A devotional by Grace Allick. A 5 day plan helping
us to listen to the right things during lockdown.
Day 1 // Listening to reports
“30 Then Caleb silenced the people before Moses and said, “We should go up and take possession of the land, for we can certainly do it.” 31 But the men who had gone up with him said, “We can’t attack those people; they are stronger than we are.” 32 And they spread among the Israelites a bad report about the land they had explored. They said, “The land we explored devours those living in it. All the people we saw there are of great size. 33 We saw the Nephilim there (the descendants of Anak come from the Nephilim). We seemed like grasshoppers in our own eyes, and we looked the same to them.”
The reading above tells of when Moses sent spies to the land God had promised the Israelites. All ten went to the same place yet two came back with positive reports and eight came back filled with fear.
During this period of lockdown, it is so easy to listen to the reports whether that’s the news, social media or from friends and family and become filled with fear and not faith. But just as God had promised the land to the people of Israel, He has promised us to be with us always. Throughout the Bible God says, ‘Do not be afraid’. Jesus says in John 14:27 “Peace I leave with you; my peace I give to you. Not as the world gives do I give to you. Let not your hearts be troubled, neither let them be afraid.”
So if you find yourself feeling overwhelmed by the worries of life and struggling to find peace, go to God’s Word, select a verse which reminds you of the peace He has come to give and think on it every day, each time you hear a negative report remember God is in control and He is the giver of peace in every situation.
Prayer: Heavenly Father, thank you for the peace you give to me. Help me to listen to reports based on the truth of your Word and remember you are in control. Amen
Day 2 // Listening to your thoughts
“For My thoughts are not your thoughts, nor are your ways My ways”
Our thoughts are very powerful. They impact what we say and do. “Guard well your thoughts when alone and your words when accompanied” is a famous quote by Roy T. Bennett. In this season when so much of our time may be spent alone it is very important to be intentional about the thoughts we allow to take residence in our mind. Within a matter of minutes we can go from… I think I have a sore throat… maybe I have a temperature too... I must have Covid-19!!... I need to go to the hospital… but if I go, I don’t know what will happen… What about my family… within minutes you have gone from making a cup of tea to being an in-patient at the local hospital and it all started with noticing a sore throat! The very same situation could have gone: I think I have a sore throat… I’ll gurgle some warm saltwater, that should help.
As Christians, the Bible teaches us to renew our mind in Romans 12: 2, “Do not conform to the pattern of this world but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God's will is - his good, pleasing and perfect will”. You can control your mind and then choose to accept or reject the negative and damaging thoughts that try to take over. When a thought comes into your mind consider the scripture below and decide if it is something you should be thinking about.
“Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable - if anything is excellent or praiseworthy - think about such things.”
Prayer: Father God, please help me to be intentional about the things I think about today and every day. Help me to encourage myself and not allow myself to be discouraged. Amen.
If you find controlling your thoughts difficult, a great book to read is ‘Battlefield of the Mind’ by bestselling author Joyce Meyer.
Day 3 // Listening to Others
“My dear brothers and sisters, take note of this: Everyone should be quick to listen, slow to speak and slow to become angry, because human anger does not produce the righteousness that God desires."
Being slow to speak is something that doesn’t always come naturally. If you are finding yourself becoming short tempered, angry or frustrated with others think about why this is. We read in James 4:1 (NIV) “What causes fights and quarrels among you? Don’t they come from your desires that battle within you?”
Make time to listen to others with the aim of understanding what is being said. Hear a person’s heart not just their words. Being a listening ear to people, including those you live with, who may be finding this period difficult can be a lifeline. It’s not about fixing every problem you may hear but listening and offering support.
If you live alone, why not contact someone who is living alone too and find out how they are. Give them the opportunity to talk as you listen.
Prayer: Father God, help me to be quick to listen and slow to speak. Give me an understanding heart that produces righteousness within me.
Day 4 // Listening to reports
1 Samuel 3:10
“And the Lord came and called as before, “Samuel! Samuel!”
And Samuel replied, “Speak, your servant is listening.”"
It’s interesting to read at the start of 1 Samuel 3, although Samuel ministers before the Lord in the temple with Eli, Samuel had never heard the Lord. Some translations say Samuel did not ‘know’ the Lord.
Today we can be thankful that we can access God’s Word daily in the Bible. Whether we use an app, go online or have a hard copy of God’s Word we live in a day and age where the Word of God is available to us.
When we read the Bible, we can know God. We learn about God’s unconditional love for us, his creation. We learn of His plan and purpose (why we are here). We discover who He created us to be (His sons and daughters) and how He desires for us to live (free from sin) because of Christ’s sacrifice for us.
Making time daily to read and study God’s Word strengthens our relationship with Him. Discovering verses which speak into your situation brings the Word of God alive to us.
Choose to commit yourself to more time in God’s Word and you will experience the transformational power of God’s Word in your life.
Prayer: Lord God, thank you that your Word is available to me. May I not take for granted the privilege it is to have access to your Word today. Amen
Day 5 // Listening to the Holy Spirit
“But the Helper, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in My name, He will teach you all things, and bring to your remembrance all things that I said to you."
One of the names for God in the Bible is Emmanuel which means God with us. When we begin a personal relationship with Jesus Christ and ask him to be Lord of our life, He comes to live within us through the Holy Spirit. Our body becomes His temple.
God, the Holy Spirit, is then able to talk with us at any time. He can bring things to our remembrance. Guide us, teach us, give us peace and so much more!
Why not take a walk with the Holy Spirit or sit and have a cup of tea (or coffee!). Allow Him to reveal more of God to you. The wonder of God’s creation, maybe He’ll ask you to call someone to encourage them. He may want to talk to you about an area of our life He wants to help you with. Listen to what He brings to your remembrance. Life becomes an exciting journey when we allow the promised helper to lead us.
Prayer: Father God, thank you for giving me your Holy Spirit to help me. I know that I am never alone. Help me to hear your voice as you speak to me daily through your Holy Spirit and be obedient to what you ask me to do. Amen.