replied, “Pray for yourself, starting this Sunday.” For the rest of Grandma Bessie’s life, the stranger became a friend and walked her up the hill to Church every Sunday morning. Grandma needed a way to church, which God had provided, and the stranger needed repentance and a friend, both of which he received because God gave the right word at the right time and the right place for the victories. What about you? Do you still see the promptings of the Spirit and coincidences? The voice that tells you to help the homeless man under the bridge, speak up for the helpless girl in your school, speak an encouraging word to the coworker in the next cubicle, or, say your sorry to the person you have offended. Each time the Spirit speaks is an opportunity to obey and to experience the extraordinary life. Moreover, when you are faithful in the small things, you will be entrusted with the greater ones.
1. To what extent do you saturate your mind with the Word of God?
2. Jeff stated three truths toward the end of this section:
- [content, Your Heavenly Father is pulling for you and knows you are in over your head.][items, System.Collections.Generic.List`1[System.Object]]
- [content, Your loyalty and worship in the middle of unforeseen circumstances prove your worth and authenticity.][items, System.Collections.Generic.List`1[System.Object]]
- [content, No matter how much noise and confusion is going on around you, no matter what enemy is trying to pin you down, you will always hear the voice of your father.][items, System.Collections.Generic.List`1[System.Object]]
Discuss these truths and how they play out in your life. Where do you need to tune in to them more deeply?
3. Have you ever experienced God sending the right word at the right time to you or through you?
4. Jeff says, “God is not an unfeeling, heartless commander that tells you to suck it up and get the job done. He is the coach in the locker room who tells you, ‘Come on! We can do this. We are a team.’”
How can we balance the reality of a God who doesn’t enable a sinful lifestyle with the God who is our greatest cheerleader and encourager? In what way is God like an earthly father or mother?
5. Are you positioned to hear God’s Word? Have you filled yourself with His truths and spent enough time in His presence for the Spirit to speak words of encouragement when you are feeling faint hearted? What changes do you need to make in your daily habits?
6. Do you truly believe that, “The Sword is the only offensive weapon in the artillery of a Christ-follower who is committed to fighting and winning the crucial battles of life.” How do the Sword (the Word) and the Spirit (Holy Spirit) work together to come alongside and encourage you when you desperately need it?
7. It is true that sometimes people try to use the phrase, “God told me” to wield power over us or to say something to us that comes from them rather than God. This scenario causes many to reject the idea that God still speaks to us. How can one test whether or not God is speaking to them through the words of another? Study Romans 8:16.