Make Note of God’s Voice in Sunday Morning Sermons

     I am a notetaker. This skill began in high school, was developed during college lectures, and refined as a journalist. In my role as author, some article interviews were recorded if I needed specific quotes. However, I became skilled at capturing details on a notepad when writing for a community newspaper published by Feather Publishing, my employer for 19 years. Without this skill, I would have to spend hours transcribing meeting tapes, a tedious task.

     Although I no longer work for the newspaper, notetaking continues to be valuable as I make time for online classes and conference workshops to learn new writing techniques and venture into the world of book publishing.

     Yet the greatest blessing of gathering notes is the voice of God found within the Scriptures taught each Sunday morning. I write the points I want to remember in journals designed for notetaking at church because I know if I don’t record them many will be lost. Sometimes I receive general direction, but other times God is specific. (Journals purchased from

     Feb. 27 my pastor continued teaching through the book of Mark. A point of discussion was Mark 7:6-7—”He answered and said to them, “Well did Isaiah prophesy of you hypocrites, as it is written: ‘This people honors Me with their lips, But their heart is far from Me. And in vain they worship Me, Teaching as doctrines the commandments of men.’” NKJV

     Jesus is speaking to the Scribes and Pharisees who were trusted to teach the Word of God. When we don’t read and apply Scripture correctly it fails to produce the results God intends. Its purpose is to slice away all that is not of God, so we are changed by His instruction. We become the person He designed.

     Hebrews 4:12—”For the word of God is living and powerful, and sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing even to the division of soul and spirit, and of joints and marrow, and is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart.” NKJV

     The teaching prompts me to think about commandments of men versus commandments of God. And it is not always in the words found on paper, those “do and don’t” Scriptures, but direction given by God according to His Word. Answers come in a variety of ways—while completing pages of a Bible study; listening to a teaching; praying; during early morning devotions.

This Sunday the Lord is instructing me to be careful. Watch the counsel I receive and make sure it is from Him and not mankind. There is not a specific situation named.

The COVID vaccine is a good example. We are instructed to get one by government officials, but I wanted God to tell me whether it was right for me as a survivor of cancer. I asked God in the beginning to direct me, to give me clarity on whether to be vaccinated. In August, my brother became highly stressed when a good friend was hospitalized with COVID and nearly lost his life. At that time the Lord gave me the Scripture 1 Cor 8:9 “But take care that this right of yours does not somehow become a stumbling block to the weak.” ESV. I went to be vaccinated Aug. 15, the day before my brother’s birthday. When I gave him a small gift, he said the fact I was vaccinated was the only present he needed.

     Now, I am eligible for a booster but am not convinced it is a good decision considering my medical history. Thus, I am covering it in prayer. I hear the shots may be damaging to cells and would like to see a few reports from studies. God healed me from Lymphoma but during the time of my cancer He instructed me not to eat sugar. And in line with that, I quit coloring my hair not wanting toxic chemicals on my scalp. I switched to Burt’s Bees makeup and consistently flush my body with lemon water.

     Often directives given by mankind are harmless and might even seem good. Yet before responding, we should pause and seek God’s counsel. The answer may come during the Sunday sermon. But even if it doesn’t, God will surely teach you. Make note of it.

Considering Your Ways:

1-Do you seek God’s counsel when deciding? I mean really seek an answer, waiting until you hear God’s voice? Keep a notebook at church, for your answer could come during a sermon.

2-Think back over the past month. Have you made any major (or minor) decisions apart from God? Who was your counselor?

Expect God to Speak

During church, Christian conferences, and Bible studies I always seek
a word from the Lord. These times I expect Him to speak to me. At a
recent conference, “Beautiful,” I was not disappointed. The messages reinforced
and built on what God has been teaching through the Dixie Fire, which has
been burning for two months.

The mural projected onto the walls of the sanctuary where we met, provided
one. It was a forest with lush green undergrowth, a familiar landscape when
summer began in the mountains where I live. In the mural, a woman walked
along a trail in solitude. Whenever I stay at a conference center designed for
such gatherings, I notice how little alcoves with benches have been built, and
small tables with a few chairs placed next to gurgling water providing
opportunity to step away for quiet time with the Lord. Manmade places of
solitude. Back home I would marvel that God had placed me in the woods
where I only needed to step out the backdoor.

But the fire burned hot and many of those treasured, natural places were
destroyed. Yet at the conference, the speaker, Jean McClure, taught from
Psalm 46 during one session and as she read the first sentence of the
scripture I was once again reminded that God alone is my refuge. He reminds
me of this when I become dismayed by the burned trees.

“God is our refuge and strength, always ready to help in times of trouble.”
Psalm 46:1 NLT

“How did David get to the point that He would not fear? He had learned
to tuck himself into the Lord,” said Jean.

I had learned a lot about “tucking” during my cancer treatment and during
every tribulation I have become better. How about you? Do you ever tuck
yourself into the Lord? He is our refuge. Places of solitude are fleeting,
lasting only a short time.

This was not the only message God had for me during the conference. I
wrote: “Jesus carried on His back the cross of Calvary to save millions
from the fires of hell.” That comment stuck. Earlier Jean had taught about
the beauty of people coming to Christ and how we should look for
opportunities to tell people about Jesus. The burned trees will now remind
me that millions are in danger of the fires of hell. When wildfire destroys a
forest, it provides a perfect picture of life apart from Jesus.

In the book of 1 Samuel, Eli the priest instructs the boy Samuel to say
“Speak, Lord, your servant is listening” if he hears his name called while
sleeping in the Tabernacle near the Ark of God. As a Christian I am the
temple of the Holy Spirit so I too dwell in the presence of the Lord.
Therefore, the Lord can speak at any time. As I mentioned, I expect to hear
His voice when I am focused on a message. But Samuel was surprised.
I want to go about my day expectant. I want to walk as a
listening servant with a heart attitude of “speak.”

Contemplate Your Ways:

1-Is your ear always tuned to hear God’s voice? How does God speak
to you? What has He told you lately?
2-Where do you hear God’s voice most frequently? Why do you think
this is so?