Showing posts with the label Listen

Was that in there?

...if my people who are called by my name become humble and pray, and look for me, and turn away from their evil ways, then I will hear them from heaven. I will forgive their sin and heal their land. (2 Chronicles 7:14) If my people - notice that God doesn't say 'when', but 'if'. There is a condition - we must make the first move when it comes to repentance. This message isn't written to those who don't already have a relationship with him - it is written to those 'called by his name'. These are believers who obviously have grown cold, a little too apathetic and indifferent. This is where we find ourselves whenever we allow our focus to become clouded by the things of this world - coldness drifts in, hunger begins to be fulfilled by something other than his presence. If we want to 'come back' from wherever it is we have drifted, it begins by humbling ourselves and asking for his help to return! Humble yourself, pray, and look for him - these

Are we there yet?

If you need wisdom, ask our generous God, and he will give it to you. He will not rebuke you for asking. But when you ask him, be sure that your faith is in God alone. Do not waver, for a person with divided loyalty is as unsettled as a wave of the sea that is blown and tossed by the wind. Such people should not expect to receive anything from the Lord. Their loyalty is divided between God and the world, and they are unstable in everything they do. (James 1:5-8) We are reminded in Proverbs 3:5-7 to "Trust in the Lord with all your heart; do not depend on your own understanding. Seek his will in all you do, and he will show you which path to take." As we all have varying backgrounds, we likely approach life's challenges in various ways. We might just find ourselves turning to this world's wisdom first, then when it doesn't do what we hoped it would do, we turn to God. As long as we rely upon the wisdom the world offers, we will be limited in our perception of th

The movement God requires

The Lord is my shepherd; I have all that I need. (Psalm 23:1) Take note, it is all we NEED, not all we WANT. We might want things that aren't always all that beneficial for us to have, but God knows what we NEED and he always works things to meet those needs. John reminds us, "My sheep listen to my voice; I know them, and they follow me." (10:27) Whose voice do you hear most - God's or your own? Who we listen to the most might just be the factor in what it is we pursue! Sheep know the voice of the Shepherd. It is how sheep know how to follow THEIR shepherd and not wander away with just 'any old shepherd' who calls for them to come their way. Sheep might 'intermingle' while grazing in the field, but when they hear the voice of their master, they know when it is time to separate and go where he leads. We might 'intermingle' a bit with this world and hear all the voices calling to us to 'come', but there is only one voice we are actually &

Listen and Believe

Are you able to listen when there are multiple distractions? I have difficulties 'filtering' out sound, conversations, or music lyrics when I am really trying to concentrate. I was never one of those students who could study with the most popular band's music blaring from the stereo in the background. I also know I don't do well where there are multiple distractions. My desk faces the wall, not the window. My computer desk is free of papers and the like because it would just distract me during my quiet time each morning. When I travel, I find a quiet spot, take my coffee and sit a while with God, listening as he shows me things in the scripture. Remove the distractions and we might just find ourselves able to 'listen to the message' God wants to bring into our lives today. “I tell you the truth, those who listen to my message and believe in God who sent me have eternal life. They will never be condemned for their sins, but they have already passed from death int

In that quiet place...

Be alert and think straight. Put all your hope in how kind God will be to you when Jesus Christ appears. Behave like obedient children . Don’t let your lives be controlled by your desires, as they used to be. Always live as God’s holy people should, because God is the one who chose you, and he is holy. That’s why the Scriptures say, “I am the holy God, and you must be holy too.” (I Peter 1:13-16 CEV) In medical assessment, a patient who is less alert than their baseline assessment had been at a previous point might be under the untoward influence of a sedative, or perhaps have suffered a life-altering event such as stroke or bleed into their brain. To be alert, one is to be fully awake and able to direct full attention toward something. If someone is awake, but drifts easily back to sleep, without being able to focus or concentrate on what you are asking them to do, we begin to look for causes of this "drift" in attentiveness and alertness. It is this "alertness"

