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The Art of Listening…

not listening

 

Any problem, big or small, within a family, always seems to start with bad communication.  Someone isn’t listening.  –Emma Thompson

I think the majority of trouble we have in the world comes from simply not listening.  When people talk, many times the one who is supposed to be listening, listens to a portion of what is said and then one of the following things occurs…they either pick up on a piece of the conversation and begin to form an idea or attitude around it, thus not listening in order to formulate what they want to say about it, or they assume they know what is being said and stop listening altogether.

Many problems come from people’s unwillingness to thoroughly  listen.  It is interpreted as disrespectful by the one speaking, and it is.  When you begin to think of what you want to say, instead of giving the other person who is speaking full attention, your mind is on yourself and how important what you have to say is;  That what you have to say is much more beneficial than the one speaking.   It is selfish, prideful and disrespectful.

When you assume you know what is going to be said, you are basically communicating you have something you would much rather do than listen to that person speaking to you.  You half way listen so you can then go and do what you want to do.  Again, the root of this is selfishness and disrespect.

I do believe some people are not being selfish or arrogant, but just can have so much on their plate they don’t give full attention because of time constraints.  No matter what the source of not listening may be, it all produces the same thing…problems!

According to Gloria Copeland‘s book, “Are You Listening?” hearken means to “give heed to; pay attention; TO HEAR WITH THE INTENT TO DO.”   In Deuteronomy 28:1, it gives conditions for being blessed.  It says, “And it shall come to pass, if thou shalt hearken diligently unto the voice of the Lord thy God, to observe and to do all his commandments which I command thee this day, that the Lord thy God will set thee on high above all nations of the earth:”

Some typical examples of people who didn’t listen  or “hearken” to the voice of God and got into severe trouble are Adam and Eve, Jonah, and Job’s accusers.   Because Adam and Eve didn’t obey God, they in essence disrespected Him and what He had said.  They were told to not eat of the tree of knowledge, but did it anyway.  When they refused to act on what God had said, they brought a curse upon all of mankind.  Those are dire consequences of one type of not hearkening, or not listening!

Jonah is another.  He heard what God said, but chose to ignore it.  He did not listen to God’s heart for the people of Nineveh.  He made up his own mind, no matter what God was saying, he was not going to Nineveh to preach a saving message to those people.  He formed his opinion based on what he thought and felt.  Again, as he disobeyed and disrespected God and what God had said, he almost got an entire shipload of people killed!   He was cursed from disobedience and his companions were paying the price, too!

Job’s accusers are the ones who exasperate me the most!  He told them repeatedly he had done nothing to incur the horror that had befallen him, yet they accused him for almost 40 chapters and never acknowledged one word Job said.  They knew it all, they didn’t have to listen.  His circumstances spoke for itself!  God’s idea on this…unless Job prayed for mercy for them, God was going to kill all of his accusers…death is a pretty dire consequence!!

We see from these examples how important listening is and what listening entails.  Listening is to hear someone all the way through, and hear with not only your ears, but with your heart.  Listening is not assuming as Eve did, it is not deciding your thought process is more important as Jonah did, and it is not refusing to hear because you know what you see as Job’s “friends” did.

There was a commercial years ago from a major fast food chain.  It had a catchy song that said, “Hold the pickles, hold the lettuce, special orders don’t upset us.”  What was this company getting across to the customer?  What you say is being listened to and respected.  What you say will be what you get!  If it wasn’t, the chain didn’t make you pay because it was their mess up.  This trained the employees to listen to customers because if they didn’t it would cost them something!  Today, most of the time, if I put in a special order I have learned to check it so I don’t waste a trip back to the store because people either are too busy or just don’t care about the customer’s satisfaction.

I have learned, that if I listen through and through, I will waste less time trying to correct what I should have “heard” in the first place.  How far would we have progressed at a much faster rate if we listened and respected what God told us to do?  I am the prime example of this!  About six months ago God told me to make a move in business and to make it right then.  I went to my husband and he asked for some time to pray on it.  We learned the hard way when God tells you to do something, you don’t have to pray about it or sleep on it…you have your answer, what is there to pray about?  God has already given direction and spoken.  Praise God for renewed mercy and grace!!

