Thursday, November 30, 2017

Day of Praise

Fri, 12/01/17, "Day of Praise"

I heard an awesome group of little ones preparing to share the Christmas story at our church's Child Development Center yesterday, which reminded me of the following devotional I wrote years ago. 

[Jesus said,] "Whoever belongs to God hears what God says." - John 8:47

I hear things.

Based on what I hear, many people hear many of the things that I hear. Especially at night, after my kids have gone to bed, I hear the train that's miles away, the ceiling fan that's whirring on another floor, the refrigerator that's doing whatever refrigerators do to stay cool, and, best of all, my kids adjusting in their beds and breathing. A lot of people hear those things. 

But I hear things that are probably a little strange to hear. Do you? At my church, I can walk in the education building and tell you if a bathroom light and fan is on. I can walk in the preschool building and tell you if a toilet is running on and wasting water because the bowl flap didn't close. I can walk in either worship space and tell you if the sound system wasn't turned off. I know it's a little quirky. But hey, we all, well, we all have our quirks. 

I hear things.

But, quite frankly, it doesn't bother me that I hear things or to tell you that I hear things. It doesn't bother me, as long as I hear the best thing. In today's verse, Jesus said, "Whoever belongs to God hears what God says." (John 8:47)

God wants all of us to hear what God says, but it can be a challenge since God often speaks in a whisper (1 Kings 19:12) and since the devil is often roaring like a lion (1 Peter 5:8) and since we hear things like refrigerators, trains, and ceiling fans, not to mention music, televisions, and screaming sports fans.

But we want to hear God because God's word works life and faith in us (1 Thessalonians 2:13) and brings us hope and good news (Colossians 1:23) and gives us God's Spirit and miracles (Galatians 3:5) and bears fruit and grace through us (Colossians 1:6) and warns us of the anti-christ (1 John 4:3).

So how, in a noisy world, can we hear God's word that we sorely need so we can have abundant life? Well, I bumped into an old friend today, and I asked if he could sit down for a few because he looked like he had the weight of the world on him. I asked how he was doing, and he calmly and quietly told me all the noises that were claiming his attention. I really had to listen because he spoke so softly. Then I asked how he was being fed. And a soft voice turned to silence. But his eyes and therefore his heart were crying out. We made a deal that included quiet time with God, putting time into having and being a spiritual friend, finding a spiritual mentor, and going to church for worship, fellowship, study, and service. 

Only tomorrow will tell if the beggar will show up for his bread. But he looked much stronger at the mere sound of it.

Because his ears were now tuned to the best thing...God's word. 

May your ears be tuned there, too. 

[Jesus said,] "Whoever belongs to God hears what God says." - John 8:47

Praise God!

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