Inner Rest

  If you wake me each morning with the sound of your loving voice,  I’ll go to sleep each night trusting in you.  Point out the road I must travel;   I’m all ears, all eyes before you.  Save me from my enemies,   God — you’re my only hope!  Teach me how to live to please you,   because you’re my God.  Lead me by your blessed Spirit   into cleared and level pastureland. (Psalm 143:8-10) The sound of God's voice - do you know what that is? Do you recognize his still small voice? When we learn to recognize God's voice, there is a certain sense of peace that settles into our hearts. We begin to 'operate' on a different level because we know his guidance will establish our path. All God asks of each of us is that we be 'all ears' when it comes to his voice, and 'closed ears' when it comes to listening to the voice of temptation or evil.  God's greatest delight is for us to desire to live in a manner that pleases him - allowing him to help us through diffi

Bring God In

This is God’s Message, the God who made earth, made it livable and lasting, known everywhere as God: ‘Call to me and I will answer you. I’ll tell you marvelous and wondrous things that you could never figure out on your own.’ (Jeremiah 33:2-3) Why does God, the one who made all things and knows all things, require us to ask for whatever it is we need or want? To be required to ask when he knows already seems kind of foolish on the surface, but if you stop to consider what "asking" entails, you may come to a revelation of the true purpose of asking. Asking requires us to humble ourselves, not to mention allowing for time to bring a clarification of our wants and needs. Have you ever sought one thing, only to find when you received it the "thing" did not do for you whatever you hoped it would? I realized just how much I didn't really need what I asked for - it was just something to "fill space" in my life, but that "space" really should hav

Are the plans changing again?

  For I know the plans I have for you,” says the  Lord . “They are plans for good and not for disaster, to give you a future and a hope. In those days when you pray, I will listen. If you look for me wholeheartedly, you will find me. (Jeremiah 29:11-13) There are seasons in our lives where 'planning' is just not possible. We call those crisis times. In those moments, we react to the current needs, forgetting all about plans we may have made or plans we'd like to make. Why? Our attention is required in the present moment. It is good to know that even when we are not able to 'plan' or 'work the plan' we have made, God remains fully in control of our lives. His plan is being worked, even when ours may have had to go on hold for a bit! As we move from crisis moment to 'normal routine' again, we may assume the plans we had made, but it is quite possible our plans were altered by the crisis. Why? The crisis made something clearer, rearranged our priorities

A favorable wind

If one does not know to which port one is sailing, no wind is favorable. (Lucius Annaeus Seneca) Trust God from the bottom of your heart; don’t try to figure out everything on your own. Listen for God’s voice in everything you do, everywhere you go; he’s the one who will keep you on track. Don’t assume that you know it all. Run to God! Run from evil! Your body will glow with health, your very bones will vibrate with life! Honor God with everything you own; give him the first and the best. Your barns will burst, your wine vats will brim over. But don’t, dear friend, resent God’s discipline; don’t sulk under his loving correction. It’s the child he loves that God corrects; a father’s delight is behind all this. (Proverbs 3:5-12) I have been guilty of 'setting out' before considering the 'destination' - how about you? We might do this more often than we think. It may not be us setting out for a physical destination as much as going places in our minds we should not be goin

Reasoning and Will

Everyone enjoys giving good advice, and how wonderful it is to be able to say the right thing at the right time! (Proverbs 15:23) I don't know about you, but 'giving' advice is much easier for me than 'heeding' it when someone else gives it to me. I want to think it through, mull it over, and determine 'if' I should actually take it to heart. I have had appliance repairmen tell me not to buy 'X' appliances, only to find those who own them say they are the most dependable appliances they have had. Whose advice do I rely upon - the one who made the purchase and uses the device, or the one who comes along when things don't function as they should? If the one purchasing is also the one who is responsible to maintain what is purchased, I might just rely upon their 'advice' a little more! Why? The one paying the price is also the one having to do what it takes to keep things running as they should. Jesus paid the price for the sins of this worl

Awake again?

