Daily Walk With God

My Daily Journey With God in Athens Ga.

My Daughter’s Wedding

Written By: Rev. Darryl Mathis - May• 13•16

I was the first one to hold you as you made your way into the world. Seeing you take your first breath and hearing you cry for the first time gave me even more faith in God. I was only beginning to know you but God already knew all about you and what kind of person you would turn out to be. And I am so blessed and thankful that he trusted me to raise you. You were always a happy baby and toddler and your smile is what I remember most. I recall walking into your room one morning to wake you up when you were still in your baby bed, and there you were, standing up smiling at me, as I opened the door.

I remember dropping you off at your first day of day care and you cried as I left you. What you don’t know, is that I also cried as I left you, and I cried all the way to work. When I picked you up that afternoon, you ran to me with your arms stretched out wide and you jumped into my arms. It never crossed my mind that one day you would be all grown up. I just thought of you as my little girl and I couldn’t bear to think of that ever changing.

As you grew into school age, you were confident and ready to start school. I noticed early on that you always cared for and made friends with kids that didn’t have many friends. You were always very thoughtful and kind and showed great compassion for others. That has always been something that you have done throughout your life. Your compassion for the people of Haiti is something that I am so proud of. I always had faith that each time you traveled there, that God would use you in a special way and would bring you back home safely.

I remember you deciding where you wanted to go to college and I remember thinking that Berry College was just too far away. I guess that I wasn’t ready to have you leave your home and go out into the world for the first time on your own. I took you to the two day orientation and I wondered how I could let go of you as you began to find your way in the world. We moved you in your dorm and I remember me and mom and your two younger sisters just hanging around not wanting to leave. We had all made a pact that we would not cry and somehow we were able to fight back the tears while we were in your dorm room. After we said our goodbyes and left, I remember all of us feeling very sad that we were leaving you. We got into the car and began to drive away and I looked at mom and she looked at me and we both began to cry. Your sisters joined in as well and we cried for about ten minutes as we drove away from the college. But you would be all right and you would grow in ways that we could never imagine.

You graduated college and went on to get your master’s degree and I remember crying tears of joy at both of those graduations. You brought so much joy to my life and I was so proud of you and all that you had accomplished. You were all grown up now but I still thought of you as my little girl. After grad school you didn’t find a job right away and we were ok with that because you lived at home with us and helped us with your sisters. I knew and hoped that one day you would get a job but it sure was nice to have you at home with us as long as we could. After a few months you were so excited when you were called about a job in Savannah. You interviewed for the job in Savannah and got the position and told us that you had to find a place to live and start your new job in two weeks!

You found an apartment in Savannah and we moved you into your new place. It was really hitting me now that you were all grown up and your days of living at home had come to an end. Mom and I went to the grocery store to buy you some more groceries while your grandma and sisters helped you unpack. We finished shopping and got back to your apartment and immediately began dreading to say our goodbyes. Mom and I were trying to be strong and not cry, at least not in front of you. We were almost ready to leave and suddenly one of your sisters burst into tears as she hugged you goodbye and all of us were crying.  I didn’t want to leave you but I knew that God had great things in store for you and I trusted him to take care of you and watch over you when I couldn’t.

A year and a half later, you were engaged to a great guy and you began to make plans to start a life with him. I remember feeling joy, not sadness, when he asked me for my permission to ask you to marry him. I knew that the two of you would create a wonderful life together and I was happy for you. The wedding day still seemed far away.

Now, on the day before the wedding, it seems like this day got here really fast. It’s appropriate that you are getting married at the chapel on the same college campus where you received your undergrad degree. I remember telling you several times that I would love to do a service in that chapel. I just didn’t think that it would be your wedding.

As we go through the rehearsal tonight, I will try to maintain my composure. I don’t know what kind of emotions I will be feeling as we get closer to the day of your wedding, because I haven’t done this kind of thing before. As we stand there before we go down the aisle, I have visualized myself getting emotional.  As I give your hand to your future husband, I will be happy for you but I will also be giving you away, so I don’t know exactly what I will be feeling. And as I perform your ceremony, I will have to be the minister, but I will also be your dad – so there may come a time when I get a little emotional. I don’t know what emotions will be going through me when I pronounce you married and watch you walk down that aisle, away from me with your new husband. I will be smiling but I also may be crying, happy tears of course. And when we have our father/daughter dance, if I have not cried already, it may come then. More than likely I will break down and cry when I watch you and your husband drive away from the ceremony at the same college that we left you and drove back home over six years ago. But like then, I know that you will be ok and that you will be happy. May God forever bless you and your marriage and bring joy and peace to your life. I am a blessed man that God has allowed me to be your father and I hope that God will allow me to be around long enough to be a grandfather to what I know will be some wonderful kids!

