Absent-Minded Listening

Not Really Listening

A few days ago I was driving to a location about three hours away. While driving I had started out listening to a good Christian radio station. After a while I had lost the station and did not feel like slowly searching through the stations to find another good station to listen too.

I decided to pull over for a moment and search for a sermon to listen to online on my phone. I had found a couple that looked like they could be good to listen to, so I started playing one of them while driving.

The first sermon I listened to, I could remember what it was about afterwards. The second sermon, by the same person, after listening to it, I realized I could not remember much about it.

Car Radio

As I though about why I could not remember it, I started to realize that I was driving down the road I could hear the sermon, but my mind was not on it. My mind was thinking about other things. Thinking about things that I was seeing on the road, thinking about things that need to happen, thinking about the job, thinking about the future of things in my life, and thinking about things that had happened.

Later on I thought about what had occurred that day with listening to those sermons and how I listen in life many times. It is easy to let the mind wander around when doing something or listening to something. This causes a person to just be going through the motions of listening, but is not really listening. The ears are hearing, but the heart and mind are not hearing.

Hearing like this can occur a lot in the life of a person. On Sunday mornings, how many times does a person “hear” the sermon, but really does not hear it? He cannot remember what was talked about, he was listening with an absent mind. His thoughts are on something different.

Husbands are often guilty of this type of listening with their wives. I know I am guilty of this at times. My wife will tell me something as I am doing something else or just sitting there, but my mind is not there. Later I will ask again about that subject and she will tell me that she already told me, but I will not remember. I had heard it, but did not really hear it.

Man Not Listening

Parents can also be guilty of this with children and children with parents. Many times things are said that later a person says he never heard said. Children tell parents of their day at school, but the parent really does not hear what was said. Or the parent tells the child to do some chore, and later the child says he never heard it said.

This can also happen very easily when a person is reading the bible. Reading the words and hearing what they say are two different things. God has plenty to say in the bible, if we are just willing to listen to it as we read it.

God is also willing to speak into our lives. How many times do we pray to God for an answer to a question we have, but then do not listen to what God tells us? Sometimes it is that we do not like His answer. Other times we are not really listening for God’s voice.

We are busy searching for an answer or busy doing things in this life, so that we do not hear what God is saying. Then when He gives an answer we do not really hear it and forget it almost immediately or dismiss it as not of God.

As a believer we need to be in tune to what God is saying at all times. God spoke to Elijah in a still quiet voice on the mountain. He does not like to shout and holler His answers to us.

God Speaks In a Quiet Voice

God will speak through other people, children, creation, books, songs, and any other media. You may hear something stated in a movie, a movie that has nothing to do with God, but it speaks a truth of God, or a lie of the devil. He could be pointing out a change that must be made in your life through something you hear or see.

He loves to remind us of His love for us through creation, tells us there is hope of a new day seeing the sunrise. Reminder of provision through seeing a bird that He provides for. Clothing is provided through seeing the plants of the field. How great He is through the stars at night. His majesty through the mountains. Being fishers of men in seeing fish. And the list goes on forever.

Mountain Scene

He may also speak to you to reach out to someone who is in your path. Or to go off your path to reach out to someone.

However, in all of these ways, you must be actively listening. Too often we listen absent-mindedly. Hearing, but not really hearing what is being said. That is when we get discouraged or scared, because we are not hearing what He has to say.

I pray that in the days to come you will be an active listener of God. Seek to hear what He is saying at all times. You will be amazed at how much God is saying, if you are really listening and will apply to your life what He is saying.

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Ezekiel 4:4 Doing What Seems Crazy

“Then lie on your left side and put the sin of the people of Israel upon yourself. You are to bear their sin for the number of days you lie on your side.” Ezekiel 4:4

As God was getting ready to destroy Jerusalem and place all the people into exile, He sent various prophets to warn the people. Ezekiel was one who brought the message of the coming destruction to the people. One of the ways God wanted to show that message was by having Ezekiel lie on his side on the ground for 390 days and bear the sins of the people. Reading later it shows in the same chapter that after this event, he had to roll over and lie for another forty days.

There are times when God has a person do something that seems crazy. For the person, it may seem insane to do what God has asked him to do. God asked Moses to go before Pharaoh to ask him to release the slaves. He asked Moses to cross a sea on foot. He asked Jeremiah to defy the king. He asked John to step out of a boat and walk on water. He asked Jesus to die on the cross.

Each and everything God has asked a person to do was for a purpose. That purpose was greater than the pain, suffering or fear that person might have had in doing it. His goal is to build His kingdom and restore all people to Him.