God called again, “Samuel!”—the third time! Yet again Samuel got up and went to Eli, “Yes? I heard you call me. Here I am.” That’s when it dawned on Eli that God was calling the boy. So Eli directed Samuel, “Go back and lie down. If the voice calls again, say, ‘Speak, God. I’m your servant, ready to listen.’” Samuel returned to his bed. Then God came and stood before him exactly as before, calling out, “Samuel! Samuel!” Samuel answered, “Speak. I’m your servant, ready to listen.” (I Samuel 3:8-9) Samuel is eager to respond to the voice he hears. Why? He was simply trying to fulfill his everyday tasks, ready to learn what he could as he went about his routine in the temple, in service to the priests. Sometimes we get a little confused as to what we are to do with what it is we are hearing - we think we hear one thing, but could it really be something else? There are probably many times we hear God's voice, but because we aren't sure of the source, we go to what is familiar to us there...yeah, you!

Then God came and stood before him exactly as before, calling out, “Samuel! Samuel!” Samuel answered, “Speak. I’m your servant, ready to listen.” (I Samuel 3:10) Wisdom dictates we listen more than we speak - but I have to honestly tell you I don't always do well with that one requirement. Listening is an art - learned not because we really want to learn it, but because if we don't learn how to listen, we will eventually get life pretty much as we like it, but we might just be the only ones left in the picture once we do! I suspect there is much to this listening "art" which many of us have yet to perfect. In fact, learning this "art" of listening requires we not only learn how to "tune into" the voice we hear, but we learn to "recognize" the voice we are hearing. I think many of us hear those "voices" in our heads - hopefully not too many of them - but we don't always know which one is the one we should be listening to.

Engage with me

We aim above the mark to hit the mark. (Ralph Waldo Emerson) Make it your goal to live a quiet life, minding your own business and working with your hands, just as we instructed you before. Then people who are not believers will respect the way you live... (I Thessalonians 4:11-12) Knowing where we are aiming is important, because our aim determines our course. We don't walk with an aim in front of us and then walk backwards. We set one foot in front of the other, hopefully in the direction of our target. Living a 'quiet life' is not having our head in the sand all of the time. We must engage in life, but in a respectful, peaceful, and kind manner. Christ didn't stick his head in the sand, avoiding all the tough issues, but rather he confronted them with a positive example, loving attitude, and kindness of heart that drew people to him. A 'quiet life' isn't a 'sheltered' life - one in which we withdraw from what is happening around us. In fact, accor

Hearing? or Listening to Learn?

The greater our knowledge increases the more our ignorance unfolds. (John F. Kennedy) The mind of a person with understanding gets knowledge; the wise person listens to learn more. (Proverbs 18:15) I would like us to consider if we are listening to just 'hear', or are we listening to 'learn more'? The first option is a very common occurrence in society today - someone talks, we listen, but do we really hear their heart, understand their turmoil, or experience their grief? When we listen to 'learn more' there is an investment of ourselves in the life of the one we are actually 'hearing'.  God wants to be the first person we listen to 'learn more' from in this walk we undertake each day with him. He also wants us to develop this sense of 'learning more' when we engage with others who come across our path each day. It is good to hear but hearing alone doesn't really require that much effort. We get 'knowledge' as we hear, but we, listen

But now that you’ve found you don’t have to listen to sin tell you what to do and have discovered the delight of listening to God telling you, what a surprise! A whole, healed, put-together life right now, with more and more of life on the way ! Work hard for sin your whole life and your pension is death. But God’s gift is real life, eternal life, delivered by Jesus, our Master. (Romans 6:23) Stephen Covey was the one to remind us of the importance of listening to understand, not as so many of us do by listening with the eager intent to reply. God isn't looking for 'replies' as much as he is looking for us to make right life choices because we listened. I don't know about you, but I listen a whole lot of the time with the intent of replying, asking questions, getting answers. I don't listen as frequently with the intention of doing what I am asked to do! It is very important for us to recognize the one who is actually speaking to us. I have lived over six decades no