 

Standing in the Gap; National Day of Prayer

Written By: Rev. Darryl Mathis - May• 06•16

Ezekiel 22:30(NASB): “I searched for a man among them who would build up the wall and stand in the gap before Me for the land, so that I would not destroy it; but I found no one.

Yesterday was our country’s designated national day of prayer and many committed believers joined together to pray for our nation and to “stand in the gap” before God. The prayers of the faithful are definitely heard by God so we must realize that prayer is the only way that we will begin to turn our nation back towards God. As a country, we, just like the Israelites, have turned our backs on God. And it frightens me to wonder how long God will tolerate our indifferent and faithless attitude towards Him.

Israel did the same to God and they thought God would never rain down judgment upon them. In Jeremiah, we read the words of the prophet and we get a glimpse of the attitude that was prevalent in Israel at that time.

          “The house of Israel and the house of Judah have been utterly unfaithful to me,” declares the LORD. They have lied about the LORD; they said, “He will do nothing! No harm will come to us; we will never see sword or famine. The prophets are but wind and the word is not in them; so let what they say be done to them” (Jeremiah 5:11-13).

How had Israel turned away from the LORD? Here are but a few of God’s long list of complaints against his chosen people:

  • They had forsaken God
  • Worshipped false and worthless idols instead of God
  • They lied about God and were unfaithful
  • Skilled in doing evil, they act like senseless children
  • They became wicked and turned away from God
  • They looked to this world for meaning and validation instead of God
  • They had “many” gods
  • Rebelled and would not respond to correction

God pleads with them saying, “Return, faithless people” (Jeremiah 3:14). “If you will return, O Israel, return to me,” declares the LORD. “If you put your detestable idols out of my sight and no longer go astray, and if in a truthful, just and righteous way you swear, ‘As surely as the LORD lives,’ then the nations will be blessed by him and in him they will glory” (Jeremiah 4:1-2).  On this side of history, we know that the Israelites failed to turn back to God. And so God was left with no choice but to bring destruction upon their land because of their unfaithfulness.

Every Christian in this blessed nation should be down on their knees praying to God for mercy and for forgiveness. We can no longer live with one foot in this world and one foot in God’s realm. It’s time to plead with God and pray to God for his mercy upon our nation. Our nation has turned its back on God just like Israel did and eventually God is going to bring judgment upon us just as he did upon Israel.

Over the last few days I have become convinced that Satan is waging an all-out assault upon our great nation. He is doing all he can to turn people away from God and to make a mockery of God. Read your Bible and see how it works out for people and nations that mock God!

Our country is embracing so many ideas and beliefs that are directly contrary to God’s Holy Word. There is hardly a day that goes by where someone doesn’t launch an attack or a mockery against our long-held Christian beliefs. Whether it is gay marriage, LGBT laws, the mayor of New York calling for a boycott on a Christian owned business, or the recent call for Disney to give one of its characters a same sex love interest in a sequel film, it is apparent to me that Satan is waging an all-out war against Christianity in our nation today. As a country, we have turned our backs on God. And how did that turn out for Israel, God’s chosen people? How will it turn out for our children and grandchildren? What kind of a world are we leaving them?

What are we as believers to do as we attempt to live out our life of faith in our nation today?  First, we must realize that there is nothing that an elected official, a religious leader or a bible scholar can do to “save” our great country. The only thing that will save our nation is for believers to “stand in the gap,” in intercessory prayer for our country, and to ask God for forgiveness for our unfaithfulness and our idolatrous ways and for turning our backs on God. God, and only God, can save us and restore our country to what we once were – a nation that is faithful to God and to His Holy Word. All Christians must have the courage to stand up for the truths of our long-held Christian faith and to pray without ceasing for our nation and for our world. Prayer truly changes things and until we devote ourselves to unceasing prayer, we will continue to see our country slip further towards God’s wrath and judgment.

