OBSERVATION "Please listen to me!" God pleaded with Israel to listen, but Israel ignored him.
INSPIRATION You and I live in a loud world. To get some one's attention is no easy task. He must be willing to set everything aside to listen; turn down the radio, turn away from the monitor, turn the corner of the page and set down the book. When someone is willing to silence everything else so he can hear us clearly, it is a privilege, indeed.
So John's message is critical. You can talk to God because God listens. Your voice matters in heaven. He takes you very seriously. When you enter his presence, the attention turn to you to hear your voice. No need to fear that you will be ignored. Even if you stammer or stumble, even if what you have to say impresses no one, it impresses God--and he listens. He listens to the painful plea of the elderly in the rest home. He listens to the gruff confession of the death-row inmate. When the alcoholic begs for mercy, when the spouse seeks guidance, when the businessman steps off the street into the chapel, God listens.
Intently. Carefully. The prayers are honored as precious jewels. Purified and empowered, the words rise in a delightful fragrance to our Lord. "The smoke from the incense went up from the angel's hand to God" (Revelation 8:4). Incredible. Your words do not stop until they reach they very throne of God.
Then, the angel "Filled the incense pan with fire from the altar and threw it on the earth" (Revelation 8:5). One call and Heaven's fleet appears. Your prayers on earth activates God's power in heaven, and "God's will is done on earth as it is in heaven."
You are someone of God's kingdom. You have access to God's furnace. Your prayers move God to change the world. You may not understand the mystery of prayer. You don't need to. But this much is clear: Actions in heaven begin when someone prays on earth. What an amazing thought! (From The Great House of God by Max Lucado)
APPLICATION Do you take time to listen to God? What is God telling you to do? What is God asking you to change? The Israelites missed God's best for them when they failed to listen. Take time out of each day to study God's word and listen to his direction.
EXPLORATION Listen and Obey -- Exodus 15:26; Isaiah 65:12; Hosea 9:17;
SCRIPTURE "If you love me, you will obey my commands. I will ask the Father and he will you give you another Helper to be with you forever---the Spirit of truth. The world cannot accept him, because it does not see him or know him. But you know him, because he lives with you and he will be in you."
"I will not leave you alone like orphans; I will come back to you. In a little while the world will not see me anymore, but you will see me. Because I live, you will live too. On that day you will know that I am in the my Father, and that you are in me and I am in you. Those who know my commands and obey them are the ones who love me, and my Father will love those who love me. I will love them and will show myself to them." John 14:15-21
The Devotional Bible - Experiencing the Heart of Jesus; Max Lucado General Editor, New Century Version, Thomas Nelson Bibles