Listen!

The babble of the world wearies me sometimes… endless talk, multiple opinions, predictions of gloom, accusations, mindless chatter.  Apparently I am not the only one who gets tired of it. Last night at Awana (children’s Christian education) the teacher of the large group session closed her lesson by asking for the lights to be turned off and then she told the children of elementary school age to sit quietly and listen for God’s voice.  I thought to myself, “This is going nowhere. These kids are too young to appreciate an exercise like this.” I was wrong!  They actually sat in silence, not fidgeting. In a few minutes when the lights came back on, Juanita asked them about the experience. One child said, “I liked the quiet. It was peaceful.”  Several chimed in to agree.

We could learn something from those kids, I think. Turn off the television, the podcast, the streaming music from whatever device you have … and listen for the Spirit’s voice.

Richard Foster, author of the Celebration of Discipline, writes of the practices that help us to open our hearts and minds to God’s work, to let the Spirit form the life of Christ in us. He offers this insight. “Our Adversary majors in three things: noise, hurry and crowds. If he can keep us engaged in “muchness” and “manyness,” he will rest satisfied.”

This Advent season I encourage you to make time for contemplative prayer, to sit and listen, to quiet your heart and mind so that the voice of the Spirit can be heard

Make time? “Jerry, I have a thousand things to do for the holidays. Shopping for gifts, cards to mail, decorations to finish, parties, gatherings, travel plans.”  And, in all that, what if you miss the important things because you are consumed by the urgent matters?  

We are made to worship and we will give our devotion to something or someone. Habakkuk, the preacher of old, warns of substituted idols of our own making for the living God. It is unlikely that you or I will carve a stick of wood and make a god of it. However, we may give our ‘worship’ to our work, giving our highest devotion to making a buck. Or we may turn our children into our gods, passionately serving their needs, seeking significance through them.  Or we may worship our own image, carefully giving much attention to looking good before the world in which we live.

But, these are ‘dumb idols’ that will not save us from ourselves, nor are they capable of guiding us to the life we are made to live.  So the preacher asks- “Of what value is an idol, since a man has carved it? Or an image that teaches lies? For he who makes it trusts in his own creation; he makes idols that cannot speak. Woe to him who says to wood, ‘Come to life!’ Or to lifeless stone, ‘Wake up!’ Can it give guidance? It is covered with gold and silver; there is no breath in it.”  NOW, note his prescription for real worship –  But the LORD is in his holy temple; let all the earth be silent before him.” (Habakkuk 2:18-20, NIV)

The Almighty One is present, even if not perceived. He reigns even when not recognized. We do well to learn to put our pride aside, to silence the endless noise of our lives, and to LISTEN.

Will you do it today?
Will you invite Him to be your true, living God, the Spirit who gives you life?Jesus invites us to come confidently, even if we are not skilled in prayer or meditation. He speaks.

The word from the Word reminds me of His majesty. It is Isaiah’s record of a divine encounter. Be inspired.
“I saw the Lord seated on a throne, high and exalted, and the train of his robe filled the temple. Above him were seraphs, each with six wings: With two wings they covered their faces, with two they covered their feet, and with two they were flying. And they were calling to one another: “Holy, holy, holy is the LORD Almighty; the whole earth is full of his glory.” At the sound of their voices the doorposts and thresholds shook and the temple was filled with smoke.

“Woe to me!” I cried. “I am ruined! For I am a man of unclean lips, and I live among a people of unclean lips, and my eyes have seen the King, the LORD Almighty.” (Isaiah 6:1-5, NIV)

(Video of this blog at this link)

______________________

I Saw The Lord

The place was white as snow
And pure as finest gold
It had the look of new
It had the look of old
I felt like I was home
But felt so far away
In fear I thought to leave
But felt the urge to stay

Then a silence fell
Like none I’d ever known
I stood among the millions
I stood there all alone
His face was like the sun
His eyes were like a sea
His voice was like the thunder
Rolling through eternity

And I saw the Lord
He was high and lifted up
And rightfully adored
I saw the Lord and He saw me

Then from sleep awakened
I looked into the night
The darkness overtaken
By a bright and shinng light
I couldn’t understand it
I couldn’t reason how
Then my eyes beheld Him
I wasn’t dreaming now

Dallas Holm © 1981 Going Holm Music (Admin. by BMG Rights Management (US) LLC) CCLI License # 810055

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