So as Christians, we have an obligation to pray and plead with God DAILY for mercy and forgiveness, for our nation, and for those in our country who have turned their backs on God. We must pray for forgiveness and for the Holy Spirit to lead a revival in our country that will change hearts and minds and lead great numbers to Christ. God has done this before and He will do it again if we as believers fall on our knees and approach the throne of grace with our petitions and intercessory prayer for our great nation. May God forgive the sins of our nations and may God forgive us for turning away from Him and His Holy Word. May God have mercy on the United States of America and bring healing to our land.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Fearfully and Wonderfully Made

Written By: Rev. Darryl Mathis - May• 04•16

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Psalm 139:13-16 (NIV)

13 For you created my inmost being; you knit me together in my mother’s womb.

14 I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made; your works are wonderful, I know that full well.

15 My frame was not hidden from you when I was made in the secret place, when I was woven together in the depths of the earth.

16 Your eyes saw my unformed body; all the days ordained for me were written in your book before one of them came to be.

As I continue to ready and pray Psalm 139, God gave me these thoughts to share with you today. Psalm 139 begins by telling us that God knows our hearts and our minds; “you perceive my thoughts from afar” (Psalm 139:2). God knows and is involved in every detail of our lives. While we often think of God as being so far removed from us and our daily lives, the truth is that God is very involved with us, so much so, that he knows what you are thinking at this very moment in time. God’s presence is everywhere and there is no place we can go that will escape God’s attention.

In today’s reading from Psalm 139: 13-16, we are told that God knew us and saw our “unformed body” when we were in the “depths of the earth,” our mother’s womb. God knows each of us so intimately because he made us, he created us. And because we are God’s creation, we are “fearfully and wonderfully made.” So don’t ever let anyone tell you that God does not love you, or somehow thinks less of you, because of the way you look or because of your type of personality or because you act and think differently. God made you, he knows you, and he loves you, just as you are! You are “fearfully and wonderfully” made.

So many people continue to search for that “something” that will fulfill them and make their lives feel whole and complete. Sadly, the search begins with the things of this world instead of their creator God. And you have seen and know the pattern that occurs when people turn to material objects instead of forging a connection with their creator. Temporarily they find meaning and fulfillment in something, but over time, whatever they chose to fulfill themselves and their lives with, fails to satisfy their inner desires. But instead of turning to God, they go after more earthly desires and over time these things again fail to satisfy them and bring meaning to their lives and the entire process is repeated over and over again.

God calls us to look to Him – the one who created us and knows us intimately. God loves you and can bring meaning and fulfillment to your life in a way that will bring wholeness and a sense of purpose to your life. God saw your “unformed body” and he ordained every day that you will live on earth. He knew the day you would be born and he knows the day you will leave this earth. While you are on this earth, God wants to use you to lead others to him and to a life that brings fulfillment and wholeness. Don’t let others or this world that we live in define who you are. You are God’s creation and he loves you and continually wants to draw you closer and closer to him. God’s kingdom is everlasting and he calls upon you, his child, to seek him and to find peace and contentment in God. Say “no” to the things of this world and seek and find God. There you will find true joy and fulfillment for your life here on earth and for eternity.

“Search me, O God, and know my heart; test me and know my anxious thoughts. See if there is any offensive way in me, and lead me in the way everlasting” (Psalm 139:23-24).

 

Psalm 139: God’s GPS

Written By: Rev. Darryl Mathis - Apr• 27•16

IMG_2478Psalm 139:7-12: Where can I go from your spirit? Or where can I flee from your presence? If I ascend to heaven, you are there; if I make my bed in Sheol, you are there. If I take the wings of the morning and settle at the farthest limits of the sea, even there your hand shall lead me, and your right hand shall hold me fast. If I say, “Surely the darkness shall cover me, and the light around me become night,”even the darkness is not dark to you; the night is as bright as the day, for darkness is as light to you.

Photograph of Earth from space

As I was reading and praying through Psalm 139 this morning, I began to think about a piece of modern technology: Global Positioning System (GPS). Basically, GPS tells you where you are on planet earth. This technology was first developed by the United States military but was made available for civilian use in the late 90’s. I remember using a GPS device to find the location of a church, where I was to preach a few years ago, and it put me in the middle of nowhere, many miles away from the church. I finally had to stop and ask for directions to the church. Now, I depend on the GPS built into my phone to help me navigate unfamiliar cities and towns. It is very useful and I have come to depend on it greatly.

