Posts tagged ‘Listen’

He’s Knocking

“Look! I stand at the door and knock. If you hear my voice and open the door, I will come in, and we will share a meal together as friends.”   Revelation 3:20

Every Christmas Eve my grandparents came to our house for dinner and then we would open the gifts they brought with them. Those are the only gifts we opened on Christmas Eve, but this only heightened my anticipation for the evening. I would sit in our living room waiting to hear for their knock at the front door. There was something warm and cozy about those nights. The meal, the conversations, the gifts, the love all came together to make me feel that life is safe and filled with joy. 

Every time I read Revelation 3:20, I am comforted by the visual of Him knocking on MY door, wanting to share a meal with me so He can talk with me and share with me. The really cool thing is that He always brings a gift for me – one that I need at that moment. Sometimes it is a word of encouragement. Other times it is a reminder that I am His child with citizenship in His Kingdom. And then there are the times He points out what I am doing wrong and how I can correct it. But no matter what, He always has the gift of salvation for me.

My problem is that there are too many times I am so busy with life or wrapped up in my own thoughts and troubles that I do not hear His knock. I worry about my schedule or my health or what others are thinking of me or my next project that needs to be completed. I get so consumed with the busyness of life that too many times I am not listening for the knock of Jesus. And I ask myself why I anticipated the presence, conversation and gifts from my grandparents once a year more than I anticipate the presence, conversation, and gifts from Jesus every day. I eagerly awaited the knock from my grandparents. I always heard it and answered the door. 

Why do we so often not hear the knock from Jesus? What does it look like for us to wait for Jesus? What does it look like to listen for His knock on our heart’s door? As I think of my experiences on Christmas Eve each year, I realize I need to focus on the door! I need to listen for the knock.

I find myself listening for His knock when I truly want to eat with Him. And so I find that He knocks as I read the Word and pray. That it seems an obvious time to hear His knock. But I have found that He also knocks throughout the rest of my day if I am listening. He knocks as I see a homeless person on the street, during a conversation with a critic, at a board meeting when tensions are high, and during a crucial conversation with a friend. When I answer the door, Jesus always has just the gift I need for that situation. And then I wonder why I don’t listen for His knock ALL the time!

How do you look and listen for Jesus in your life? What can you do each day to optimize your awareness of Jesus at your door? What does sharing a supper with Jesus look like for you? 

 

Have You Placed God in a Box?

But Josiah refused to listen to Neco, to whom God had indeed spoken, and he would not turn back. Instead, he disguised himself and led his army into battle on the plain of Megiddo.  2 Chronicles 35:2

King Josiah of Judah had just completed the restoration of God’s Temple when he heard that King Neco of Egypt was coming to do battle at Carchemish on the Euphrates River. Josiah was threatened by this action and was determined to fight Neco’s army. The problem with Josiah’s plan was that God had told Neco to do battle at Carchemish with no plans to attack Judah. Josiah did not believe Neco and he did not check with God regarding this issue. I suppose Josiah assumed that God would not talk with foreign kings. This is a sad story because Josiah attacked Neco’s army and lost his life in the process.

It is easy to get caught in the trap of thinking God only speaks to me or to people who believe like me. This approach to life is easier because I don’t have to take the time to listen to others who disagree with me, or understand their points of view. And I don’t have to inquire of God as to the validity of their arguments and whether or not they have something to teach me. But when I judge a person’s ability to hear from God based upon their race, gender, sexual orientation, nationality, or even their religion, then I am putting limits on God. And when I put limits on God, I am the one who suffers. If King Josiah, who listened to God and did His will, could die because he refused to believe that Neco could hear from God, then I can too.

I have discovered that my physical health is intimately connected with my spiritual health. And in the process of finding the best path forward, God has spoken to me through a Christian nurse, a Hindu medical doctor, a Christian naturopathic doctor, and an atheist who is seeking balance and healing in his life. I am thankful that God speaks to ALL of us. I am challenged by a God who cannot be placed into a sectarian box. Because I know God speaks to people I tend to disregard because of their beliefs or lifestyle choices, I am challenged to seek God with all my heart, mind, and soul. My connection with God is the only way I can know when He is speaking directly to me through others, no matter who they are.