We waited and finally we decided to go ahead with it.  When we did we found out we had missed a very large and lucrative window of opportunity.  We didn’t listen and we didn’t respect what God told us.  I had to repent, and so did my husband.  We plead the blood over the sin of disobedience and procrastination and God gave us grace and opened another window for us.  This time we didn’t hesitate on what He told us to do.  God’s formula for victory in life is to HEAR and DO!  It is as important to act on what He tells you as it is to listen!

God is talking all the time.  It is important we don’t think we know a better way, or we assume we know what He means and only listen to a point then jump into something with both feet, only to find out we jumped into a mess and have to spend extra time and energy to correct it.  It is important we get and stay quiet before God and not only listen to what He says, but to listen to what is in His heart and obey all He says!

Write down the things God speaks to you during your prayer time.  He will encourage you, give you promises, and give you direction.  Later, when you need to recall something you have it and there can be no misunderstandings or “missed opportunities” to jump into His greater blessings instead of our own self-made greater messes!!

God bless you, precious reader!  I am so glad you stopped by!!  I will see you, again soon!

 

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Verse of the day…Christ’s Resurrection Guarantees Ours

 christ's resurrection

 [ Christ’s Resurrection Guarantees Ours ] But now Christ has been raised from the dead, the firstfruits of those who have fallen asleep. For since death came through a man, the resurrection of the dead also comes through a man. For as in Adam all die, so also in Christ all will be made alive.        1 Corinthians 15:20-22 HCSB


If You Will Move I Will Do It!

if you will move i will do it

When I was growing up, Daddy would sometimes bake my grandmother’s teacakes.  They were delicious and they were a treat for all.  This was relaxing to Daddy, and he did it well.   There were other things Daddy would try to do around the house.  While he was still working, he really didn’t have a lot of relaxation time, so Daddy would kind of rush through things Momma needed to be fixed, or whatever she needed some help with, so he would get it out of the way as soon as he could so he could get a nap in or some T.V. time.   Since he was rushing, he was a bit like a bull in a china closet.  I say this with a smile on my face, because it was actually funny!

I can see him now “funching”, a Texas term for just pushing or pulling something brusquely and without much care.  My mother, brother, and I would watch.  You could just see what was coming next.  You could see whatever he was messing with was about to suffer irreparable damage!  You just prayed for Momma to say what you knew she always said before it was too late!  Sure enough we heard the words, “If you will just move I will do it!” come from Momma’s mouth.  My brother and I would breathe a sigh of relief and I am pretty sure my dad did, too!  Momma would fix whatever it was, and would always do it perfectly!

I thought of this today as I thought of a situation in my own life I am facing.  If you had asked me a year ago if God allowed certain things I would have told you no.  I had heard if anything happened that wasn’t good, we had somehow caused it or had opened the door to it somehow.  I do believe this is correct in some instances.  When you are warned by God not to do certain things and you repeatedly do them anyway, you frustrate the grace of God and eventually you ARE going to pay a consequence!  At that point, you have permitted it because you were warned.  You opened the door because you knew the chance you were taking and disobeyed God’s voice anyway.

Some things happen simply because we live in a fallen world and the devil is evil and seeks to destroy us, whether you are a Christian or not.  Satan is NEVER your friend!  He would rather hurt you, destroy you, and see you dead just as soon as he would look at you!  When evil things happen outside of our control it is satan who does it!  God can ONLY do good.  We will have tests and tribulations!   I think He allows us to know when it is a test or just an attack of the enemy we can take authority over and thwart.  When it is a test  we actually decide how it will end by the choices we make!  Let me give you an example.  I had to make a decision recently.  I knew God had been speaking to me about it.  He had not blared it to me, He did not send someone to say anything to me about it, He just spoke to me about it in His still, small voice!  I was being warned  something was not right with a situation, but at the same time, I really didn’t WANT to move in the direction He was showing me.