Long before the US military designed GPS, God had his own GPS. In the first six verses of Psalm 139 we see God described as inescapable. God knows when we wake up in the morning and when we go to sleep at night. He discerns our thoughts from afar and identifies what our future actions will be. God is present everywhere and our thoughts, desires, and physical location on earth is always known to God.

In today’s text, Psalm 139:7-12, we see there is absolutely no where we can go on earth or in the heavens to escape God. He presence is with astronauts as they circle the earth or rocket into space. He is with sea captains as they sail across the depths of the ocean and to the far side of the sea. It doesn’t matter where you are on planet earth or the universe; God is with you and is available to guide you. God knows your physical location at this very moment and He wants to connect with you and draw you closer to His love, compassion, and mercy.

As I continue to read and pray Psalm 139 on a daily basis, I am so much more aware of God’s presence in my life and His hand upon my life. Whatever your location on earth or your situation in life, God’s hand will guide you and lead you into the light of His kingdom. God never gives up on us even if we give up on ourselves. God, at all times, stands ready to raise you up and give you a new and more fulfilling life through belief in Christ. You can try to run from God and hide from God, but even then, God is with you and knows your thoughts, worries, and fears. Allow God’s GPS to bring you into the light of God’s kingdom, which does not rust, spoil or fade away. God’s kingdom and His love for you is eternal. Allow God to place you where He wants you to be!cropped-Heaven.jpg

The Inescapable God

Written By: Rev. Darryl Mathis - Apr• 24•16

Psalm 139:1-6 (NSRV): O Lord, you have searched me and known me. You know when I sit down and when I rise up; you discern my thoughts from far away. You search out my path and my lying down, and are acquainted with all my ways. Even before a word is on my tongue, O Lord, you know it completely. You hem me in, behind and before, and lay your hand upon me. Such knowledge is too wonderful for me; it is so high that I cannot attain it.

I read recently of someone who praIMG_2474yed Psalm 139 as a daily prayer and that really got my attention. The next morning, I read through this psalm and it really spoke to me and gave me the strength I needed to make it through that particular day. It reaffirmed for me, the promise that God is with me every second of the day, and every step of my life.  In his commentary, Matthew Henry wrote: “Wherever we are, we are under the eye and hand of God.” During our day and all through the night, God is watchful and “familiar” with all our ways. That’s both very comforting to me and also somewhat disconcerting, because sometimes my thoughts and actions are not very pleasing to God.

God’s knowledge of us is perfect. He not only knows our hearts and minds at this very moment, his knowledge of us extends to what our future actions or words will be. So when I read and pray these first six verses of Psalm 139, it helps me to focus my thoughts and my actions on what God would have me to do. It makes me want to lead a better life and focus my time and energy on pleasing and glorifying God in all that I do.

Psalm 139 gives me great comfort in knowing that God is always with me and watching over me. If you feel alone in the world or separated from God, this psalm will help you to reconnect with God. If you are a believer and you are having a difficult time sensing God’s presence in your life, this psalm will help you to draw closer to God.

The world that we live in may tell you that God is not real. Psalm 139 describes the nature and presence of God, with each one of us as we journey through life on this earth. We are not alone! At times, we may try to run or hide from God, but His presence and his knowledge of us is inescapable. Read and pray the promises from Psalm 139 daily and ask for God’s presence in your life today. God knows you and loves you and He wants the very best for you.

What Do You See?

Written By: Rev. Darryl Mathis - Apr• 09•16

It never ceases to amaze me how God can speak to us through His word and through other people. Two weeks ago, our Senior Pastor began teaching on the book of Jeremiah during our Wednesday night service. Jeremiah is often called the “weeping prophet,” and if you read the book of Jeremiah you will soon understand why.

                Oh, that my head were a spring of water and my eyes a fountain of tears! I would weep day and night for the slain of my people. Jeremiah 9:1

                My heart is broken within me; all my bones tremble. Jeremiah 23:9

Jeremiah endured many intense, personal struggles and had only a few friends, which is not surprising, given the message that God called him to proclaim. He is often referred to as the prophet of doom, since he prophesied that God would bring divine judgment upon Judah. Because of the impending calamity, God ordered Jeremiah not to marry and have children.

