Many of you know that I used to be in sales. I remember when I told my grandfather of my new career choice he had some words of advice for me. One of the most important things he told me was this: “Son, God gave you one mouth and two ears. Use them in proportion.” In other words, listen more than (twice as much as) you speak. That short but sage advice served me well through the years. Though I must admit that as I age I tend to bloviate more than I used to.
I think these wise words also apply to our prayer life. How often do we talk and talk, petition and interceed, without stopping to listen to what God has to say to us? I know for me the answer is too often.
Our Lord wants a personal relationship with each one of us. But how personal can it be if all of the conversations are one sided? How do we expect to hear the answers we seek if we don’t stop talking and listen to His reply?
Listen to Me, you who follow after righteousness,
You who seek the LORD:
Look to the rock from whichyou were hewn,
And to the hole of the pit from which you were dug.
Service in the Christian walk, just what is it? Oswald Chambers says “Service is the overflow which pours from a life filled with love and devotion.” If we think if it in those terms, service is anything we do out of pure love from our hearts. But the love must be a love of Jesus, not for the person we are helping or the service we are doing, from a heart that is totally devotes to him. It will then glorify and be reflective of Him. What an awesome goal: To be so in love with Christ that He motivates and is glorified in every single thing we do. And it ought to be the very goal we strive for.
37Jesus said unto him, Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind.
38This is the first and great commandment.
39And the second is like unto it, Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself.
40On these two commandments hang all the law and the prophets.
When I was a teenager there a popular song by Stevie Nicks that was called Tell Me Lies. Part of the chorus went something like ‘tell me lies, sweet little lies, tell me lies’. As best as I remember it, the song had a sublime, kind of seductive melody to it.
We have an enemy that will try these same tactics with us: Satan. He will try to, in a subtile way, whisper all kinds of doubts to us. He will try to talk you into staying home Sunday night and from mid-week services. “Oh, no on will miss you it you aren’t there. And besides you have so much to else to do”, are a few of his lines.
Thankfully we have another Voice to guide us, in the right and proper direction. Of course there is a small catch: We have to be willing to listen for and to that Voice. The Bible and prayer are direct lines to hear God Himself speaking to you.
John 10:27 My sheep hear my voice, and I know them, and they follow me:
It’s that time of year: Winter. And with the season comes lots of ‘fun’ stuff like sleet, snow, and ice. These things can make for just terrible, if not treacherous, driving and walking conditions. I’ve seen all kinds of things folks use to try to overcome the conditions: salt, kitty litter, sand, and other melting agents or items to put weight in a vehicle to give them better traction. And still many times the efforts are futile as pedestrians slip and vehicles spin their wheels.
Have you ever felt like that in your spiritual life, like you are just slipping and sliding along, spinning your wheels and getting nowhere for Jesus? I know I have. I’ve found when I feel this way there are a couple of things that I can do to give me some ‘traction’ and get me going again.
Pray- Nothing does the soul better than to get on your knees (or however you personally pray) and commune with our Lord. He already knows what’s going on in your life, what the problems are and the (possible) shortcomings that are causing them. But tell Him anyway; He loves you and wants to hear from you.
Take up arms- Put on the Whole Armor of God. How can we fight a fight that we aren’t armed for? We can’t. And make no mistake about it – we are in a spiritual war against a wily enemy.
Don’t forget your Sword- An unarmed soldier for God is about as good as a car with no tires. Pick up your Bible and put it to its good and proper use: Read it and obey what it says.
As I write this it is nearing the end of the day. Not just “another day” but today is my birthday (1-13). I would have to rate this as one of the best of the 42 I’ve had, too. I got some thoughtful gifts, some great, quality family time, several cheerful cards, and I got to spend the entire day today with my grandson. Yes, it was a very good birthday and I’m so blessed to have wonderful family and loved ones to help me celebrate it.
There’s another birthday I have coming up in a few months: My second birth. Of course without my physical birth my spiritual birth wouldn’t have been possible. But there is no cake or gifts, no parties or cards on the anniversary of that second birth. But like my first, physical birth I do have a certificate to seal it. Not at the county courthouse or church but in the Lamb’s Book of Life. And I thank God that I know that I know my name is written down in that Book.
When I was born into this world I began the count down to my death. When I knelt at that alter one Wednesday night during a revival at a little church in the Harveytown section of Huntington, WV, that death clock stopped. And the countdown to everlasting life with my Lord Jesus began. And I thank Him every day for all He did for me, though I deserved none of His mercy or sacrifice. He did it out of pure love.
John 3:3 Jesus answered and said unto him, Verily, verily, I say unto thee, Except a man be born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God.
I was reading something the other day that caught my thoughts. I can’t recall who the author was but it was someone from the 19th century who had written a hymn about a verse from Job.
How often do we stop to think what we are in the sight of God Almighty? And when we do, what is our answer? Oswald Chambers wrote that anyone who proclaimed that they were unworthy in God’s sight, of His mercy had grossly overstated the obvious (paraphrased). And how right Chambers was.
Our “good” compared to God’s holiness is as filthy rags. We can’t truly comprehend just how far from His standard we really are. And the lost person, if we can’t totally grasp this, is even further from understanding how very ungodly he is.
How blessed we are to have a Savior to give us the chance to right our fellowship with our Father! Each follower of Jesus Christ should contemplate just how to communicate this to our friends, family, and others we care about and meet. A good beginning might be to meditate upon the verse the author mentioned at the opening of this emal had in mind:
Job 40:4 Behold, I am vile; what shall I answer thee? I will lay mine hand upon my mouth.
[There are] many that say, Who will show us [any] good? LORD, lift thou upon us the light of thy countenance. Thou hast put gladness in my heart, more than in the time when their grain and their wine increased.
As the hart panteth after the water brooks, so my soul panteth after thee, O God. My soul thirsteth for God, for the living God.–O God, thou [art] my God; early will I seek thee: my soul thirsteth for thee, my flesh longeth for thee in a dry and thirsty land, where no water is.
I am the bread of life: he that cometh to me shall never hunger; and he that believeth on me shall never thirst.–Lord, evermore give us this bread.–Mary . . . sat at Jesus’ feet, and heard his word.–One [thing] have I desired of the LORD, that will I seek after; that I may dwell in the house of the LORD all the days of my life, to behold the beauty of the LORD, and to enquire in his temple.
Lu 10:42 Ps 4:6,7 Ps 42:1,2 63:1 Joh 6:35,34 Lu 10:39 Ps 27:4