I am thankful for the insights I have received from God’s eclectic set of messengers over the past several weeks. Without them, I would probably still have feelings of hopelessness and be without a plan that puts me on the path to wellness. With them, I am filled with optimism and courage about the future, and I have a solid plan to attain wholeness and wellness again. I have also made new friends who may be receiving a message from God through me! But I will leave that process to God. I have enough to worry about in my own life.

Have you placed God in a box? Do you limit His access to you by refusing to listen to certain people because of your own biases? Listen to those who come across your path this week for God’s voice. You may be surprised who He sends your way!

 

Are You Listening?

But then I will win her back once again. I will lead her into the desert and speak tenderly to her there.  Hosea 2:14

It seems as though Israel was in a constant state of rebellion as we read the Old Testament. They were constantly seeking the gods of the people all around them. For some reason they preferred to worship idols much of the time rather than the living God. I don’t know about you, but I can understand that. The idols may be different today, but the struggle is the same – will we worship God or the things of this earth?

I take comfort in the fact that God constantly takes me back to where I need to be, no matter how many times I stray from His side. That’s the point of Hosea. God never gives up on you and me. When He gets our attention, He often takes us back to the desert where He wrote His law on tablets of stone. We think of the law as being a set of rules. We don’t see the love there. But as we read in Hosea 2:14, God tenderly speaks to us in the desert, in His law.

Consider what God said when He gave the law to Israel, “I am the Lord your God, who rescued you from the land of Egypt, the place of your slavery.” (Exodus 20:1)  That was not a promise, it was a reality. And it can be a reality for each one of us today. There may be nothing more comforting to know than this fact: God pursues you and loves you even when you are sinning. He wants to rescue you. So, what consumes your thoughts throughout the day? What do you fear? What is your addiction? What is the thing you struggle with most? The list is long. It includes things like money, power, position, recognition, attention, sex, to name just a few. 

Today, God promises to take you to the desert, to speak to you through His Word, through other people, through circumstances of life, and through the Holy Spirit. God never gives up on you. He is constantly wooing you, seeking you, calling you, desiring you, and inviting you to the wilderness with Him. It’s kind of like a date with that one special person in your life. God wants to be alone with you and speak to you tenderly. Are you listening? Will you accept His offer today to be alone with Him, away from the distractions of the world? Give yourself a chance to get away from your fears and listen to God. He has something amazing to tell you. It’s the same thing He told the Israelites in there desert place, “You must not have any other god before Me.” (Exodus 20:2) I want to take Him up on His offer. What about you?

Is God Listening?

I love the Lord because he hears my voice… Psalm 116:1

There may be no greater gift than the gift of listening. The word listen is derived from two Anglo-Saxon words. One is “hlystan,” which means “hearing.” The other is “hlosnian,” which means “to wait in suspense.” Listening is a combination of not only hearing what the other person has to say, but an intense psychological involvement with each other. True listening binds hearts together. But listening is a two-way street. If I’m sharing out of a sense of superiority, arrogance, or pride, then I am only speaking and I hear no one but myself. There is no connection with the heart of the other person. True communication always involves listening, even when I am the one speaking.  

Have you ever failed to recognize when someone is actually listening to you? How could that be possible? Psalm 115:4-7 tells us the problem just might be the idols we construct. We make idols with our own hands. The problem is that these idols cannot speak, cannot hear, and cannot feel. We then read in verse 8 of Psalm 115, “And those who make idols are just like them, as are all who trust in them.” There’s the reason I can’t recognize when God, and often even those around me are actually listening to me. When I worship my works, my plans, my desires, my wealth, my talents, then these are the idols I have made that will ultimately isolate me. And the only one I will hear is myself.

Is your love for God wavering? If so, perhaps you don’t realize that He is listening to you. Perhaps you are doing all the talking. Perhaps you have made idols that do not speak or hear or feel. We all have times when we doubt God is listening. Sometimes we feel to dirty, too sinful, or too inadequate. But God is there. He is listening. When we seek Him, talk with Him, and take the time to listen to Him, we will know that we have been heard. What would it look like for you to say with the Psalmist, “I love the Lord because he hears my voice.”?

 

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