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<< Encouragement for Today

Encouragement for Today - Jan. 21, 2011

  • 2011 Jan 21
  • COMMENTS

January 21, 2011
Return the Call
Karen Ehman

"Answer me when I call to you, O my righteous God. Give me relief from my distress; be merciful to me and hear my prayer."

Psalm 4:1 (NIV)

Devotion:
"Ughhh!" I sighed as the telephone rang that morning…again. My frustration mounted as I replayed my morning's activities thus far in my mind.

I'd already answered a phone call from church, one from my son's teacher and yet another one from my other son's coach. I'd chatted with my hairdresser and made an appointment with the dentist, among about a half-dozen more connections that had to be made by phone. And it wasn't even noon yet!

My mind pondered as my heart began to race. "When am I ever going to get to the bottom of my never-ending "to do" list?"

I glanced at my caller ID to see who it was this time. The number flashing on my phone was a familiar one; that of my father. He is a retiree who has a great love for his grandkids and lots of time on his hands. I reasoned, since his schedule isn't nearly as full as mine, that I could call him back later at a time more convenient for me. So I ignored his call and turned my attention to my list.

On it were many tasks; some noble, some mundane. Normal errands such as "Pick up bread and milk" "Return library books" or "Fill car up with gas." But there were important items too like call a relative who was struggling with depression and ask the neighbor next door, who'd just had surgery, if he'd like our family to mow his lawn. There were even kingdom-building, ministry activities; finish my Bible study lesson and pray for a friend's operation taking place later that day.

Yes, my day was full; full of people and purpose. Why then did I feel so empty?

My thoughts returned to the call from my father. How many times had I ignored his calls, reasoning that, since his life as a retiree wasn't packed with activity, I could easily chat with him at a later time? But the reality of my hectic schedule, along with other relationship commitments, often meant that connecting with my father took a nearly permanent place on the back burner of life.

He was waiting; I was ignoring. I refused to return his call. And our relationship was at risk of suffering because of it.

It isn't just earthy fathers that sometimes get ignored. How many times have we "ignored" our Heavenly Father because of our screaming schedule and earthly relationship demands? Even though our lives may be full of good and "God" things—duties at church, connections with people—oft times we are so busy serving God and loving it, that we don't make time to actually love the God that we serve.

Today's key verse paints a picture of our loving God who is never too busy to answer us when we call. And He not only hears and answers, He gives us relief from our distress—even the too-busy-for-my-own-good kind of distress. The problem in our connection lies with us. He is calling. We ignore. And then, we don't bother returning His call.

Thankfully, God never gets tired of hitting or answering a "redial." He is waiting and longing, as He always has been, to have a deep, intimate relationship connection with us; one that requires we make one simple switch: We put Him at the top of our "to do" and our "must call" lists.

He is willing to answer, if only we will call.

Dear Lord, forgive me for ignoring Your calls to come and connect with You, free from any distractions. I'm ready now. Speak. I'm listening. In Jesus' Name, Amen.

Related Resources:

Do You Know Him?

For more on this topic and a Jesus Calling basket giveaway, visit Karen's blog

Living Life on Purpose by Lysa TerKeurst
Rest Assured: Devotions for Souls in a Restless World by Nancy McGuirk 

When you purchase resources through Proverbs 31 Ministries, you touch eternity! Your purchase supports the many areas of hope-giving ministry we provide at no cost. We wish we could, but we simply can't compete with prices offered by huge online warehouses. Therefore, we are extremely grateful for each and every purchase you make with us. Thank you!

Application Steps:
When it comes to carving out time to spend with God, do you:

a.      Consistently make it a high priority

b.      Have great intentions of doing it but often get sidetracked by life

c.      Fit it in when you feel like it or happen to "find time"

d.      Don't really have any plan for connecting one-on-one with God

Take action this week to get God off the back burner and into the forefront of your life.

Reflections:
Have I ever scheduled an "appointment with God," just as I would with a business contact, doctor, or friend? How could that help me in my quest to grow in relationship Him?

Power Verses:
Psalm 91:14-16: "The Lord says, 'I will rescue those who love me. I will protect those who trust in my name. When they call on me, I will answer; I will be with them in trouble. I will rescue and honor them. I will reward them with a long life and give them my salvation.'" (NLT)  

© 2011 by Karen Ehman. All rights reserved. 

Proverbs 31 Ministries
616-G Matthews-Mint Hill Road
Matthews, NC 28105
www.Proverbs31.org

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