                See, today I appoint you over nations and kingdoms to uproot and tear down, to destroy and overthrow, to build and to plant. Jeremiah 1:10

                Get yourself ready! Stand up and say to them whatever I command you. Do not be terrified by them, or I will terrify you before them. They will fight against you but will not overcome you, for I am with you and will rescue you, declares the LORD.  Jeremiah 1:17, 19

Now, back to how this study of Jeremiah has spoken to me and has affected (distressed, upset, moved, touched, shook) me over the last two weeks. The following two verses from the first chapter of Jeremiah, have stirred up so many emotions within me as I have prayed and tried to look at people in the way that God wants me to see them.

                The word of the LORD came to me: “What do you see, Jeremiah?”  Jeremiah 1:11

                The word of the LORD came to me again: What do you see?”  Jeremiah 1:13

God asked Jeremiah, What do you see?” God wants Jeremiah to “see” and fully understand his calling. God wants to be certain that he and Jeremiah are on the same page. And I believe that God calls each of us today, to “see” what God sees, and then to react in the same way that God would. I can often “see” things in the way that God wants me to see them but I have a more difficult time reacting in the manner that God calls me to do. We often look at people and judge them based on our own preconceived notions. For me, I often struggle with seeing others in the same manner that God does.

What would happen if we asked God to help us “see” other people in the way that God sees them? (A word of caution: I did and thus my intense struggle). Could you begin to look at other people and “see” them in the same way that God “sees” them? These two, rather simple verses from Jeremiah have stirred up many deep thoughts and feelings in me:

                The word of the LORD came to me: “What do you see, Jeremiah?”  Jeremiah 1:11

                The word of the LORD came to me again: What do you see?”  Jeremiah 1:13

There are two people that God has placed in my path over the last two weeks that have caused me to struggle with these two passages from Jeremiah. One is a homeless woman that I encounter almost every day. She talks about other people’s lack of compassion towards her and then suddenly becomes angry and hateful. (Please realize there are mental issues at play). After my encounter with her yesterday, I felt as if I had failed to “see” her in the way that God sees her. The other is a homeless man that I have noticed over the last two weeks; about the same time I asked God to help me “see” others in the way that God sees them. I have only observed him from my car, walking or sitting on a sidewalk, on a street that I travel four to six times a day. I have not seen him holding up a sign asking for money or carrying any personal possessions. But I see him almost every day on that same street and I have been drawn to thinking about him and praying for him. Now that I see, what is God calling me to do next?

Do you dare ask God to help you “see” others around you that could use a helping hand or a kind, compassionate word? As I said, be careful! Because God just might answer your prayer and give you a burden, like He gave me, to act in some way, to not only “see” but to be compassionate and Christ-like to those that most of society simply ignores.

 

 

 

               

 

Holy Saturday Passion Week

Written By: Rev. Darryl Mathis - Mar• 26•16

Today is called Holy Saturday and it is the day after Good Friday. Holy Saturday is also called Black Saturday. It is the last day of Holy Week, in which we await the resurrection of Christ on Easter morning. On Holy Saturday we remember the day that the body of Christ lay in the tomb.

From the book of Matthew we find this event happening on Saturday, which was the Sabbath. Matthew 27:62-66: The next day, the one after Preparation Day, the chief priests and the Pharisees went to Pilate. “Sir,” they said, “we remember that while he was still alive that deceiver said, ‘After three days I will rise again.’ So give the order for the tomb to be made secure until the third day. Otherwise, his disciples may come and steal the body and tell the people that he has been raised from the dead. This last deception will be worse than the first.” “Take a guard,” Pilate answered. “Go, make the tomb as secure as you know how.” So they went and made the tomb secure by putting a seal on the stone and posting the guard.

John 16:20-22: I tell you the truth, you will weep and mourn while the world rejoices. You will grieve, but your grief will turn to joy. A woman giving birth to a child has pain because her time has come; but when her baby is born she forgets the anguish because of her joy that a child is born into the world. So with you: Now is your time of grief, but I will see you again and you will rejoice, and no one will take away your joy.

On this day, I am certain that the disciples were confused and scared. Jesus had been crucified and all may have seemed hopeless and lost. We know that the disciples often struggled in their walk of faith and on this dark day they probably could not begin to comprehend what was about to take place the next morning. The despair that they must have felt and the guilt of abandoning Jesus would have been a heavy burden to bear. They probably could not see or imagine – the light and the hope that would forever change the world – come tomorrow morning. Even though it may have seemed that evil had prevailed we know that evil will never prevail against God’s Kingdom. Tomorrow we can say with complete joy and confidence that – Christ is risen – Christ is risen indeed!

