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Intentional 21 - Day 8: O.M.




Hear & Obey

 

Isa.28:23 Give ear and hear my voice,Listen and hear my speech.

 

As we are in this time of fasting and pursuing after the Lord, there are various things He wants to accomplish in our lives. There are also areas in our lives that he wants to develop and cause deeper growth. Two of those areas are, our ability to hear His voice, and then our willingness to obey. I place these together because they almost always work in tandem. There is no value in Him speaking to us concerning some action He wants us to take, if we're paralyzed by unwillingness to be obedient.

 

It's not as much of a challenge to hear His voice when we desire to commune with Him, or when He speaks purpose and destiny over our lives. Or even when His words confirm the dreams in our heart. These are all of Him, are essential, and absolutely a must. But where the rubber meets the road is when He is asking something of us that will require crucifying self. This comes in many forms. It may be giving up something or someone that has come between us and Him. It may be sacrificing our desires to pursue His desires, or it may even be stepping out in faith to serve in a role that is totally out of our comfort zone and which will require complete reliance on Him.

 

Whatever form it takes, when we position ourselves to hear His voice and then follow through with corresponding action, without exception, the blessings will far outweigh any price we pay.

 

Isa.1:19 If you are willing and obedient,You shall eat the good of the land;

 

Two instances come to mind from many years ago when the Lord was beginning to train me in making it a practice to hear and obey. Looking back, it now seems like small steps, but back then, it was more of a leap of faith. Even so, those small steps have played a vital role in my spiritual growth and have reinforced the foundation of my faith. 

 

In the first instance, I was painting a kitchen which badly needed it. I took on the job because another client who was a friend of the family expressed what an emotional lift it would make for them. After meeting with the wife, I could see the magnitude of the challenge because of how much work was involved. They would be stretching their finances to have it done, so I decided to give them a discount. Little did I know, the Lord was going to ask me to give even more.

 

As I was working, we visited a little bit. I found out she and her husband had basically adopted their two grandkids, because the parents were not capable of raising them. It was evident that this was no easy task, especially because they were well aged.


As she shared some of the hardships of the commitment they had taken on, I was glad that I took the job at a discount. I also thought to myself, that after completing the job, I would pray for them.


Halfway through the job, the Lord spoke to me. He told me that he wanted me to do more than just pray for them. Because He knew where I was at in my level of hearing and obeying, he started off first with telling me to donate the paint. I agreed. He then told me to donate part of my labor. At this point I was wondering if that was Him speaking. After determining it was, I told Him that I had already given them a discount. He seemed to ignore my point. After agreeing, He then spoke to me that I was to donate most of my labor. After hesitating for a little bit, I agreed thinking that would be the end of it. After awhile, He finally told me to donate all of my labor in addition to the paint. Honestly speaking, He had to patiently work with me in increments, because I don't know that I would have agreed to donate the entire job right off the bat, nor did I foresee what the outcome would be as He was taking me through this process.

 

You see, during this time of my life, I was going through a very dry wilderness season. My spiritual life was pretty dull, and I was discouraged. Why I could not get a breakthrough and move on baffled me. It was almost a wonder, that I was even able to have the conversation that I did with the Lord during that season. Little did I know, the Lord was setting me up for the breakthrough that I had been seeking.

 

Once I had completed the job, instead of giving them an invoice, I told the wife that the Lord had spoken to me that He wanted me to bless them. She was overwhelmed, and became emotional. I was touched and perhaps even more blessed that I could be such a blessing to them in their situation.

 

That wasn't the end of it. As I drove away, I did not get more than two blocks away, when a gusher of joy and peace broke through from my inner man. In fact, it became so strong that I had to literally pullover and park, because tears of joy flowed to the point that I could no longer hold it together or see to drive.

 

As I was experiencing all of this, I realized that the breakthrough I desired and needed had come. That was something I could not put a price on. I had received so much more in return compared to what I gave. It was also a defining milestone in learning the importance of hearing and obeying.

 

Proverbs 8:19 (NCV) What I give is better than the finest gold, better than the purest silver.

 

The second instance was when I was painting a nursery for a couple with quadruplets. I had taken on this small, one day job, as a favor to another client. Halfway through the job, the Lord spoke to me yet again to donate the job. Before the Lord spoke to me, He had planted the thought of what a challenging task to care for quadruplets must be. As I was thinking about that, that's when He spoke to me. The Lord has ways of getting our attention, so that we will be in a position to hear. Even so, I had a little resistance for a couple of reasons. The job was on a Saturday, and I saw it as extra money in my pocket. Also, this was a very nice home, and I could tell the couple had a very good income. In my mind, I did not think it would make a big difference to them, but I eventually acknowledged that The Lords will is always superior to our understanding.

 

Prov.3:5-6 Trust in the LORD with all your heart,And lean not on your own understanding; 6 In all your ways acknowledge Him,And He shall direct your paths.

 

After completing the job, the couple came up to the nursery to inspect the work. They were very pleased with the transformation, but had no expectation of what I was about to tell them. I proceeded to tell them that the Lord wanted to me to bless them. As I was telling them the good news, I choked up, and the tears welled up in their eyes. I had no idea of the impact it would have on them nor of the impact on my business.

 

Little did I know, from that small job painting a nursery, I would subsequently receive over $50,000 worth of work. It was work that required no effort on my part to seek out. I ended up doing work for a few other members of the family that were so touched by what I had done. A real estate agent of one family member who had recently moved heard about it, and was so impressed that he asked me to paint one of his properties, and when I was done, he generously tipped me.

 

I learned from that incident, yes indeed. He wanted to impact the couple with the quadruplets, but more so, He wanted to reinforce in my life the blessing of hearing and obeying.

 

In the years following, although He has been honing my hearing and fortifying my obedience relative to some areas of my life, I’ll be the first to admit, that there are still other areas that are less developed. I am determined to be intentional in this New Year to change that, as well as other things.

 

During this time of fasting and seeking the Lord, it is so important that we have an open ear to hear what the Lord is speaking. He's always speaking. The question might be, are we always listening?

 

Luke.8:8 “He who has ears to hear, let him hear.”

 

In addition, it is critical that when He speaks, if He asks us to do something, that we are quick to obey. We may never know in this lifetime, what we have forfeited because we failed to act. But we will see the blessings unfold as we walk in obedience.

 

Engagement:

During this time of fasting, as we seek the Lord for what we may want Him to do in our lives and in our church, let’s make it a priority to seek Him for what He wants us to do for Him. Take some time asking God if there's anything He'd like you to do today. Ask for strength to be obedient to whatever He may say knowing that He has blessings awaiting you and others that far outweigh the sacrifice. If you will, prepare yourself for quite a testimony for it's surely coming on the horizon.

 

Matthew 6:33 (CEV) But more than anything else, put God's work first and do what he wants. Then the other things will be yours as well.

 

-O.M.

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