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Listen Up! - Girlfriends in God - December 22, 2015


December 22,  2015
Listen Up!
Mary Southerland

Today’s Truth
If anyone, then, knows the good they ought to do and doesn’t do it, it is sin for them (James 4:17, NIV).

Friend to Friend
I was in a hurry. It was Wednesday and I had several errands to run before heading to the church where I teach a monthly Bible study for women. My last stop was the grocery store. I wanted to pick up snacks and drinks for many of the women who came straight from work to the study. It didn’t take long to fill my cart with drinks, chips, fruit and a few bags of the essential chocolate treats. Mission accomplished, I headed to the checkout lane.

I suddenly had the thought that I should check out the Christmas decorations. Huh? Where had that idea come from? True, it was only a few weeks until Christmas, but I didn’t even know if the grocery store had Christmas decorations. It did. And they just happened to be at the end of the aisle I was on. “Well, why not?” I thought. I had a few minutes to spare.

I selected a few wooden ornaments that would work well on my Christmas tree and tossed them in the cart. And then my eye caught the display just below the rack of tree ornaments. It was a collection of gift books containing inspirational quotes and Scriptures. I spotted one that looked particularly good and, without even checking the price (which is something I always do), added it to my cart and checked out. As I loaded the snacks and drinks into my car, I wondered what had possessed me to buy that book since I already had several books at home just like it. I tucked the book in my purse and headed to the church.

The Bible study went well. I was cleaning up and getting ready to head home when a tearful and obviously upset young woman came rushing in. “Did I miss it?” she asked. When I told her we had just finished, she dropped in a chair and burst into tears. “I tried so hard to get here but had a flat tire. It took them an hour to fix it and then the traffic was awful … and I needed to be here so much!” she wailed. I sat down beside her and said, “I have time. Let’s talk.”

For an hour, this precious young woman poured out her heart and life story of pain along with her desire to get back in church and find God. We talked and prayed. When I encouraged her to start reading the Bible, her eyes filled with tears as she said, “I don’t even have a Bible. I lost mine.” And then I heard His voice, “That’s why I wanted you to buy the book.” I hugged the young woman and said, “I want to show you how much God loves you. He knew you would come here tonight and told me to buy something He wanted you to have.” When I handed her the inspirational book and explained why I had bought it, a smile of wonder spread across her lovely face. “He really does love you and has a plan for your life,” I explained. That young woman made a profession of faith in Christ that night and has been attending our church ever since that night.  

I really do try to live a life of obedience to Christ. I often fail … but I wonder what would have happened if I had not listened to His voice that day in the grocery store. How many times do I miss the opportunity to serve Him by serving others because I am too busy or just don’t care enough? Oh, I know God is God and certainly big enough to accomplish His perfect will in many ways. But I want to be part of His process. I want my life to matter.

I have made a new commitment to be ready and available to be used by God whenever and wherever He wants to use me. I have asked God to help me listen for His voice above all others. I am praying that I will become more sensitive to hurting people around me. I want to be “God with skin on” to the people He puts in my path. How about you?

Let’s Pray
Father, please forgive me when I am too busy to see the hurting people in my world. Help me slow down and look for ways to share You and Your love. Use me, Lord. Right now, I make myself available to be Your instrument of love and mercy.

In Jesus’ Name,

Now It’s Your Turn
Think back over your day. Was there someone who looked like they could use an encouraging word? Would a smile from you have blessed that young woman in the drive-through lane? Did the thought occur to you to pay for the groceries of the young couple in front of you at the grocery store? Look for ways to share Jesus with the people who cross your path today.

More from the Girlfriends
I often wonder how different our world would be if we listened for and acted on the instructions God gives us through the Holy Spirit at work in our lives. Today, listen for His voice and look for ways to share His love.

I am so excited to announce the launch of Friends for the Journey,a dream I have had for some time that is now a reality and part of my ministry. If you are a pastor’s wife, a women’s ministry director, a woman in need of encouragement, or someone who battles depression, I am now available to encourage and coach you via Skype sessions. You can find all of the information on my website or you can email me for details.

Be sure to check out the FREE MP3s on Mary’s website and connect with Mary through email or on Facebook

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