Do Not Let Your Hearts Be Troubled

Written By: Rev. Darryl Mathis - Mar• 17•16

As Jesus was preparing to leave this world, he said to his disciples: “Do not let your hearts be troubled. Trust in God; trust also in me. In my Father’s house are many rooms; if it were not so, I would have told you. I am going there to prepare a place for you. And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come back and take you to be with me that you also may be where I am. You know the way to the place where I am going.” John 14:1-4 (NIV)

Today would have been my mother’s 88th birthday. And while it would have been great to celebrate this day with her, I am thankful that she is at home with the Lord. I am also thankful that her pain and suffering is no more. She struggled through the last few months of her life here on this earth but she now has a new and glorious body and she is free of any sickness, sorrow, or pain.

My mother had a great impact on my life. My father did as well, but it was my mother who taught me more about how to have a life long relationship with God. She lived a life that reflected the love, mercy, and grace of Jesus Christ. She was not perfect but she gave me her time and made me feel loved. As I grow older, I find myself doing many of the things she did for me for my own children. I love them fiercely and there is not a day that passes that I do not begin my day praying for their health, safety, and for God to be merciful towards them.

Jesus wanted his disciples and us to know that heaven is a real place that is being prepared for each one of us who believe in Christ, as our Lord and Savior. Before Jesus left this earth he said, “I go to prepare a place for you, and if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come back and take you to be with me that you also may be where I am.” What a wonderful and reassuring promise from Christ. He has prepared heaven for all who trust him and believe upon His name. And he waits for us in our heavenly home.

In this life we come to know many disappointments. When we lose someone, we certainly feel sorrow and disappointment. Jesus promises us that in heaven, we shall never again encounter sorrow or disappointments. In heaven, we will have all that we need. We will never lack anything and there will be so many good and wonderful things that we will enjoy. Although I miss my mother today, I take great comfort in thinking about her and all that she is seeing and experiencing in heaven at this very moment. She is where we all desire to be.

On earth, we are separated from our loved ones who have passed and we are separated from God. However, in heaven, there will be no more separation. The seas on earth separate people and continents from each other. The Bible tells us that in heaven there will be “no more sea.” In heaven, we will no longer be separated from our loved ones who have believed in Christ and we will no longer be separated from God. In heaven, we will be perfectly content and have all that we need. We will dwell with God. “Now the dwelling of God is with men, and he will live with them. They will be his people, and God himself will be with them and be their God. He will wipe every tear from their eyes. There will be no more death or mourning or crying or pain, for the old order of things have passed away” (Revelation 21:3-4).

I recall standing by my mom’s bedside and holding her hand as she drew her last breath. I remember looking into her face for the last time. I remember asking God to bring her into the heavenly home that Christ prepared for her long ago. I had a powerful feeling of peace as we let her go, knowing that she was already in the presence of God. Happy Birthday Mom! I know that I will one day see you again in that incredible heaven that I can only imagine, but you are experiencing, in the presence of God.

God Is Speaking, Are You Listening?

Written By: Rev. Darryl Mathis - Mar• 16•16

1 Samuel 3:1-10 (NIV):

The boy Samuel ministered before the Lord under Eli. In those days the word of the Lord was rare; there were not many visions.

One night Eli, whose eyes were becoming so weak that he could barely see, was lying down in his usual place. The lamp of God had not yet gone out, and Samuel was lying down in the house of the Lord, where the ark of God was. Then the Lord called Samuel.

Samuel answered, “Here I am.” And he ran to Eli and said, “Here I am; you called me.”

But Eli said, “I did not call; go back and lie down.” So he went and lay down.

Again the Lord called, “Samuel!” And Samuel got up and went to Eli and said, “Here I am; you called me.”

“My son,” Eli said, “I did not call; go back and lie down.”

Now Samuel did not yet know the Lord: The word of the Lord had not yet been revealed to him.

A third time the Lord called, “Samuel!” And Samuel got up and went to Eli and said, “Here I am; you called me.”

Then Eli realized that the Lord was calling the boy. So Eli told Samuel, “Go and lie down, and if he calls you, say, ‘Speak, Lord, for your servant is listening.’” So Samuel went and lay down in his place.

