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Right Now: Easter Devotions | Steps to Peace with God

DEVOTION

When God Speaks, We Must Listen

By Laura J. Bagby
CBN.com Producer

Two days before the September 11 tragedy, on a Sunday afternoon, I was so compelled to pray to the Lord that I stopped what I was doing and grabbed my Bible and asked the Lord, "OK, What is it?"

I had been sensing God was calling me to fast and pray for several weeks prior to this meeting. Selfishly I figured God wanted to reveal something about my career or my ministry or -- could it be? -- my future husband. I just knew it had to do with me.

As I prayed for the Holy Spirit's revelatory knowledge in that restless hour, I was led to several passages, none of which seemed relevant to my personal issues. Specifically, I recalled reading Matthew 13 in its entirety. I read about the farmer scattering seed on the different soils, of the wheat and the tares, of the mustard seed, and other illustrations concerning the Kingdom of God.

Impatiently, I asked, "God, what does this have to do with anything?" There was silence. The heavens were as brass. And after what I considered a largely unfruitful and frustrating time with the Lord, I went about my usual business.

Two days later, my world changed forever, as I learned of the terrorist assaults.

God began reminding me of all the things He had shown me in His Word, particularly the words of the prophets, and He began to bring to mind dreams that I believe truly are prophetic about our nation. I was stunned at what the Lord was revealing to me for a second and third time…

"Be very careful, then, how you live--not as unwise but as wise, making the most of every opportunity, because the days are evil. Therefore do not be foolish, but understand what the Lord's will is" (Ephesians 5:15-17).

"For you do not know what tomorrow brings…"(see James 4: 13-14).

Early in the morning Joshua and all the Israelites set out from Shittim and went to the Jordan, where they camped before crossing over. After three days the officers went throughout the camp, giving orders to the people: "When you see the ark of the covenant of the LORD your God, and the priests, who are Levites, carrying it, you are to move out from your positions and follow it. Then you will know which way to go, since you have never been this way before. But keep a distance of about a thousand yards between you and the ark; do not go near it." Joshua told the people, "Consecrate yourselves, for tomorrow the LORD will do amazing things among you" (Joshua 3:1-5).

"Forget the former things; do not dwell on the past. See, I am doing a new thing! Now it springs up; do you not perceive it? I am making a way in the desert and streams in the wasteland" (Isaiah 43:18-19).

"The Lord will guide you always; he will satisfy your needs in a sun-scorched land and will strengthen your frame. You will be like a well-watered garden, like a spring whose waters never fail. Your people will rebuild the ancient ruins and will raise up the age-old foundations; you will be called Repairer of Broken Walls, Restorer of Streets with Dwellings" (Isaiah 58:11-12).

I felt like Peter, after that rooster crowed three times. My heart was torn in two, because I realized that I had not listened to my Lord. I had not heeded any of His words. I had not felt the urgency of His call. I had simply brushed off His words as my own wild imaginings, of voices I had made up in my head.

Since Tuesday's tragedy, I have never felt the hand of God so heavily upon my sinful nature as now, rightly judging my frivolity, my pride, my apathy. I have never felt the Words of the Bible sear my soul as now, spurring me on to good works in Christ Jesus. I have never felt the urgency of the Kingdom of God and the mandate 'the fields are white for harvest' as now. I have never felt the presence of a powerful and yet merciful King as now. He, indeed, reigns on high. He will be exalted in all the earth!

God is setting us apart, Christians. He is setting the stage for a mighty work. And we, like Moses before the burning bush, must take off our sandals, because God is making this holy ground.

God is in the process, as never before, of exalting every valley and making every hill low. He is straightening out the crooked roads. He is making the rough places smooth. This applies to our nation and to our own hearts. God is re-establishing His balance of justice, correcting our priorities.

Several days ago, I woke up in the middle of the night with a spirit of fear hanging over my head. I couldn't sleep, because my heart was pounding, so I prayed. But I struggled to stay awake, as the disciples likewise fought to keep watch while the Lord Jesus awaited death on the Cross. Prayer at this hour was so imperative that God would not let any sleep befall me. So I prayed more, for a total of a half an hour, until the peace of Christ returned.

The next day, I learned that several others in my office had also been woken up by the Lord to pray for our nation. Who knows how many more were praying that night? Ten? Twenty? A thousand? And who knows how those prayers redirected the course for our nation? Only God knows. But we do know that ultimately it is that kind of prayer that changes the course of history. It is that kind of fervent prayer that turns back our enemies. It is that kind of action on the part of Believers that will bring a revival -- not of our pocketbooks, not of our lips, not of our government, but ultimately a revival of our hearts and souls.

I pray that God would show you and I how to live in this season to His glory. And I pray that we would be ever tuned in to what He says, however foolish it may sound at the time. We do not know what tomorrow shall bring.

In the meantime, I know that He will give us the words to say. He will bring us comfort so that we can comfort those who mourn. He will be, as He has always been, our strong tower, our refuge, our strength, and our fortress. He can be trusted, because He is a good Father. Though we may not understand it all, God is with us. He will never leave us nor forsake us.

Now go and do the work God has called you to in all fervor and humility.

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