Yesterday we discussed our general failure to listen. If we don’t listen, we don’t really know others and without knowledge of who people really are, we don’t really love them. We also don’t listen to God. The issues are a bit more complicated and the impact is more eternal.
“If you love Me, you will keep My commandments.” We don’t follow God’s rules; because we don’t listen to Him. It’s not that we don’t hear His commandments. We are very familiar with the rules. Because we don’t listen to the Rulemaker, we don’t know Him. We don’t, therefore, love Him. Therefore, we don’t obey Him.
It’s kind of like your Momma. You hate to hear her lecture you because you know and love her. You know she has your interests at heart. You know she wants the best for you. You know she’s right. You know she won’t take “no” for an answer.
Because God is a spirit; it is easier to do with Him what we do with other men. We don’t listen to them; we listen to others talk about them. So it is with God, rather than listening to Him, if we listen at all, we listen to others talk about Him. We don’t want to hear God. Once hearing His voice, how could we not obey. It’s far easier to discount men, even if we “know” they are speaking His truths.
Listen to your Momma. Let us get quiet in our spirits. Let us really listen for His voice. We may already “know” in our spirits what He wants to tell us. But let’s let the words come from Him. Maybe then we will head Him. Maybe now we will obey. Maybe finally we will
I have been a bit “drifty” this week. A few days ago OC used the same title for his devotional on consecutive days, “”Are You Ready to Be Offered.” My mind would not accept this, so I skipped the second day with that title. Therefore, all week I have been a day ahead of OC. I was even so arrogant as to wonder why the service which forwards the daily devotional was behind a day. Equally disturbing is no one seemed to notice. Is there anyone out there? This all comes from a lack of focus, not paying attention, not listening. I have the choice of trying to go back and make up the lost day or “fill in” one day. Tomorrow, OC will discuss the fact that we don’t listen to God. Obviously, I don’t even listen to other people. So I’ve decided to discuss that today and, hopefully, be back on track tomorrow.
I observe that most of us really don’t listen. That is tragic because each of us has an incredibly deep desire to be heard and an intense, and sadly accurate, feeling that no none is listening to us. Because of that great unfulfilled need, listening when actually done, is incredibly powerful. Our desire to control is so great that even in conversation, rather than listening to others, we are plotting our next statement in order to “take control” of the conversation. In fact, the one who is humble enough to listen gains complete control.
Try it today. Focus on the conversations you are involved in and REALLY LISTEN. Ask questions only if you really missed something. Respond only to confirm the accuracy of what you have heard. You will be amazed at the power that will come from such listening. People will share on a much more intimate level than ever before at the slightest indication that someone is actually listening. That inner deep desire to be heard will result in an outpouring of deep thoughts and emotions. A couple of times when I have done real listening, I have heard others comment how interesting I am to talk to, when in fact they have done all the talking.
That brings us to the real tragedy of our poor listening. Since we don’t listen we don’t really love. You see communication is the fuel of any relationship. To really love someone, we need to really know them and to really know them, we need to listen to them. If we’re not listening we’re not knowing and we’re not loving.
Listen to someone today and grow in love and blessing.
I have the honor of speaking to the Lafayette One Nation Under God group next week.
We will meet at the Public Library South on Johnston St, Lafayette, Monday, Feb. 15, 2010 at 6:30 PM. I will present “Re-establishing One Nation Under God – One person at a time”
Another presentation will be “The Secrets of the Federal Reserve – Detriment to America”
Please join us if you can.
Rosemary and I were discussing last night one of the problems of aging: loss of memory: Walking into a room and forgetting why I went there, being unable to bring to your lips the name of someone close.
Conversations at breakfast which I normally have with a group of friends of which I am the youngest, are often strange. Detailed discussions take place about mutual acquaintances, whose names are never mentioned, because none of our aging minds can remember the names, but we all know to whom we refer.
These little lapses of memory are normal; but forgetting our past can be spiritually deadly.
In a spiritual desert? It happens, that “feeling” that God is far away, that our prayers hit the ceiling and go no further, that Our Father, if He even exists, just doesn’t care.
We all have those moments. It becomes a great problem if we dwell in the desert and a momentary “feeling” can become a dry and hopeless way of life.
These moments are also “memory” problems and the solution to these desert moments is to remember.
“Remember Whose you are and Whom you serve. Provoke yourself by recollection, and your affection for God will increase tenfold; your imagination will not be starved any longer, but will be quick and enthusiastic, and your hope will be inexpressibly bright”
When things seem a bit dry, remember. Remember how He saved you. Remember how He’s never left you. Trace your history and recall His unending care and presence in your life.
Be not dry but blessed.
Once again OC comes up with a fascinating concept: the starvation of our imagination of God.
“The people of God in Isaiah’s day had starved their imagination by looking on the face of idols, and Isaiah made them look up at the heavens, that is, he made them begin to use their imagination aright.”
I wonder what OC would think of the state of imagination today. Looks like the movie “Avatar” will set records for attendance and sweep the Academy awards. It is without question the most “imaginative” movie I have ever seen. It is just the most recent and most dramatic example of the state of imagination today. We are bombarded with imaginative images and concepts. I think that very avalanche has starved our individual imaginations and particularly our imagination of God. In our media intense world the need to imagine is virtually eliminated. Movies in 3D, video games and constant exposure to television replace individual imagination. The Art of Reading is dying. To read requires the application of imagination as our minds turns the printed word into self-created visions that make up the story line. We don’t do much of that anymore.
