TODAY’S STUDY TEXT
“Don’t be afraid, I’ve redeemed you. I’ve called your name. You’re mine. When you’re in over your head, I’ll be there with you. When you’re in rough waters, you will not go down. When you’re between a rock and a hard place, it won’t be a dead end – Because I am God, your personal God…I paid a huge price for you.”
“When God Calls Your Name”
“Jesus calls us; o’er the tumult of our life’s wild, restless sea,
Day by day His sweet voice soundeth, saying, ‘Christian, follow Me.’
Jesus calls us! By Thy mercies, Saviour, may we hear Thy call,
Give our hearts to Thy obedience, serve and love Thee best of all.”
Mrs. Cecil Frances Alexander
What do I personally think it means for God to call me?
What has hindered me in my life from following the calling of God?
“The responsible person seeks to make his or her whole life a response to the question and call of God.”
“If God has called you to China or any other place and you are sure in your own heart, let nothing deter you…remember it is God who has called you and it is the same as when He called Moses or Samuel.”
Gladys Aylward, or the “Virtuous One” as she was known in China, was born in 1902. The daughter of a working class family, Gladys felt the call of God when a young girl working as a maid. Recognizing God’s entreaty, she longed to go to China but was turned down because the China Inland Mission felt her “academic background” was lacking.
To think this stumbling block would hinder Gladys from following God’s call would be a huge mistake. Instead of allowing this setback to deter or defeat her, Gladys gathered her life-savings, and on her own, traveled to Yuncheng, Shanxi Province in China.
I love one of the statements this modest woman made. “I wasn’t God’s first choice for what I’ve done in China.” After reading about Gladys’ life, I’ll offer this assessment: she may not have thought she was God’s first choice because others had pointed out what she lacked, but God saw and knew Gladys had what He required. And this is the way it is in the lives of each of us.
Let’s never forget, before any of us made an entrance into life on planet earth, God already had a plan designed specifically for each one of us. I don’t know about you but this knowledge gives me great comfort and confidence. But not only did our Father have a plan for us, His plan is one with our name on it. God doesn’t design some generic, one-size fits all concept. Nor does He say, “Try this on. I hope this plan fits you!”
Instead, He tells us that because He knows us by name; because we are unique to him; because we are called personally by Him – if we will listen and respond, moving forward under the guidance He provides, we will be assured that while our path won’t be trouble free, we will be free from worry about the capability of the Guide who carries our map and marks the path out for us. What’s more, our confidence will only increase, as each day, we recognize the fact that not only has our Father walked the path before us, He will walk by our side every step of our way.
What I need to ask myself each day then is this: “Am I listening for my Father’s call in my life?” In such a hectic world, when our lives are over-run with the noise of distractions which many times drown out what is truly important, I know I have found myself wondering when my Father is calling. What’s more, I sometimes fail to do His bidding because I’m so flustered and preoccupied with my own aspirations. Unfortunately, I can get caught up running around, unaware of what matters the most. In the book, Encountering The Depths by Mother Mary Clare, she shares this insightful observation about learning to listen to God. “Listening is no passive affair, a space when we happen not to be doing or speaking. Inactivity and superficial silence do not necessarily mean that we are in a position to listen. Listening is a conscious, willed action, requiring alertness and vigilance, by which our whole attention is focused and controlled. Listening is in this sense a difficult thing. And it is decisive because it is the beginning of our entry into a personal and unique relationship with God, in which we hear the call of our own special responsibilities for which God has intended us. Listening is the aspect of silence in which we receive the commission of God.”
As I read these words, my mind went back to the story of one of God’s daughters, Hannah, who left her young son in the care of Eli, the high priest. During the night, in the quiet of the tabernacle, young Samuel heard a voice. It was a voice calling out: “Samuel.” After being told by Samuel about this “voice,” Eli, the Bible says, “perceived that the Lord had called the child.” A few verses later, in I Samuel 3: 10, the Scripture records that when, “the Lord came, and stood, and called as at other times, ‘Samuel, Samuel.’ Then Samuel answered, ‘Speak; for Thy servant heareth.’”
Are you listening today? Am I listening today? “God of surprises, You are ever with us…teach us to listen and to be prepared to hear Your voice calling us.” This is my prayer today as I’m certain it is yours as well.
“Open my ears, that I may hear
voices of truth Thou sendest clear;
and while the wave-notes fall on my ear,
everything false will disappear.
Silently now I wait for Thee,
ready my God, Thy will to see;
Open my ears, illumine me,
Clara H. Scott
“My Name is Known to You”
“God of many names,
my name is known to You.
I am held in the hand of Your life,
and I do not know what You will make of me.
All I know is that I cannot make myself
any more than I could in my mother’s womb.
But this I can do,
this I choose,
to give myself into the hand of Your continuing creativity.
My past, with its joys and triumphs, its failure and regrets.
My present, with its struggles and accomplishments, its hopes and setbacks.
My future, with its fears and freedom, its pain and promise.
To loose and to bind, to stretch and to shape,
to become what I will,
trusting the hand that made the world
trusting the spirit that breathes life
trusting the love that will not let me go
trusting the promise of the Word made flesh.”
Talking to the Bones
Dorothy Valcárcel, Author
When A Woman Meets Jesus
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