God knows ALL things, dear reader.  He knows our hearts better than we do.  God does not allow tests and trials to come our way for HIM to see what we will do and what we are made of….He already knows.  He allows them to show US  what we will do and what we are made of!  As this decision approached it carried great advantages in the flesh for me!   I wanted this particular thing badly!!   At the same time, deep down, I knew if I chose it I had chosen my way and not God’s!

We are our own worst enemy!  There is no use in looking around as Adam did and blaming someone else for unfulfilled desires and even less than desirable situations we may be in as Adam did with Eve.  We knew when we made the choice it was wrong, but we wanted it!  What regret we face when we do this!!  If we had just stayed out of God’s way, He would have fixed it and fulfilled us and the plan and it would have worked out so much better than anything we had in mind!

All is not lost, dear reader, but it is postponed and we postponed it through disobedience and wanting our way!  Thank God we can repent (change direction) and go the other way!  God will redeem the time if we do!  What decision did I make?  God’s, thank God!!  I have to say, I vacillated for a while, but when it came down to it before it was too late, I yielded to God’s wisdom and reason!  God knows the big picture, whereas we do not!  He gives all good things liberally to them who walk uprightly!  What does that mean?  It means He will withhold no good thing from us as long as we simply obey what He says and don’t do it our own way!  That is walking uprightly!  It isn’t performing perfectly, it is simply listening and doing what He tells us!

Are you facing something today?  You know in your heart what God would have you to do.  It may not make sense to your mind, but trust God’s leading enough to know it does not have to!  He will never mislead you!  Stay with peace, precious reader, and in so doing you have stayed with God!

Blessings to you!!  I will see you soon!  Juliana


An Ambassador of Love

an ambassador of love

God is love. You’ve probably been able to quote that scripture ever since you toddled out of your first little Sunday school class.  But come on now, be honest. Is God really love to you? He isn’t in the minds of most people. They think God is following them around with a big stick, ready to smack them over the spiritual head every time they sin.

I don’t even have to ask them to know it. All I have to do is watch how they treat other people. They’re smacking everyone around them with their own little stick of criticism and judgment. They’re constantly hurting and being hurt.It’s a painful way to live. I’ve tried it. I wasn’t a sinner at the time, either. I was a born-again child of God. I knew about and lived by faith. But I’ll tell you, it was hard work. And it produced very limited results.  Then some years ago, God began to reveal something to me that changed everything. It’s a revelation that is still unfolding to this day. A revelation of His love.

One Man’s Cry

That’s a revelation desperately needed in the Church today. You see, as a body we haven’t expressed to the world the love of God. We’ve told them that He’s moral, that He’s right, that He’s powerful and a hundred other things. But we’ve failed to effectively demonstrate to them the life-changing fact that He loves them.  Yet when you look at the life of Jesus, He communicated love more than anything else. His whole mission on earth was to express—to embody and personify—the love of God.

He went to extreme lengths to prove to even the most sinful of men that God loved them. Luke 8 tells us of a time when Jesus had preached and ministered all day then He got into a boat and said, “Let us go over unto the other side of the lake” (Luke 8:22). He didn’t tell them why He wanted to go over there; He just said GoIt wasn’t an easy trip. They encountered hurricane force winds on the way that were so strong the disciples thought they were going to die until Jesus rebuked the storm and put a stop to it.

Do you know who they met when they arrived at the other side of that lake? A man so filled with evil spirits that no man and no chains could hold him. A man who lived in the tombs. Who thrived off of bodies and carcasses, cutting and beating himself. A man who wanted to be free but couldn’t.  When that man saw Jesus, he ran toward Him probably intending to kill Him. But when he approached Jesus, he ran into the presence of God and those demonic powers fell on the ground in subjection.  Right then and there, Jesus delivered the madman from the tombs. He drove out the demons and set him free.

