Surrendering to the Work of the Master Artist in our Lives
I had the privilege of spending several weeks during late April and May with my daughter, her husband and new grand baby. It was a beautiful time to be with them and celebrate the miracle of that new little life. I wrote about it in our Monday Musings blog on May 5 and that began this series of devotional entries called “Surrendering to the Work of the Master Artist in our Lives.”
What I am experiencing now in my life I didn’t anticipate as much though. During that time with the baby I had a single focus, to minister to my family and my responsibilities were fairly simple - rock, pray, change diapers, cook, clean, enjoy.
Yet, suddenly now I find myself thrust back into the more “normal” progression of my life which involves juggling time with family and friends, the responsibilities of managing a home, ministry and teaching voice, caring for my mom with Alzheimer disease, writing and planning for Restore Ministries………the crazy, multitasking life we all try to juggle. The details of our lives are different, but it seems the result is often the same.
The voices and demands of my life have become very loud and complicated again. For me the contrast is great. Everywhere I turn lately the conversation revolves around the need to simplify and de-clutter our lives. It’s not a new conversation, just ongoing, as if we don’t know the answers.
I wonder if you have been there too? As I seek to bring order to the days of my life, I am struck by the desperate need we all have to listen and discern the voice of Jesus above the clamoring voices that all want a piece of us.
If we are not careful, we may find ourselves answering the call of the most urgent sounding voice, the most demanding or pleasing phone call, email or text which may or may not be the voice through which the Father is speaking to us.
As God works on transforming us into the masterpiece He has created us to be, He transforms our hearing.
As the Lord paints the masterpiece He has designed for
our lives, the portrait He paints will have ears that listen and hear His voice.
In John 10:3-5 (NIV) Jesus speaks,
“The gatekeeper opens the gate for him, and the sheep listen to his voice. He calls his own sheep by name
and leads them out. When he has brought out all his own, he goes on ahead of them, and his sheep follow him because they know his voice. But they will never follow a stranger; in fact, they will run away from him because they do not recognize a stranger’s voice.”
“When man listens, God speaks...We are not out to tell God. We are out to let God tell us...The lesson the world most needs is the art of listening to God.” Frank Buchman
God speaks. He speaks into our lives through His Word, by His Holy Spirit, in prayer, through circumstances and the church. He longs to have a deep, personal relationship with you as His beloved through the saving grace of His Son. As we yield to God’s transforming work in our lives, it is vital that we learn to recognize His voice and respond in obedience. As I seek to bring order into the complexity and sometimes chaos in my own life I am reminded that I must be careful to listen for the voice of the Holy Spirit in my life.
Do you need a Counselor, an Advocate, a Comforter, a Helper, an Intercessor, a Strengthener, Someone to be with you always, a Spirit of Truth to guide you? I know I need that Person.
These are all names in Scripture that describe the work of the Holy Spirit. The Holy Spirit is the Spirit of Jesus. He comes to us from the heart of Christ and bears and reveals Christ within us.
It seems to me that the cry for simplicity in our lives is really a cry to return to the basics of the faith in relationship to Jesus so that we might correctly hear the voice of the Comforter and Counselor in our lives and know how to live out our days as He has designed. Through certain principles we can learn to cultivate a more keen sensitivity to His voice. These are foundational truths that can lead us in simple faith and living.
Just as you instantly recognize the voice of your soul mate or a dear friend, so can you recognize the voice of Jesus as He speaks Words of life into ears that will hear and respond to His voice. (John 10:3-5)
Brother Lawrence, The Practice of the Presence of God
In John 7:37-39, Jesus describes the Spirit like a stream of living water. It is constant. It is plentiful. It gives life. The Word of God is essential in the life of the believer, but we also need the ongoing “anointing” of God’s Holy Spirit, His presence, which animates the Word.
Steve Fry writes in his wonderful book
Rekindled Flame, Each of us needs to be under some authority. We all need people who will tell us no. If our appetites are never curbed, our wills never crossed, we will never be able to trust that the impressions we receive are actually from God. If we are not accustomed to accountability, if we haven’t become comfortable with being told no, then we will not develop the ability to discern when our flesh is sanctioning our desires. It is easy to rationalize and convince ourselves that what we want is what God wants--when in reality we are doing what we want and slapping God’s name on it.
Do you have an inner structure in place in your life that holds you accountable to the authority of God’s Word as you seek to hear God’s voice and direction for your life?
Psalm 66:18 says, “If I regard iniquity in my heart, the Lord will not hear Me” KJV Obedience to what we know of God’s will prepares us to receive the counsel and instruction of the Holy Spirit. A life of obedience is essential as we learn to surrender to the work of the Jesus, the Master as He transforms our ears to hear His voice.
It seems that for my life and perhaps yours the answer to simplifying and de-cluttering our lives
is not so much How - but Who.
Below is a letter based on Scriptures that have been personalized about the wisdom and the work of the Holy Spirit of Jesus within us. I pray that it will bless and encourage you in your journey as you seek to have ears that hear His voice.
I am waiting for you to come to Me. You cannot conceive all that I have prepared for you because you love Me. I will reveal it to you by My Spirit. My Spirit will search out everything and show you even My deep secrets of life.
I have given you the hope of glory, Christ in you.
Do you need wisdom? I have given you the Spirit of truth. He will be your Counselor and Comforter, coming alongside you to teach you everything you need to know. If you love Me you will obey My commands. The world cannot accept My Spirit because it neither sees nor knows Him. But you know Him. He lives within you. He is always with you.
He will glorify Me and take what is Mine and make it known to you.
Stand firm in Christ for I have anointed you and set my seal of ownership upon you. I have placed My Spirit in your heart as a deposit of the unfathomable glories to come. When you received the Holy Spirit,
you received His power to be My witness. Do not fear.
Be filled with the Spirit. Come to Me and drink. Believe in Me and let the Living Water of My Holy Spirit
fill you to overflowing so that you never thirst again.
I have poured out My Spirit on you. Be filled with all joy and peace. Trust in Me, so that you may overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit. I have given you gifts for the work of the ministry, all that you need to serve Me in the body of Christ. Consecrate your body to Me as a living sacrifice, holy and pleasing. Remember that your body is the temple of My Holy Spirit. It is My sacred residence. Surrender to Me and I will renew your mind so that you will be able to test and approve what My perfect will is for your life. Live as one who has been crucified with Christ
and raised to new life. Live in Me, through Me, and for My glory.
Walk as a child of My light bearing the fruit of My Spirit in all goodness, righteousness, and truth. Let My Word dwell richly within you and sing with a heart of gratitude. I love to hear you sing my praises! Let the peace of My Son
rule in your heart and above all, put on My garment of love.
I Cor. 2:9,10, Col. 1: 26-27, John 14:16-17, 26, John 16:14, 2 Cor. 1:22, Acts 1:8, 2:17, Eph. 5:18, John 7: 37-39, Rom. 15:13, 1Cor 12:4-7, Rom. 12:1,2, Gal. 2:20, Rom. 6:1-8, Eph. 5:8-10, Col. 3:14-17 NIV BIBLE
Jesus, draw me close today. I choose to cling to you. I choose surrender.
I choose to find my life, my purpose in you. Come, speak your words of truth into my life and bring order
to my days that I may walk in them according to your perfect will, simply and purely focused on You.
Tune my ears to hear your voice and give me the courage and wisdom to respond to You in obedience.
In the name of Jesus, Amen
Listening for His Voice,
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