Starvation for the imagination of God is at an all time high. Isaiah’s solution was to turn the people’s eyes to the heavens. When we are bombarded with “creative” images, our thoughts and admiration flow to the creators of those images. We need to absorb the wonder of God’s creation to have our thoughts and admiration flow to the Creator of all.
“Nature to a saint is sacramental. If we are children of God, we have a tremendous treasure in Nature. In every wind that blows, in every night and day of the year, in every sign of the sky, in every blossoming and in every withering of the earth, there is a real coming of God to us if we will simply use our starved imagination to realize it.”
Remove yourself for a while from our stimulus rich artificial worlds. Get into God’s creation. Get outside. Walk on the “wild” side. Absorb his magnificent creation. Feed your imagination for God and
I slept like a log last night. I was completely exhausted. Sometime during the game I got a several inch long cut on my arm. It was a tough game. It will be useless to try to accomplish much today. I’m still too high. The Saints are the Champions of the world. It’s a “once-in-a-lifetime” experience and the exhaustion and exhilaration are intense and simultaneous.
It’s not a completely unknown feeling. It feels very much like the days after completing a Kairos weekend. That experience is also exhilarating and exhausting. There is a feeling of having been spiritually used up. And that is a good and appropriate thing. It is what we are created for. It’s our purpose after our salvation: to be completely used by God.
Recently after a period of great productivity in my life; I realized that the cycle of waking in the morning excited and motivated to get things done and the evenings feeling almost too tired to move, is the right and natural way of living.
But remember that it is crucial that exhaustion is part of a cycle of refreshment, pouring out, and exhaustion. A balance in our spiritual life is crucial. We need to work; but we need our times of refreshment. He saved and sanctified you in order to exhaust you. Be exhausted for God, but remember that your supply comes from Him. “All my fresh springs shall be in Thee.”
Work, be exhausted, spend time with Him, be refreshed and
We understand that sanctification is a process that begins when we are saved. But why is it a process? Why doesn’t God just make us instantaneously everything we are meant to be?
I am reminded of the court room exchange in the movie “A Few Good Men.” The young officer demands of the aged veteran officer: “I want the truth.” And he is told, “You can’t handle the truth.”
As to sanctification, we are not instantly ready for full sanctification: the cost is too great. “It will cost an intense narrowing of all our interests on earth, and an immense broadening of all our interests in God. Sanctification means intense concentration on God’s point of view.”
At salvation, we don’t surrender our free will, nor or we transported from the material, non-spiritual world in which we live. Although our eyes are opened when God saves us; our vision is still immature. In the process of sanctification, our interests increasingly match the interests of our God. It is a process which must move forward if we are to increasingly become the image of Christ.
How much sanctification are you prepared for? The better question may be: Are you ready for more sanctification today than you were yesterday?
Let us yield to God’s work of sanctification and let us
This little graphic is from the Walk to Emmaus web site. The Walk is similar to Cursillo. These are the ministries on which Kairos, the prison ministry is based.
After Jesus’ death and Resurrection, disciplines were walking to Emmaus, confused and dejected by the recent events and Jesus appeared along side them, walked with them initially unrecognized.
I was feeling a bit dejected last night. Kaydence’s father couldn’t fly in from offshore yesterday because of the weather; so we have her for at least one more day. That’s certainly not a bad thing; but I had plans for today. I was going to my Kairos meeting in Baton Rouge. We have painters coming on Monday and I have to do things to get ready. I’m suppose to meet someone. . . well you get the point. “Jesus, what are you doing. I have plans.”
That’s how it is with the feeling of dejection. It isn’t that Jesus isn’t there; it’s just that we don’t recognize Him. Today’s My Utmost for His Highest is so good and so deep, I just want to paste the whole thing here and send it on. In fact, that’s what I’ll do in edited form: “Anything that savours of dejection spiritually is always wrong. If depression and oppression visit me, I am to blame; God is not, nor is anyone else. Dejection springs from one of two sources – I have either satisfied a lust or I have not. Lust means – I must have it at once.” See what I mean. I can’t say it better than that. When Kaydence finally is picked up, I will miss her. What’s the rush?
Or how about this:
“The meaning of prayer is that we get hold of God, not of the answer.”We look for visions from heaven, for earthquakes and thunders of God’s power (the fact that we are dejected proves that we do), and we never dream that all the time God is in the commonplace things and people around us. If we will do the duty that lies nearest, we shall see Him. One of the most amazing revelations of God comes when we learn that it is in the commonplace things that the Deity of Jesus Christ is realized.”
I’m going to hang around here and spend a bit more time with my great grand. It’s the duty that lies nearest. They can have a meeting without me. (In fact now that I say it that doesn’t sound bad at all.)
Maybe God just isn’t acting right; that is He isn’t doing what you expected. Maybe, like the disciples walking to Emmaus, you expected Him to save Israel from the Romans and instead He got himself killed. Maybe He doesn’t seem to be answering your prayer. Maybe you’ve got some more time with a child. Just keep walking to Emmaus. He’s right there beside you, loving and caring and guiding. Look a little closer at the flowers along the road or the folks walking with you. He’s there alright. Look and you will see and you will