Sunday, February 28, 2010

To Communicate.. Listen And Hear!

Had a few moments free, so I thought I'd write something about effective hearing. That's an area that I really want to get stronger in. I'm easily distracted sometimes. I've actually got several areas to grow in (yup, duh!), but God is so good cuz He ain't finished workin' with me yet. Hope you are having a wonderful start of a new week. Anyways, here's my short devo...  

To Fully Communicate.. Listen And Hear!

"Now when Job's three friends heard of all this adversity that had come upon him, each one came from his own place—Eliphaz the Temanite, Bildad the Shuhite, and Zophar the Naamathite. For they had made an appointment together to come and mourn with him, and to comfort him. And when they raised their eyes from afar, and did not recognize him, they lifted their voices and wept; and each one tore his robe and sprinkled dust on his head toward heaven. So they sat down with him on the ground seven days and seven nights, and no one spoke a word to him, for they saw that his grief was very great" ~ Job 2:11, nkjv

Ever been suffering and had some friends drop by just to be there and to cry with you? How valuable that can be just to have someone near. How cool to have someone there for you—not to miss-speak or insensitively spout off a bunch of lame Christian clichés that don't comfort at all, but instead just to bring you a bite to eat or to listen as you try to start catching some sort of healing from God.

Man, sometimes that healing stuff can take some time, if it even arrives at all. It can take time to land on your feet again and to start recovering. 

Do you remember Job and all the severe trials that he went through? Sure you do!

Remember how his wife wasn't much of a faith-filled encouragement at all? What about his buddies. Now those guys get nothing but a bad rap in a lot of churches, but these guys really wanted to comfort Job.

They might not have been perfect, but they did feel for him in his horrific plight. They kinda seemed sickened inside to see their friend in such pain and grief.

Merciful.. sure we can say that about them.. they kept their mouths shut for an entire week. They might not have done a whole lot of hearing from the Lord before opening their mouths about Job's situation, but they did sit there with him and they listened to him for seven days and seven nights. Commendable huh. I sure can't remember doing that for my buddies in pain.

What are some of the Words that God says about this kinda stuff (Please see these verses in their context when you get time. I say always be careful of half verses that could possibly be taken out of context. Yup, test even the words that I say against God's Book)?

"When they heard of the tragedy he had suffered, they got together and traveled from their homes to comfort and console him." ~Job 2:11, nlt

"Rejoice with those who rejoice, and weep with those who weep." ~Romans 12:15

"A heartfelt tear, an attentive ear.. these can show our love as words can never do. They clearly say 'My God is there, your burdens.. He will bear. And I also want to share your cares.. for our hearts really go out to you." ~kVs

"A wise son heeds his father's instruction, but a scoffer does not listen to rebuke." ~Proverbs 13:1 

"Listen to counsel and receive instruction, that you may be wise in your latter days." Proverbs 19:20 

Listen to your father who begot you, and do not despise your mother when she is old." Proverbs 23:22

Holy Spirit, we would hear Your inner promptings, soft and clear;
And help us know Your still, small voice so we may make God's will our choice. ~D. De Haan

"To Him the doorkeeper opens, and the sheep hear His voice; and He calls His own sheep by name and leads them out." ~John 10:3

"After they had come to Mysia, they tried to go into Bithynia, but the Spirit did not permit them." ~Acts 16:7

"In the multitude of counselors there is safety." ~Proverbs 11:14

Jesus Christ, our great Example and faithful High Priest, will be close to us when we call out to Him and He will certainly listen to our prayers in a time of need.

"But know that the Lord has set apart for Himself him who is godly; the Lord will hear when I call to Him." ~Psalm 4:3

"Now therefore, listen to Me, My children, for blessed are those who keep My ways. Hear instruction and be wise, and do not disdain it. Blessed is the man who listens to Me, Watching daily at My gates, Waiting at the posts of My doors." ~ Pro 8:32-34

"He will fulfill the desire of those who fear Him; He also will hear their cry and save them." ~Psalm 145:19

When a crisis looms before you, don't face it on your own;
Seek advice from godly counsel, and take it to God's throne.  ~Sper

Perhaps these three guys understood an important truth on the horizontal plane with Job… people don't give up any level of intimacy in a relationship when they stop talking for a time, but they will for sure ..if they stop listening.

Christians who would be fruitful often fail to realize how radically important it is, to simply take some time to stop.. to focus in on.. and to just listen to a needy person.

I suspect from looking at the life and ministry of Christ in the Bible, that if you follow His Example and are led by the Spirit ..this type of listening-thing will happen in your life often.  

Leaders who follow the Lord and listen to other followers, literally seem to empower the other followers in one sense. Listening and really hearing what the other person has to say.. and hearing what the Lord might have to say about that person.. says something.

I says, "I care about you" real loud! When Christians do this it represents the Love of Christ to that person.

Christian, do you listen up and hear your wife? You'd be very wise to do that! Get in agreement on stuff. Do you listen to your children? I'm not saying that they are to lead you around, but they might just have something really good to say.

"Have you never read, 'Out of the mouth of babes and nursing infants You have perfected praise'"? ~Matthew 21:16

Do you ever call up your wise dad for advice, or maybe a mature Christian in your church? Wise people don't want to give out uninvited advice or impose upon others, but they can often help in a big way ..if you'll simply ask.

- After you listen to hurting people, go before God for them. Ask Jesus if He would have you say or do anything at all? Ask Him again just to make sure you heard correctly.
- Be quick to hear and slow to speak—don't draw wrong conclusions or judge according to the flesh. Why be rebuked by the Holy Spirit later on?
- Don't fill up the air around needy people with useless or vain words of frivolity, or joke around when no one there wants to laugh. We can easily miss in speaking the truth that they really need to hear and end up only making matters worse. Read all of the book of Job to see what God had to say to the three men.

A primary purpose of Christian marriage is so that married people can learn to listen well and then die to self (easy for me to say huh - I'm still learning this). Marriage is a good gift for those called to it because of sanctification's sake—it's like a tool for God to help you become holy, humble, and not merely happy. To us holy is happy plus some. Can you think of what might challenge your self-centeredness more in this life? I am really blessed with a great wife, but I sure can't think of anything that would do the job better.

Please, please, please do not go do church or evangelistic ministry if your wife can't firmly say that you would indeed die for her ..if the need for that type of protective decision was there before you.

The Bible says that we are to "always give thanks for everything to God the Father in the Name of our Lord Jesus Christ. And further, you will submit to one another out of reverence for Christ. You wives will submit to your husbands as you do to the Lord. For a husband is the head of his wife as Christ is the head of His body, the Church; He gave His life to be her Savior. As the Church submits to Christ, so you wives must submit to your husbands in everything. And you husbands must love your wives with the same love Christ showed the Church. He gave up His life for her to make her holy and clean, washed by baptism and God's Word" (Eph. 5:20-26, nlt). God has two rules for marriage.. love and submit. Pretty simple, but we need Him to help us. 

Listen, if you have any authority at all, the sheer act of listening or hearing another person out ..in private speaks uber-gobs beyond that of any great speech or sermon in public you could give. If our Christianity is real, then it must start at home with Jesus first, before we start exporting it! Why else would they want what you have?

So where do we start with listening to God? Wanna get right with God so you can really hear His voice?
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