November 28, 2006

 

Encouragement for Today

 

“God’s Message Board”

Melissa Taylor, Proverbs 31 Ministries Speaker, Board of Directors

 

Key Verse:

Psalm 119:11, “I have hidden your word in my heart that I might not sin against you.” (NIV)

 

Devotion:

Recently I was asked, “Melissa, how do I know God is there, that He hears me, and know if He is speaking to me when I can’t see or hear Him?” That’s a question I used to wonder myself…at least until I got to know God’s heart and began spending more time with Him.

 

When I was younger I’d pray and even read my Bible some. I had friends who would tell me that they felt a calling on their life from God, or that God had spoken to them, or that they had a close relationship with Him, but I really didn’t understand it. I was a believer who loved God, but I didn’t know how to hear from Him. I wasn’t even sure if He was aware of me all of the time. I imagined God up in Heaven and that one day I would meet Him, but for now I should just try to be a good girl here on earth. If you see yourself in this description, read on! 

 

Have you ever had a relationship with someone you’ve not seen in person? I have with a woman I met on a message board. A message board is a place on a website where you can ask questions, make comments, and talk to other people on the internet about a certain subject.  I’d never met or begun a relationship with someone through the internet before. Typically, I would post or respond to a question and move on.  This one time, however, I read a comment posted by a woman all the way across the country from me.  Her name was Allison.  I responded and I can hardly believe where the relationship has gone from there. 

 

After realizing from our posts that we had so much in common, we exchanged email addresses and began communicating. I had heard horror stories about relationships formed on the internet, so I sought to make sure this woman was who she said she was. Allison said she was a school teacher, so I visited her school website to check her out. She also sent me her family’s personal website. I also wanted her to know that I was being truthful about who I was and sent her to the Proverbs 31 website and eventually gave her my phone number.  When I felt sure that she was indeed who she said she was, I let my guard down and our friendship blossomed.

 

You see, before a deep meaningful relationship can occur, both parties have to know they can trust the other. We did not openly share our lives with each other at first.  It took time to develop a relationship to the level where we felt comfortable doing that. We wrote each other almost daily and talked by phone a few times a month.  Today, I consider Allison a true friend and someone that I could share just about anything with.  I know she’d be there to listen to me, pray for me, and encourage me.  I have never seen this friend of mine in person.  Yet, I know she’s there.

 

This reminds me a lot of how a relationship with God works.  When we come to faith in the Lord, we don’t know Him intimately right away. It takes time.  It takes reading His letters to us (the Bible).  It takes getting comfortable with Him and trusting that we can openly share our lives with Him.  It takes us learning that He is Who He says He is. When we work on our relationship with God, we learn that He can be trusted.  We also learn that He loves us no matter what we’ve done or who we are.  Even though we may not be able to physically see Him, we find He is there all of the time. Even though we may not be able to audibly hear Him, we learn He can and does speak to our heart. We discover this by investing time into the relationship. 

 

If you want to know God better, spend more time with Him. Read God’s Word and you’ll begin to experience God’s heart. Spend time alone with Him and you will begin to see and hear Him more in your life.  It may be through a scripture, a friend, a feeling, or an idea that pops into your mind that you just sense is from God. When you know God better, you’ll also know how to recognize Him. It’s hard to explain, but you just do. 

 

God’s Message Board is always open and He is always there to listen and reply.  He is knowledgeable on all subjects and He stands ready to meet with you at any time.  If you find yourself searching for answers or wondering if God indeed cares for you, post a question on His Message Board through prayer. Hide His Word in your heart.    Meet with Him one on One. He will be the best Friend you ever make and you’ll see and hear from Him in a whole new way.

 

My Prayer for Today:

Dear Lord, I would like to know You better. Help me to understand the mystery of a personal relationship with You.  Help me to read and understand Your Word so that I may understand You more fully. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.

 

Additional Resources:

His Princess, Prayers to My King  by Sheri Rose Shepherd

http://proverbs31.gospelcom.net/newresources_hisPrincess.htm

 

Who Holds the Key to Your Heart?  by Lysa TerKeurst

http://proverbs31.gospelcom.net/newresources_whoHoldsKey.htm

 

He Speaks to Me: Preparing to Hear from God By Priscilla Shirer

http://proverbs31.gospelcom.net/newresources_heSpeaks.htm

 

Application Steps:

Get a 3-section spiral notebook.  Label the first “Prayer”, the second “Scripture” and the third “Journaling.” In the first section write your prayer requests:  for yourself, your family, friends, work, world, whatever you want…You can add to it as time goes on, check off answered prayer request, etc. In the second section, write down any Bible verses that speak to your heart.  If there’s a verse you want to remember or that means a lot to you, write it here.  Keep adding to this section and review it often.  In the third section, write letters to God.  Tell Him what you are thinking and feeling. Let Him know how much you love Him and need Him. Even though He knows all this already, something special happens when we write it down.  As time passes, go back and read previous letters to God.  You will find that you will see first hand the way He’s been working in your life.

 

Reflection Points:

Are you investing time in a relationship with the Lord?

 

Do you know Him well enough to believe His Word?

 

Power Verses:

Proverbs 3:5-6, “Trust in the LORD with all your heart; do not depend on your own understanding. Seek his will in all you do, and he will direct your paths.”  (NLT)

Jeremiah 29:13, “And you will seek Me and find Me, when you search for Me with all your heart.”  (NKJV)

Psalm 138:3, “When I pray, you answer me; you encourage me by giving me the strength I need.”  (NLT)

Psalm 119:105, “Your word is a lamp that gives light wherever I walk.”  (CEV)