God may one day ask you to do something that seems crazy. It may go against the norm of most people, including believers. It may be life threatening. It may be painful.

What God may ask of you, may not be the same as what Ezekiel had to do, in fact, read the Bible and very few people did the same exact crazy thing twice. However, it may be crazy by today’s normal standards, or just crazy for you. It could be just be willing to take a hard stand for Jesus; telling someone about Jesus; going into an area to be a witness that is dangerous; quitting a good paying job to do another work for God in a different place; and the list goes on.

Will you be willing to do whatever God asks of you, regardless of how crazy it seems?

Or would you reject God’s request?

I pray today that God will show you what He wants you to do; that He will give you strength to do the work; that love for God and His people will be strong enough for you to do what God wants; and that you will work to build God’s kingdom each day.

Jeremiah 42:6 Favorable Or Unfavorable Message

“Whether it is favorable or unfavorable, we will obey the LORD our God, to whom we are sending you, so that it will go well with us, for we will obey the LORD our God.” Jeremiah 42:6

Once Israel was in exile in Babylon, some of the people came to Jeremiah to find out what God wanted. They asked Jeremiah to inquire of God what His desire was. They then stated that regardless if the message was favorable or unfavorable, they would obey Him. Many realized that they were in exile because they had not obeyed God, and now they needed to obey. It would not matter if the message was one of pain or not.

God’s message to them was that the Israelites had to choose to obey and serve the king of Babylon. It was not up for option. The message was one of humility, because they were the chosen nation, who were supposed to be the leaders, not the followers. 

Getting news from someone is not always what a person really wants to hear. People go to the doctor about some pain that they are feeling, hoping the doctor can cure them. There are times that the doctor can give the favorable news that it is something minor and easily fixed. Other times the news might be that it is unfavorable saying that the person must change his way of living in a major way, giving up a lot of what the person had enjoyed, just to stay healthy. Either way, the person must obey the doctor in order to be cured.

God works in the same way as the doctor. There will be many times when you have to go to God for some guidance in your life. As you present your situation to God, He will give you His answer. That answer may be easy to follow, or it may mean major changes in your life.

When God speaks into your life, you must be willing to follow His word. It does not matter if it looks favorable or unfavorable, it is what is best for your life. God will never hand you anything that is not for your benefit in the long run.

Are you willing to obey God, even when it does not look or sound good?

I pray today that you will know God’s word for your life; that you will obey God no matter what He tells you to do; that you will listen for when God speaks; and that you will live your life for God.

 

 

Jeremiah 6:8 Take Warning

Take warning, Jerusalem, or I will turn away from you and make your land desolate so no one can live in it. Jeremiah 6:8

The city of Jerusalem and the nation of Israel had turned away from God to the point God was getting ready to destroy them. The people had began to sin and refused to look at the problems with those sins. When problems would come up they would just bandage them up as though there were no major problems or injuries. God was warning them that He would destroy their land if they did not change, yet, most would not listen to the warnings being given.

It is very easy and common for people to look at a nation and see the problems with it. They look at the nation as a whole and see how, as a whole, the nation has turned away from God and allowed sinful practices to become commonplace. Christian speakers and many individuals will be quick to make the statement that there must be a change or God will judge the nation. Judgments against leadership in the nation are quick to happen.

While it is true that the nation as a whole may be turning away from God, the true reality of that nation turning is because of individuals. It is individuals who make up a nation and lead the nation. Turning from God starts with the individual person, so each person must hear the warnings of what is happening and make changes first in his own personal life.

The reason a nation does not serve God and accepts and lives in sin, is because an individual did not do his part.

Take a look at your own personal life. How much are you living for God? Do you just go to church and read your bible on Sunday, when the preacher tells you to do so? Or is it a part of your life each day, all day long?

Each day you leave your house, are you being a witness for God? Are you living according to God’s plans? Are you building up the kingdom for God?

If you have to answer no to any of these questions, then you are a part of the problem with your nation. You, also, must take warning. God’s warnings are for everyone to hear. You do not want God’s judgment on you or your nation. Live for God today.

I pray today that you will live for God; that you will be His witness everywhere you go; that you will hear the warnings God is giving your nation and people; and that you will encourage others to live for God.

Isaiah 58:2-3 Doing Your Own Thing

For day after day they seek me out; they seem eager to know my ways, as if they were a nation that does what is right and has not forsaken the commands of God. They ask me for just decisions and seem eager for God to come near them. ‘Why have we fasted,’ they say, ‘and you have not seen it? Why have we humbled ourselves and you have not noticed?’ “Yet on the day of your fasting, you do as you please and exploit all your workers.” Isaiah 58:2-3

Israel had claimed to be the nation that God loved and was over. They claimed God as their God. When they were going through tough situations, they would cry out to God, yet God was silent with them. God allowed trouble to come into their lives. The reason was because, even though they cried out to God, they were not trying to live for God. They were doing their own thing, rather than what God wanted.