10 The Lord came and stood there, calling as at the other times, “Samuel! Samuel!”

Then Samuel said, “Speak, for your servant is listening.”

How often do you find yourself saying, “Speak Lord, for your servant is listening?” It’s more likely that we find ourselves saying, “Lord, why don’t you just listen to me?” Or, “Hurry up Lord, I’m listening!” We become so wrapped up in ourselves and our own lives that we fail to acknowledge that the creator of the universe knows what’s best for each of us and is more than willing to give us direction for our lives, if we will just stop and listen.

Most people lead very hurried lives and they allow little or no time to slow down and listen for God. Think about how you either begin or end your day. Do you set aside any daily time for God in the morning, at night, or at some other time during the day? I often hear people complain that God seems distant and far away from them. They tend to blame God for this lack of communication instead of their own failure to seek out and spend some quiet time, listening for God.

The text from 1 Samuel makes it very clear that God expects us to “listen” to him. God can and does reveal himself to us in many different ways. God greatly desires to connect with us through the reading of his word, through prayer, being outside enjoying the beauty of nature, and often through other people. God can and does communicate to us in countless ways, but we must be willing to listen.

We see in this text that Eli, the priest, was not listening for God. His sons were doing bad things and treating the offerings made to the Lord with contempt. “Eli’s sons were scoundrels; they had no regard for the LORD” (1 Samuel 2:12). Eli had failed to restrain them and so God reveals to Eli that he and his sons will be judged accordingly. Remember that it took Eli three times to realize that it was God who was calling out to Samuel. It appears that Eli was more preoccupied with other matters rather than listening to God. Is the same true for you in your daily walk with God?

Remember the story of the transfiguration from the Gospel of Matthew? Peter, James and John are led by Jesus up a high mountain and Jesus is transfigured before them. These three disciples were given a unique revelation of His glorious nature. And Moses and Elijah even appear before them and began talking with Jesus. And what does Peter do? He keeps on talking! And then do you remember what happens next?

Matthew 17:5: While he was still speaking, a bright cloud covered them, and a voice from the cloud said, “This is my Son, whom I love; with him I am well pleased. Listen to him!”

While Peter is talking, God interrupts him and says, “This is my Son – Listen to him! It doesn’t take a genius to understand that God wants us to listen! 

Do you desire a closer, more intimate relationship with God? Do you want to feel God’s presence and sense His direction for your life? If so, the Bible is very clear on how we are able to do that – Listen to him! We can’t listen to God or feel his presence if we push him to the outer part of our lives. You must make God the center of your life, each and every day. And then you must be patient and listen! Are you willing to listen and then follow where God leads you?

Remember the words of Samuel in your own daily walk with God: “Speak, for your servant is listening” (1 Samuel 3:10).

 

 

 

 

 

 

Peace in a Troubled World

Written By: Rev. Darryl Mathis - Mar• 13•16

John 16:33: I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.”

It seems that each time I read or listen to the news; I am constantly reminded of all the turmoil that is going on in our country and our world. We are exposed to so much violence and evil on a daily basis that it can cause us to become discouraged and even fearful of what is transpiring in our world. It is important to remember, that as followers of Christ, we have a choice. We can continue to allow the world that we live in to cause us to worry and become fearful, or we can remember that our Savior has already overcome the world and its many trials and tribulations.

Jesus warned his disciples of the many troubles they would face, as he talked about leaving this world and going back to the Father in heaven, after His resurrection. He warned them that they would face ridicule and suffer many tribulations because of their ministry in Christ’s name. He also promised them of a future time in which “no one will take away your joy” (John 16:22). Like the disciples, we remember and celebrate the resurrection of Jesus, as the sign that Christ has already defeated death, and the sin and evil of this world. This should be a daily reminder to us that no one in this world will ever take away our peace and our joy. Because of Christ’s redemptive work on the cross, we have the joy and peace of knowing that through belief in Christ, we have the promise of eternal life in our heavenly home.

As followers of Christ, we should begin each and every day in God’s word, as we remind ourselves of the truth that Christ has already overcome the world. God’s word can guide us through the many pitfalls and traps that this world sets for us as followers of Christ. This fallen world will never know complete peace until the second coming of Christ. However, as believers, we have the promise that absolutely nothing in this world can take away our joy that comes through the promise of salvation for those that believe in the name of Jesus the Christ. May the peace and joy of Jesus Christ be with you this day and every day!