Listen From Within!

Listen From Within!

Listen to me, you islands; hear this, you distant nations: Before I was born the LORD called me; from my mother’s womb he has spoken my name.He made my mouth like a sharpened sword, in the shadow of his hand he hid me; he made me into a polished arrow and concealed me in his quiver. He said to me, “You are my servant, Israel, in whom I will display my splendor.”But I said, “I have labored in vain; I have spent my strength for nothing at all. Yet what is due me is in the LORD’s hand, and my reward is with my God.”And now the LORD says— he who formed me in the womb to be his servant to bring Jacob back to him and gather Israel to himself, for I am honored in the eyes of the LORD and my God has been my strength—he says: “It is too small a thing for you to be my servant to restore the tribes of Jacob and bring back those of Israel I have kept. I will also make you a light for the Gentiles, that my salvation may reach to the ends of the earth.”This is what the LORD says— the Redeemer and Holy One of Israel— to him who was despised and abhorred by the nation, to the servant of rulers: “Kings will see you and stand up, princes will see and bow down, because of the LORD, who is faithful, the Holy One of Israel, who has chosen you.”This is what the LORD says: “In the time of my favor I will answer you, and in the day of salvation I will help you; I will keep you and will make you to be a covenant for the people, to restore the land and to reassign its desolate inheritances, to say to the captives, ‘Come out,’ and to those in darkness, ‘Be free!’ “They will feed beside the roads and find pasture on every barren hill.They will neither hunger nor thirst, nor will the desert heat or the sun beat down on them. He who has compassion on them will guide them and lead them beside springs of water. I will turn all my mountains into roads, and my highways will be raised up. See, they will come from afar— some from the north, some from the west, some from the region of Aswan. Shout for joy, you heavens; rejoice, you earth; burst into song, you mountains! For the LORD comforts his people and will have compassion on his afflicted ones. Isaiah 49:1-13 NIV

Many people “hear” things and other people, but how many people “listen” from within–blocking out all the noise around them?

There is noise all around us–the sound of hate and bigotry, the sound of war and anger, the sound of pride and arrogance, the clanging, the whistling, the shouts, the moans and groans, the sounds of victory and defeat, the sounds–bombarding us, sometimes, making us cover our ears because of the deafening loudness. We hear all the noise from the outside that keeps us from hearing The Lord speak to our hearts–when we are unable to listen!

In times past–hundreds of years ago–the chosen prophets were the messengers of God and now–for all who are filled with Holy Spirit–and listen to Him, we are the messengers of God. But what message are we providing to the people? Is it our message or His message? If we are hearing the outside noises to the degree we cannot listen to Him, the message we deliver may not be His, but ours.

How do we know when we are delivering God’s message and not our own? If what we are saying is based upon His Word and we have spent time with Him–in a position to hear and listen to Him, we can be assured that the message He has given us to share –is indeed, His message and not our own.

If we learn to listen–to Him–and tune out all the noise around us–we will always know the message is one of God’s truths, not our own and the message will encourage all to seek Him and develop a right relationship with Him, not people. For if our relationship with God is right, He will give us favor with men and when we demonstrate the love He has poured into us with others, we will generate an environment of love–not hate, peace–not war, joy–not sadness; if we learn to listen from within!

Lord,

Unstop our spiritual ears that we may hear You above the noise and listen–intently to all You have to say and then stir up our hearts, renew our courage and boldness to obey You in all things whether others understand it or not. For it is to You and You alone we give glory and honor, for You are the only One worthy of our praise. Thank You for hearing and answering our call–always and for guiding us in doing the right thing at all times. In Jesus’ name we pray, Amen!

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Blessed Quietness!

The quiet words of the wise are more to be heeded than the shouts of a ruler of fools. Wisdom is better than weapons of war, but one sinner destroys much good. Ecclesiastes 9:17,18 NIV

We are told in other places in scripture that it is the fool or the foolish who think for their much speaking someone will be deceived into thinking they are wise. Actually, what we hear in the quietness is more precious than the noise of one who simply loves the hear the sound of their voice.

In the quiet, we can hear Holy Spirit speak and when He speaks to us, we know it is wisdom from on high. This does not mean that we cannot hear Him in the midst of a storm of foolishness, but within our spirits, we can obtain the quietness of His assurance and what a blessing that is!