Tossing and Turning

You’ve kept track of my every toss and turn through the sleepless nights, each tear entered in your ledger, each ache written in your book. (Psalm 56:8) As I grow a bit older each year, I notice new 'aches and pains' that weren't there a few years back. I hear the creak and crackle of the joints. I don't sleep all the way through the night anymore and find I toss and turn a bit too much at times. It is good to know God isn't unaware of these changes - in fact, he is tracking them probably more than we are! Sleepless nights aren't very frequent for me. In fact, I usually find it easy to get to sleep - it is falling back to sleep after I have awakened in the wee hours of the morning that is harder. I have noticed it is often in these times of being awake and 'tossing about' a bit that God speaks to me. He not only shows me things I need to address in my life, but it is amazing how he will spark a creative idea or help me 'fix' a problem I have b

Seeing and Hearing

Ears that hear and eyes that see—we get our basic equipment from God! (Proverbs 20:12) If you have ever looked into buying some new appliance, a new car, or even a new home built to your specifications, you probably have had to consider just how many "bells and whistles" you wanted (or could afford within your budget). The basic model comes with just the minimums - the more you add, the more the costs add up. The $799 "deal" you saw advertised becomes $1599 because you just could not imagine life without the extra spin cycles, steam feature, and the automatic sensor for this or that! Sometimes we find the "extra" stuff we just "had to have" gives us more headaches than they are worth in the end! The "basic equipment" given to us by God are ears that hear and eyes that see. We take the "basics" for granted, focusing more on the "bells and whistles" we'd want to have, don't we? Whenever I hear someone say

Holy Spirit Come

Post a guard at my mouth, God, set a watch at the door of my lips. (Psalm 141:3) Before thermometers were a common thing in every medicine cabinet, parents used to "test" their children for fever by placing their lips on the forehead of the child. It seemed like an odd way to do it since we have seen people repeatedly use their hands laid across the forehead to "evaluate" the feverishness of another. Using one's lips to judge 'fever' was a pretty doggone accurate process! More accurate than the hand. The lips have a great many "sensitivity" receptors which allow them to be pretty accurate at interpreting what touches them. The "sensitivity" receptors of our lips should actually work both ways - affected by what leaves our mouths, and by what touches it! Maybe this is why our psalmist prayed for God to post a guard at his mouth - the entry and exit point for many a good or bad thing in his life! He is actually probably asking God

Listen and take action

I will be the first to admit - I listen some of the time, but not all of it. I tune out at times - not because I don't care, but because I daydream a bit. I find myself looking at the condition of something in the yard and then begin to consider how much work it will take to get those beds turned over and ready for planting. I catch a glance of the dust collecting on the edge of a bookcase shelf and consider my cleaning chores as unfinished, making a mental note to add those to the weekend warrior tasks. Most of the time we 'catch up' with the conversation as we tune back in, but not always. We all do it - we get distracted all while we are supposed to really be listening to someone right there in front of us. If that 'someone' is God, that lack of attentiveness to what he is telling us might just cost us in the end! Don’t fool yourself into thinking that you are a listener when you are anything but, letting the Word go in one ear and out the other. Act on what you

I am asking this again...

“Here’s another way to put it: You’re here to be light, bringing out the God-colors in the world. God is not a secret to be kept. We’re going public with this, as public as a city on a hill. If I make you light-bearers, you don’t think I’m going to hide you under a bucket, do you? I’m putting you on a light stand. Now that I’ve put you there on a hilltop, on a light stand—shine! Keep open house; be generous with your lives. By opening up to others, you’ll prompt people to open up with God, this generous Father in heaven." (Matthew 5:14, 16) I like how Jesus wasn't afraid to break it down for his disciples. It gives me hope when I have to admit to God that I don't understand a particular lesson he is teaching me. The truth is that if these disciples who were right there at the feet of Jesus when he was teaching them face-to-face in real-time presence were struggling to 'get' some of the truths Jesus was sharing with them, then why will it be any different for us? We