Think about the extremes Jesus went to, to reach that man. Why did He do it? Why did He travel across the lake when He was so tired He fell asleep shortly after they set sail? Why did He go through the storm?  I’m convinced it’s because God heard the cry of one desperate man and said to Jesus, “Go get him. I don’t care if he has been living out of the graves. I don’t care how bound up by perversion he is. I don’t care what he looks like, smells like or acts like. I love him, so go get him and set him free.”

Burning Up With Love

Again and again throughout His ministry, Jesus went to extreme lengths to prove to us the love of God. Ultimately He even went into hell for us—a place far worse than any graveyard that wild man ever inhabited. He faced death and the grave. He gave up His union with God in order to carry the sin that Adam had brought into the world.

My friend, God loves you with an amazing love! He didn’t have you born again just so He could get you off His conscience. That may sound funny but when you think about it, many people have that mentality.  They’ve been taught by religion that God saves us just so we can praise Him forever. Just so we can live for Him. In other words, God saved us to satisfy His own egotistical, selfish need to have someone tell Him how great He is all the time.

No! God isn’t like that!  Ephesians tells us He redeemed us in order to restore our fellowship with Him so that in the ages to come He could show us the wonders of His love and grace (see Ephesians 1:7-10).

God’s heart cries out to those who are in sin, to those who have been hurt and put in bondage by it. He wants to bring them into His presence. He wants to be for them all that He is.  He knows how wonderful and marvelous He can cause our lives to be. He has a driving compassion to be with us and to bless us. The Bible says God is a fire from the loins up and a fire from the loins down. He is burning up with love!

Put Away Your Stick

Because of that fiery compassion, Colossians 1:13 tells us that “[The Father] has delivered and drawn us to Himself out of the control and the dominion of darkness and has transferred us into the kingdom of the Son of His love” (The Amplified Bible).  Let that sink in a moment. You and I are now native citizens of the kingdom of love! Love should be flowing out of us toward others, just like it flowed from God toward us.

The Apostle Paul said God has reconciled to Himself the whole world and given unto us that message of reconciliation (see II Corinthians 5:18-21). God has made the whole world right with Him. And since you are born of His nature and His love, it should be in you to do the same thing with those around you—to draw them close to you and to love them.

“Well, I couldn’t possibly get close to those people! They’re living in gross sin!”  Get them saved then! Don’t beat them with your judgment stick. Don’t try to punish them for their sin. Jesus already took the punishment for them. As I John 2:2 says, “He [that same Jesus Himself] is the propitiation (the atoning sacrifice) for our sins, and not for ours alone but also for [the sins of] the whole world” (The Amplified Bible).

When we’re tempted to be harsh or critical, we would do well to remember that. To think about the fact that Jesus shed His blood for that person regardless of how ugly they are acting or how wrong they are. Then we should ask ourselves, “Is this how Jesus would speak to this person? Is this the tone of voice He would use?”

When Jesus met the madman at the tombs, He didn’t criticize and berate him. He loved him. He understood that the man was bound and driven by devils. He was a person who needed help—not condemnation.  Keep that in mind when you’re dealing with someone you think is wrong. Consider him. Consider what he’s going through. If you don’t know what he is going through, then do one of two things: either find out or keep your mouth shut.  Don’t hurt his feelings in the name of being right. The presence of God is not involved in that. Love goes out of the way to see to it that people’s feelings aren’t hurt. It isn’t touchy and it doesn’t cause hurts.

A Common Deception

When you’re outside of love you’re outside of the will of God, no matter how justified you feel you are.  I John 2:9-10 puts it this way: “Whoever says he is in the Light and [yet] hates his brother…is in darkness even until now. Whoever loves his brother…abides (lives) in the Light, and in It or in him there is no occasion for stumbling or cause for error or sin” (The Amplified Bible).

