Learning to Listen in 3 Easy Steps

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I wrote this a few years back for the Internet Cafe, but my son reminded me of it last night. We got a good chuckle, so I thought I’d share it again with you here in its entirety. 

I’m a doer. You will usually find me folding laundry, loading the dishwasher, reorganizing the canned goods, or making sure my closet is color coded in order of the rainbow. I tell you this so you’ll know that sitting on the couch and ordering around the children isn’t the norm.

But that’s exactly what I was doing this particular day. I was sitting in our overstuffed chair, diet Coke by my side, with my feet perched just so when I realized my toes were cold. “Colin,” I called my son from upstairs. “Will you run to my room and grab me a pair of socks and toss them down?” Run, grab, toss. Simple instructions. Any eight-year-old could have done it.

A few minutes passed when I heard my son run the length of the hall and bound down the stairs. He got close enough to my chair and tossed. What landed in my lap, friends, was not socks. It wasn’t even anything in which I could wrap my feet to warm my tootsies.

My son tossed me a pair of panties. Panties! In what scenario would I be sitting in my overstuffed chair and decide I needed a new pair of under drawers? What was he thinking?

“Colin,” I started slowly, “What did I ask you to do?”

“Ummmm….” He started, having no clue.

Sometimes, I’m the same way with God. I know He is speaking, but I have no clue what He has asked me to do. Just so I don’t show up at the children’s shelter with sixty-four pair of Fruit-of-the-Loom, I need to be familiar with hearing Him speak.

How can we hear God?

1. Put yourself in front of Him.

We can do this by going to His Word and spending time in prayer. Enter His throne room. Look into His face.

If you want to hear from God, go to Him. Don’t call out for Him to speak and then expect Him to meet you in the aisles at Target. (Although, He can certainly find you wherever you are if He wants to get your attention bad enough.)

2. Reduce distractions.

Turn off the TV. Walk away from the computer. Leave your cell phone in another room and find a quiet place where you can talk openly to Him. Don’t do it in the shower – you’ll forget whether or not you’ve shampooed your hair. Just find time to be with your Heavenly Father while doing nothing else.

3. Be still and listen.

Be still, and know that I am God. (Psalm 46:10 NIV) Don’t spend so much time talking you forget to listen. God will show up. He will whisper to your soul in a way that only He can. But if you are too busy giving Him a run-down of your day and your problems, you might not hear Him.

God desires a relationship with us, one that goes both ways. He will speak if we are prepared to listen. Be sure you are ready. If you listen half-heartedly, you might be embarrassed when you show up in the den with panties.

*photo credit

Carol

Who is God?

Dog playing on Beach

Have you ever watched a dog show? Or even perhaps seen a hunter with his four-legged partner? I’m always in amazement of how the dogs are taught to heel and fetch, drop and stay with simple commands. If you’ve ever owned a dog, you understand the absolute wonder of this accomplishment.

I used to have a dog – a yellow lab. Labradors are known for their intelligence and are often used for hunting dogs. We tried teaching our dog to shake and speak on command. No luck. And as much as our sweet Comet loved running after whatever we threw in the yard – balls, Frisbees, sticks, toys – she would never return them. Instead, she’d run to a corner to chew on her prize for a while.

The problem wasn’t with our dog; it was with us.

Dogs who can obey on command are wonderful, but the real amazement should go to the trainers – those who can somehow turn obstinate into obedient.

We can all agree that dog trainers are awe-inspiring. Think about how that animal instructor stands in one spot and looks almost effortless as he calls a command or whistles. Now imagine if your doctor had that same trait. When you walk in his office with a sore throat, he doesn’t move from his chair and says, “It’s better.” You swallow and realize he is correct.

Wouldn’t that be amazing?

Or how about someone who could blink and cause the flowers to bloom or whose sigh could change the seasons.

There is someone who can do all of that.

God.

The further removed we are from the time when Jesus walked the earth, the more we convince ourselves the things of the Bible are fairy tales, and God is mundane. We throw His name around without reverence. See shoes you absolutely love? “Oh my God, I love those shoes!” or “Oh God, you scared me!”

May the Creator of the universe forgive us for tossing his name into our conversations like salt on fries. He is more than a condiment.

He is. That’s it. He simply is.

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Moses said to God, “Suppose I go to the Israelites and say to them, ‘The God of your fathers has sent me to you,’ and they ask me, ‘What is his name?’ Then what shall I tell them?”
God said to Moses, “I am who I am. This is what you are to say to the Israelites: ‘I am has sent me to you.’”

God also said to Moses, “Say to the Israelites, ‘The Lord, the God of your fathers—the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac and the God of Jacob—has sent me to you.’

“This is my name forever,
the name you shall call me
from generation to generation.” Exodus 3:13-15 NIV

In reading Matthew 8 about Jesus healing people, I almost glazed over the Almighty. I’ve been a Christian a long time. I’ve heard about, read about, watched puppet shows, made popsicle stick renditions of, and sang songs complete with hand motions of the miracles of Christ and the greatness of God.

But today, God stopped me. He slowed me down as I read, asking me to re-read the words.

When Jesus came into Peter’s house, he saw Peter’s mother-in-law lying in bed with a fever. He touched her hand and the fever left her, and she got up and began to wait on him.

When evening came, many who were demon-possessed were brought to him, and he drove out the spirits with a word and healed all the sick. Matthew 8:14-16 NIV

Jesus touched Peter’s mother-in-law and healed her. She felt well enough to immediately get up and cook Jesus and Peter some supper. Earlier that day, Jesus had been in the temple when a demon-possessed man came up to him. The Son of God cast out the demon from the man with a simple command – as simple as the dog trainer’s “fetch” or “leave it.” Jesus said, “Leave him” and the demon did. Word traveled fast, because after supper that night at Peter’s, all kinds of people needing healing started showing up.

And “with a word” Jesus healed all the sick. Do you truly comprehend the magnitude of that? The apple doesn’t fall far from the tree, because his father, God, created the entire universe with words.

Friends, it’s about time we stopped throwing God around like seasoning and recognized Him for the omnipotent, omnipresent, almighty GOD He is. He is the Alpha and Omega – the beginning and the end.

It’s time we showed a little reverence to the true King of Kings. Can I get an Amen?

*photo credit

Carol