Often in the midst of debating or disagreement with others, we have to allow our spirits to quiet down and hear what Holy Spirit is saying so we won’t dishonor God with our actions or words. I am so glad He loves me enough to cause me to listen and hear and then obey.

For it is not enough to just hear–we hear noise all the time, some we recognize and others we may not. But if we listen–focusing on the voice who is speaking to us from within, we hear and once we hear, we should obey. The blessing that comes with obedience is priceless, but the consequence of ignoring Him, is paid with a price that many cannot pay.  There is an adage that many are familiar with in certain circles and it goes like this: “Don’t let your mouth write a check your behind can’t cash.” In other words, we should exercise caution in speaking about things we cannot back up or handle if they fall apart.

Unfortunately, there are many people–Believers and non-believers–who tend to think that if they talk louder and are more abrasive than those to whom they are speaking, they are making an impression of their greatness. They are making an impression–but it’s not of greatness, but foolishness. Any time a person feels the need to raise the decibel level of their voice above normal speaking tones in talking to either one person or a small group of people, they are making a fool of themselves. Getting loud and obnoxious is not a virtue, it is an attribute of insecurity and the more agitated they get, they louder they get and everyone can see them for who they really are.

There is another passage of scripture that says, “even a fool–when he is quiet–is esteemed wise.” Abraham Lincoln put that same intent–more bluntly. “It’s better to be quiet and thought a fool, than to open one’s mouth and remove all doubt.” The blessing of quietness!

We have probably all known at least one person (maybe many) who has to be the center of attention–no matter what the discussion is–because they love the sound of their voice. And in their deluded minds, they feel they are wiser than any other and will not concede when they are wrong, but will continue to make a fool of themselves with their much talking. 

Jesus warns us about those when praying–who think because of their much talking–the long-winded prayers, they will be heard. Those who pray in this manner have never read–with understanding–that it is not how long we pray or how loud we pray that gets results, but it is –our faith to receive–what we ask for that moves God.

So a word to the wise and to the foolish–there is nothing in the noise but chaos and confusion, but in the quiet–there is a great blessing–the opportunity to hear Holy Spirit and obey.

Whose Words Are Heeded?

“Now there lived in that city a man poor but wise, and he saved the city by his wisdom. But nobody remembered that poor man. So I said, “Wisdom is better than strength.” But the poor man’s wisdom is despised, and his words are no longer heeded. The quiet words of the wise are more to be heeded than the shouts of a ruler of fools. Wisdom is better than weapons of war, but one sinner destroys much good.” (Ecclesiastes 9:15-18 NIV)

For whatever reason–the masses choose to ignore the poor and humble, the quiet dignity of those who have no need to shout–thinking more highly of those who make a lot of noise, but their character is void of integrity and wisdom. Why is that? Our society tends to put those who make noise on pedestals and upon microscopic inspection, we discover–too late–nothing of substance in the noise-makers.

This is true of most of the politicians running for office–especially those vying for the position of President–but we can’t blame them–we are the ones to elect the ones who make the most noise, the empty promises designed to tickle our ears and cause us to ignore wisdom speaking from those who are not as noisy, but quietly sharing the wisdom of sages.

There’s a lot of noise being heard from the top Republican candidate right now–and people are buying into the bluster and clamor; he’s feeding the frenzy because people are so unhappy with the sitting president. I’m certain that when others jump into the fray, they’ll be just as noisy, at least some will and people will pay attention to them, but will they really have anything of substance to say?

At this moment–I’m not impressed with any candidate and this post is not really about politics, but it serves as a perfect analogy in demonstrating how we ignore the wise and give more credence to those “making some noise.”

This is especially true of so many of our churches–the more noise is made, the greater some people think the leadership is. In fact–what I’ve discovered in observing the worship services of a number of churches is this: The musician plays loudly, the choir sings loud and long, and the preacher–gets up and ignites a shout, whoops and hollers, but the service is void of any movement by Holy Spirit because He couldn’t be heard in order to lead them. And since Holy Spirit cannot be heard, only religious tradition is observed and no one learns anything of substance and those who enter the building–confused and empty of spiritual guidance–leave the same way, but they had a good time, making noise.

In the quiet of the night or a fleeting, illusive moment, if we listen carefully, and know The Word of God, we can hear Holy Spirit speak in the stillness and receive wisdom from on high. But in the midst of the noise–literally or figuratively, we can only hear “the noise” of complaint, confusion, chaos, and disdain–the noise of self-aggrandizement, haughtiness, and superiority–hearing nothing that will make a difference in anyone’s life other than the maker of the noise.