People in churches all over the world are seeking to know God and His ways every Sunday morning. Throughout the days of their week, many cry out to God for help in situations in their life. Yet, just like the Israelites, many are not attempting to live for God.

Believers cry out to God for help, while at the same time refusing to forgive, or holding onto anger, or lying, or stealing, or gossiping. As one does this, they wonder why God is not showing up in their lives. God cannot be around sin and will not honor those who do not serve Him.

You have to take an honest look at your own life to see where you are at. If you are like many people, you are probably crying out to God for some help in an area of your life. You may be feeling as though God is no where near and does not hear you.

Ask yourself if you are really living for God. Are you serving God with your life? Or are you doing your own thing?

Are you trying to get help from God so that you can look good, or get better things?

Or are you asking for help so that you may build His kingdom more?

As you go before God, do what He wants, not as you please. God will hear you then.

I pray today that you will know God’s desire for your life; that you will obey the commands of God; that you will not put God on the side of your life; and that you will truly know God.

Isaiah 50:2 Where Were You?

When I came, why was there no one? When I called, why was there no one to answer? Was my arm too short to deliver you? Do I lack the strength to rescue  you? Isaiah 50:2

People often remember where they were when some great event happened. For many years people talked about where they were when President Kennedy was killed. Later is was when President Reagan was shot. More currently it is when 9/11 occurred.

In not-so-broadcast news it may be events in a person’s life. Some of these might be when the marriage proposal occurred, or the first date, the purchase of the first car or house, or one of some other great significance in a person’s personal life.

God is asking this question of where everyone was when He came by to help them. The Israelites were going through a bad time because of their sin. God wanted to help them, but as He called out to them, no one would answer.

Even today, God is not silent. Each day He is calling out to people to help guide them and deliver them from many troubles. However, most people are not really listening for His voice. They are busy trying to solve the problem themselves or seeking someone else out to help them solve the situation.

This can even occur with believers. Believers get caught up listening to speakers and singers and other believers, more than listening to what God has to say. In the busyness of this world believers need to stop and listen to what God is trying to say.

Just as people are quick to answer a text message, so you must be willing and quick to answer God when He calls. God has the strength, resources and ability to rescue you from any situation you are in. He has the wisdom to guide you through any situation also.

As you go through your day, may God never have to ask at the end of the day, “Where were you?”

Take time each day, and all throughout the day to stop and listen for God’s voice. He is waiting to talk with you. May you never be so busy that you miss a call from God or overlook seeing Him when He is there with you.

I pray today that you will know God’s voice; that you will hear and listen to what God says; that you will always make time for God; and that you will trust that He can and will deliver you from all troubles.

Isaiah 34:1 Get Near And Listen

Come near, you nations, and listen: pay attention, you peoples! Let the earth hear, and all that is in it, the world, and all that comes out of it! Isaiah 34:1

Isaiah is calling all the nations to gather around and listen to what God is saying. God is angry with the nations, because of all the sin that is occurring. Isaiah is pointing to a future time in which God is going to bring out judgment upon all the nations. They will be judged for their sins and destroyed.

That call for the nations to listen has never changed. The time of God’s full judgment upon the nations and the people has yet to fully come. The final, ultimate judgment will be when Jesus returns to take His people home to heaven for all eternity. At that time God will judge every person by what they have done or not done.

Even today, people need to get together and listen to what God has to say. The world tries to say that God does not exist or is silent. Many believers will even say that God is silent and does not really speak to anyone anymore.

When Jesus left the earth, He sent back to the earth His Holy Spirit to be with each believer. God is still speaking today through His Holy Spirit.

What God has to say may be different for each person, but it is still important. He will point out things that need to change in your life, sins that need to be repented of and tossed out. God will also speak to you about what to say when you have an opportunity to be His witness. He will open doors for you to share the gospel message and His love and mercy with those around you.

If you are keeping your ears closed, you will not hear what God is trying to tell you. You will not hear what God is doing in this world. You will not hear how God is doing miracles in the lives of others and in your own life.

Turn off the phone and the music and listen for God to speak. Be willing to be silent for a moment and hear Him. He has great things to tell you, if you will just listen.

I pray today that you will hear God’s voice in your life; that you will follow God’s instructions; that you will be God’s voice to this world; and that God will do great things in and through you.