Long ago God spoke many times and in many ways to our ancestors through the prophets. Hebrews 1:1 (NLT)
Much of the Old Testament was written through God's prophets. As His messengers, they relayed instructions, warnings and future predictions to anyone willing to accept the message.
But it isn't just their words that are beneficial to our spiritual growth and understanding of God today. We can learn many lessons from studying the lives of the prophets and the situations they overcame during their own walks of faith.
Samuel was still very young when God spoke to him the first time. Messages and visions from the Lord were uncommon in those days (1 Samuel 3:1), so it isn't unusual that Samuel didn't recognize God's voice or understand who was speaking to him. He had to learn to listen.
We too can learn to hear God speaking by paying attention and being ready to receive His words. Our Bethesda senior communities feature chapel spaces, and we host regular worship services and Bible studies. But while these community events are invaluable, they can't take the place of dedicated one-on-one time with God.
Setting up a spot to read and pray in your assisted living apartment is a great way to get started. Take your time as you read and involve God in your studies by sharing your thoughts with Him. Thank Him for His provisions and praise Him for the many wondrous things He has done. Ask Him questions, and then, look for answers while keeping yourself open to the Holy Spirit's prompting.
Jesus assures us in John 10 that His flock will know His voice and that He will personally lead them. The more we as Christians spend time getting to know Him, the easier it is for us to respond and follow after Him when He calls our name.
Life is filled with uncertainties, and it's easy to give in to anxiety and let worry consume us. However, God commands us over and over in the Bible not to worry, whether it's about our loved ones, health or finances.
In 2 Kings Chapter 6, Elisha's servant woke up one morning and found himself in a terrifying circumstance. An enemy army had surrounded the city during the night, seeking to kill the prophet. Understandably shaken, the servant didn't know what to do, but Elisha prayed for the man's eyes to be opened so that he could see God's mighty army protecting them both.
Seniors who have spent years following Christ can testify being a believer doesn't make you exempt from hardship, but rather, it means that we face those hardships with God on our side, providing us with strength, wisdom and peace.
One of the key things to experiencing this calm during stormy seasons is to remember that God's ways are not our ways (Isaiah 55:8-9) but that His ways are perfect (Deuteronomy 32:4) and they will ultimately lead to good for those that love Him (Romans 8:28).
It's important to remember our view and knowledge are limited like Elisha's servant. We can only see an incomplete picture of what is happening around us. In contrast, our infinite Father sees every detail of our lives and has us in His capable hands.
The Bible contains the stories of dozens of prophets from all walks of life across several centuries, but they all have one thing in common. They shared God's words with those around them. Jesus calls believers of all ages to do the same today.
Romans 10:14-15 NLT tells us: But how can they call on him to save them unless they believe in him? And how can they believe in him if they have never heard about him? And how can they hear about him unless someone tells them?
The apostle James writes in the second chapter of his letter that we need to do more than just pray and teach to truly care for people's needs. James reminds us to care for orphans and widows and to offer food and clothing to the poor.
In the story of the Shunammite woman (2 Kings 4:8-17), Elisha gives us an example of meeting the needs of individuals who seemingly have everything but are still missing some things. The account tells us the woman and her husband built a special room just for Elisha to rest in whenever he traveled through the area.
When Elisha tries to repay her, he is told that her family is wealthy and she doesn't need anything. He looks past this answer, taking the time to learn about her specific situation and promises her that God will give the couple a child. Her response reveals her longing for this very gift.
As you look for ways to share Jesus from your assisted living community, search for the specific needs of those around you and be bold like the prophets before you.
There are many ways to reach out in addition to the volunteer opportunities we host in our Bethesda Senior Living Communities, including organizing toy and food drives, writing encouraging letters to hospital and nursing home residents and praying for the sick.