If we want peace in our homes, our communities and in our nations, we must be willing to look beyond desire to hear the noise of those who make empty promises, and those of empty character, and seek the quiet wisdom of God’s Word and obey.

Whose words are you hearing and obeying?

Quiet Wisdom!

“The quiet words of the wise are more to be heeded than the shouts of a ruler of fools.” (Ecclesiastes 9:17 NIV)

How loud do we speak to be heard?

How much do we hear when it’s quiet?

How loud is the noise of war?

How quiet is the sound of peace?

How powerful is the sound of loud?

How effective is the sound of silence?

Who pays more attention to the loud?

Who actually hears the voice of the quiet?

The media is loud and persistent,

Noisily proclaiming all that is wrong,

Repetitively insisting that we hear,

The power of hate and sin alike,

Venomously, noise spews from their mikes,

Garnering attention of young and old,

Allowing promotion of all that’s bold,

Causing many to creep backwards into a past,

Proven wrong and certainly won’t last.

Colors blast and blind those willing to look,

Changing meanings of The Word as if it’s just a book,

Loudly proclaiming right is wrong and wrong is right,

Doing what pleases flesh, forgetting they’re in God’s sight,

And when He whispers wisdom into an ear,

Not many, in quietness are willing to hear,

For the noise of the foolish has effectively blocked,

And the enemy’s influenced, heard and locked,

Into the minds of those who are weak, not strong,

Following those who are just loud and wrong.

But that is not the end of the story,

There are still some who work to God’s glory,

And when He speaks in the quiet of the night,

They will do all they can to do what is right.

Wisdom–the quiet, soothing, comfort we need,

When we listen to it, we won’t hear the enemy’s pleas,

To turn left when we should turn right,

Living in the light of day, not the dark of night,

Doing all things to please Him who gives,

Power, direction, through the One who lives,

Within and will only tell us what He hears from above,

Wrapped in His wisdom, embracing us with love.

God’s wisdom is heard in the silent moments,

We use to study His Word and open our hearts to hear,

All He has to say, directing our steps every day,

Never loud and obnoxious as fools tend to be,

He knows who we are, when we listen and is waiting for us to see,

Him in all His majesty, and glory, ready and willing to obey.

Shutting out the loud, the noisy, the hate and sin,

Hearing only wisdom, seeking a victorious win

Daily, poised, positioned, never giving up the fight,

Listening for the wisdom we know, directing us right,

To The throne, for all eternity, watching Wisdom,

Quietly reigning, for the world to see those who are His,

Receive their rewards for faithfulness, diligence and loyalty.

Speak to our hearts, Lord that we might hear a word of wisdom today in the quiet of the moment, while we’re not distracted by the noises of the world, vying for our attention, keeping us distracted in the midst of the storm, hoping we won’t hear You, and share You with others. Speak Lord, Your servants will hear and not follow another.

Without Love!

“Though we speak with the tongues of men or angels, and do not have love in our hearts, all we’re doing is making noise” (I Corinthians 13:1 paraphrased)

Wow!  Paul reminds us in this passage of scripture that we may operate with the gifts of the Holy Spirit discussed in 1 Corinthians 12, but without love–we have nothing.  Even if we function in all nine gifts (and most don’t), if we do not have love–unconditional love–to show towards one another, we are just making a lot of noise that makes no sense.

So, if we speak with knowledge or with charisma, we may be wise and know how to charm others with a glib tongue, but the true test of being one of God’s own is the demonstration of love we have in our hearts.  How is our love demonstrated outwardly?  We show compassion for others, we are ready to help those in need, we encourage one another (not condemn), we lift others up in prayer–asking God not only to help us get through a struggle but to help others in their struggles in life.  In other words, we are not selfish Christians, we are selfless Christians and we have no problem doing what must be done, loving one another.

Help us O God to see beyond our own needs and to help one another.  Help us to see the need for prayer and then pray, immediately.  Help us to see the need for appropriate direction for those in need of resources, we may not have.  Help us to encourage those who are sinking under the stress of every day living by reminding them–they can do all things through Christ Jesus.  Remind us O God, on a continual basis, that without love, we are nothing but noise-makers!  In Jesus’ name we pray and thank You, Amen!