Most of us would deny the fact that we hate anyone because hate is such a strong term. But the truth is, if we’re not exercising the love of God toward the people around us, we are hating them. There is no in between, only varying degrees of intensity.  Thus, when we fail to act in love, we’re in darkness. The sad thing about it is, most of the time we don’t even know it. It is, as Proverbs 14:12 says, the “…way which seemeth right unto a man, but the end thereof are the ways of death.”

You don’t wake up and think, “Well, I believe I’ll be wrong today.” No, it often comes under the guise of helping someone. For example, have you ever felt compelled to correct someone “in order to help them”? You may think, This may seem harsh, but it’s okay because they’ll be better off in the long run.  I’ve even seen people in the ministry criticize, step on or hurt those they work with in order to accomplish a certain ministry goal. It’s never all right to disregard people, no matter how just the cause. Even though you cannot keep some people from being offended, it should never occur because of your insensitivity or laziness where the love walk is concerned.

If you are not endeavoring to grow and walk in love with the people around you, you are in darkness and you are deceived. Without love, whatever you do will fall short of the glory of God. And without the glory of God in what you do, you might as well not bother to do it at all.

Choose Your World

Apart from the influence of God, the world has no love! All the “love” it has to offer is full of greed and possessiveness, interwoven with lust.  But you are no longer a citizen of darkness. You are no longer a citizen of this world. You are a citizen of the kingdom of the Son of God’s love.  Yes, you still live in this world which is under the influence of the wicked one. It’s still knocking at your door, putting pressure on you to follow its selfish pattern of living.  The question is, which world will you yield to? Will you be an ambassador of love or will you adapt to the hateful world around you?

If you choose to be an ambassador of love, you’ll have an awesome impact on the world around you. What kind of impact? The same kind that Jesus had when He walked the earth. With every deed of kindness, every gesture of compassion, every word of love, you’ll bring God’s very presence on the scene.  So stand up on the inside and say, “As of this day, I make a decision that I’m walking in love. I’ll not put myself first. I’ll put others before me. I’ll stop criticizing and start reaching out in compassion.”  Then stir up the Holy Spirit inside you by praying in the spirit. Let Him show you how to truly love. He’s so creative. He can tell you how to be loving to the people who give you the hardest time of all.

He’ll give you the power to go and do something nice for them. Do you know what will happen when you do that? They’ll probably be ugly to you again. But the power of love will enable you to rise above it and it won’t matter.  What will matter, however, is that something eternal will have happened. The very love and presence of Almighty God will have invaded that situation. And that love can do things nothing else can do. Love breaks chains. Delivers captives. Heals wounds. Brings people together.

Love makes the impossible possible. Because love never fails.  –Terri Copeland Pearsons


1 Timothy 2…Instructions on Prayer

1 timothy 2

1 Timothy 2

Holman Christian Standard Bible (HCSB)

Instructions on Prayer

2 First of all, then, I urge that petitions, prayers, intercessions, and thanksgivings be made for everyone, 2 for kings and all those who are in authority, so that we may lead a tranquil and quiet life in all godliness and dignity. 3 This is good, and it pleases God our Savior, 4 who wants everyone to be saved and to come to the knowledge of the truth.

5 For there is one God and one mediator between God and humanity, Christ Jesus, Himself human, 6 who gave Himself—a ransom for all, a testimony at the proper time.

7 For this I was appointed a herald, an apostle (I am telling the truth;[a] I am not lying), and a teacher of the Gentiles in faith and truth.

Instructions to Men and Women

8 Therefore, I want the men in every place to pray, lifting up holy hands without anger or argument. 9 Also, the women are to dress themselves in modest clothing, with decency and good sense, not with elaborate hairstyles, gold, pearls, or expensive apparel, 10 but with good works, as is proper for women who affirm that they worship God. 11 A woman should learn in silence with full submission. 12 I do not allow a woman to teach or to have authority over a man; instead, she is to be silent. 13 For Adam was created first, then Eve. 14 And Adam was not deceived, but the woman was deceived and transgressed. 15 But she will be saved through childbearing, if she continues[b] in faith, love, and holiness, with good judgment.


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