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Many in Jesus day including the religious leaders did not recognise Him; may our eyes be open to ‘see’ Him in our midst (Lk 24:31; Jn 1:10; Act 13:27).

A variety of conflicting and persuasive voices compete for our allegiance. Only one leads to life and victory, all the others lead away.  Jesus said, as His sheep we will recognise His voice (Jn 10:4,16). Do we intentionally hear and obey? It is then we will receive a “Well done, good and faithful servant” commendation (Mt 25:23). As God will reward, even a cup of cold water given in His name, this should encourage us to see and respond to genuine needs (Mt 10:42; 1 Tim 5:3; Tit 2:14). Often we don’t recognise these opportunities because of our selfish mindsets, or they come ‘disguised’ as hard work (Mt 25:34-45).

The Lord knows the hearts of all people and those who are His (2 Tim 2:19). Their names are recorded in “the Lamb’s Book of Life” and He promises to honour those who honour Him (1 Sam 2:30; Mt 10:32-33; Rev 3:5). As children of God we are secure ‘in Him’ (Jn 10:28,29). Recognise and live up to your inheritance in Christ – you were bought at a high price and now are a new creation (1 Cor 6:20; 2 Cor 5:17; 1 Pet 1:18,19).

There was unmistakable evidence that “These men had been with Jesus” (Act 4:13). His life had rubbed off onto them. When others observe my life do they recognise me as a Christ follower?

Today recognising the ‘voice’ of God is aided by reading the Scriptures and prayer. Have a sensitive heart to the Holy Spirit, be discerning to deal quickly and decisively with sin and wrong issues in your life, understanding the devil looks for a foothold or weak area to quickly attack and spread like yeast in

Pray for discernment to recognise God’s        voice as many voices will try to deceive

dough, seriously affecting your whole life (Gal 5:7,9; Eph 4:27; 1 Pet 5:8). One of the gifts of the Spirit for the benefit of the church is the ability to discern the different destructive spirits that seek to mislead people (1 Cor 12:8-10; 1 Jn 4:1).

It is crucial to understand that all we have is because of God’s mercy and grace. Of ourselves we can do nothing yet with Him we can do all He has called us to do (Jn 15:5; Phil 4:13). Let God raise you up, “Don’t praise yourself; let others do it” (Prov 25:27, 27:2; 2 Cor 10:12,18). Even when this happens don’t allow pride to creep in – it can have deadly consequences (Act 12:21-23). As we recognise His guiding and the ability He gives, our hearts should overflow in gratitude to Him (Gen 24:27; Deut 8:18; Prov 3:5,6).

Watch for, and encourage those who live out their faith in action (Prov 3:27; 1 Cor 16:18). It is right to acknowledge them with sincere appreciation for what they do – for the effort and time put in. This applies even if they have failed – rather than criticizing, bring encouragement by looking for and commenting on something good. The Bible says, “Do unto others as we would like done to us” (Lk 6:31).

A tree or a person is identified by the type of fruit produced. We need to be alert to discriminate between sincerity and hypocrisy. People can be deceived by what appears to be from God when it is in fact ‘a wolf in sheep’s clothing’ (Mt 7:15,16,20; 1 Jn 4:2,6).

See also: acknowledge, appreciation, discernment, golden rule, manners, respect, response, spiritual gifts.

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