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Posts Tagged ‘John 6:63’

Listening

September 24th, 2013

“Speak, Lord, for Your servant is listening.” 1 Samuel 3:9 NIV.

The noise of surroundings and busyness of schedules impair listening.

My thoughts and comments today are about “listening.”

You live in an increasingly noisy, busy world filled with a myriad of voices that will not be ignored. You can’t help but hear them. They make themselves heard, no matter how much you wish to avoid them.  Eventually, the noise of surroundings and busyness of schedules impair your carefulness to listen closely and hear accurately. That is unfortunate, especially to your spiritual life.

Hearing and listening are similar, not identical. Hearing is a natural, physical capacity, whereas listening is a skill acquired and practiced intentionally. Learning to recognize and respond to God’s voice is vital to spiritual life and growth. Jesus said, “The words that I speak are spirit and life . . man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that proceeds from the mouth of God.” John 6:63/Matthew 4:4. Peter seemed to understand this when he answered Jesus, “To whom shall we go, for You alone have the words of eternal life.” John 6:68.

Give importance to hearing from God. God’s voice is seldom heard when you are too busy to listen or preoccupied with lesser things.

Be purposeful about listening to God. God may speak to you through Scripture, or words of a friend, or a circumstance of life, or through a song or sermon, but always as a gentle voice in your heart.

Take time to listen for God. You give time and attention to what you consider personally beneficial. Nothing else that engages your time is as beneficial as listening for God. Read Psalm 1:2-3 NIV.

Quiet your heart to listen to God. Living in a noisy, busy world is spiritually challenging. Every other voice and human activity can diminish the clarity of His voice in your heart. Lower the volume of turmoil around you; slow the hectic pace of unrelenting busyness. God says, “Be still and know that I am God.” Read Psalm 46:1-3/9-11 NKJV. With a quiet heart before God, listen closely; you will hear God’s voice whatever the surrounding circumstance or chaos.

Listen with intention to obey. In the New Testament, Paul related the words, “obedience and disobedience,” to the words, “to hear under/hupokoe,“ or “to hear alongside/parakoe.” See Romans 8:19 NKJV. Submitting what you think or feel under what God says empowers obedience. Equating what you think or feel alongside what God says enables disobedience. How you hear has everything to do with your response to God. Listen to God carefully, as though everything depends on that; it does!

The young child, Samuel, illustrates the posture and practice of listening to God. “Speak, Lord, for Your servant is listening . . and the Lord said to Samuel . . as Samuel grew up, the Lord was with him and everything Samuel said was wise and helpful.” Read 1 Samuel 3:1-11 NIV/19 NLT. When God’s words matter to you, God values and inspires your words on His behalf. Samuel identified himself to God as, “Your servant,” implying his attention with intention to obey. Obedience is the prerequisite for hearing God accurately. God does not volunteer to disclose His will, if obedience is not your intention.

My prayer for you today is that you have a heart to listen and ability to hear.

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Words

May 20th, 2013

“A word out of your mouth . . can accomplish nearly anything – or destroy it.” James 3:5 MSG.

You possess the power to bless or curse; you can do either but you cannot do both.

My thoughts and comments today are about “words.”

Words have a longer life span and far greater importance than you may realize. The Bible says, “Death and life are in the power of the tongue.” Proverbs 18:21 NKJV. James gave good advice when he wrote, “Be swift to hear, slow to speak and slow to anger.” James 1:19. I always thought that a strange pairing of words, until I observed how anger fuels how you hear and what you say before you realize the havoc and hurt your words can cause. Choose words well; use words wisely.

You possess the power to bless or curse; you can do either, but you cannot do both. Choose words wisely. James wrote, “No one can tame the tongue . . sometimes it praises our Lord and Father, and sometimes it breaks out in curses against those who have been made in the image of God. So blessing and cursing come pouring out of the same mouth – this is not right!” James 3:10.

Every time you use words positively you enhance their power; used improperly, you devalue their meaning. Sometimes slang and definitely profanity or vulgarity devalue the importance and strength of everything else you say. Their destructive power touches the one who speaks them and those who hear them – long after their sounds fall silent. That is true of the words you hear and read, as well as the words you speak. See Matthew 15:18 NLT. You live in a vulgar culture, increasingly profane. Civility and propriety are discounted as unimportant. Promises are defaulted; truth is compromised. Be decidedly different from the culture surrounding you.

Words have power. They strengthen or harm friendships, inspire or dishearten, encourage or discourage. Words of affirmation empower dreams in the heart. Words of doubt and disbelief predict fear and failure. All words have power; the more important you view person speaking them, the deeper and more lasting their effect on you. Jesus said, “The words that I speak unto you, they are spirit and they are life.” John 6:63. Let that be your objective as well. There is unimagined authority within your spoken words. John writes of those who “overcame the devil by the word of their testimony.” Revelation 12:11.

My fourth grade teacher, Mrs. Cook, taught me appreciation for words in a book about the origin of words. My Dad taught me the practical integrity of words, “A man is only as good as his word. Don’t say something you don’t mean.” The words of my Mom and Dad influence my life long after they were spoken; words can endure beyond lifetimes. The Bible taught me the enduring quality of Godly words, “Heaven and earth shall pass away, but My words will not pass away.” Matthew 24:35.

Life taught me the double-edged potential in words, “A gentle answer turns away wrath; but a grievous word stirs up anger.” Proverbs 15:1-2 NIV. Make every word count; weigh them carefully; share them gently. Here’s how God says this should work, “God wants you to grow up, to know the whole truth and tell it in love – like Christ in everything . . watch the way you talk. Let nothing foul or dirty come out of your mouth. Say only what helps, each word a gift.”  Ephesians 4:15/29 MSG. Each word can be a gift from God through you. My prayer is as David’s, “Let the words of my mouth, and the meditation of my heart, be acceptable in Your sight, O Lord, my strength, and my Redeemer.” Psalm 19:14. See Ecclesiastes 5:1-7 NIV.

My prayer for you today is that your heart will be pure and your words pleasing.

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Words Matter

May 30th, 2012

“No man ever spoke like this man.” John 7:46 NKJV

Popular culture is content with a plethora of words bearing a paucity of relevance.

My thoughts and comments today are that “words matter.”

Words really do matter, or at least they should. They are the tools of communication and the building blocks of understanding. They have the power to inspire or dishearten, to intrigue or confuse. Solomon viewed words that edify as, “A word fitly spoken is like apples of gold in settings of silver,” appropriate, valuable, and beautiful. Proverbs 25:11-13 NKJV.

Your world is daily bombarded with words, too many words too loud too much of the time, it often seems to me. This was Solomon’s conclusion, “The more you talk, the more likely you are to say something foolish . . In the multitude of words sin is not lacking.” Ecclesiastes 5:3 TEV/ Proverbs 10:19 NKJV. Due to a failure to value the quiet of one’s own thoughts and reflection, people surround themselves with uninterrupted noise as background, whether music or political commentary or their own voice. Whatever happened to the relaxation of sitting quietly and reading a good book?

Be advised that much of the words you hear are no more than opinions, too many of which are ill-formed or ill-informed. Opinionated voices seem to presume authority an ordinary person is not usually given, simply because they have the celebrity of a larger audience and more recognized reputation. People of some cultural notoriety – from fame or wealth or success – are not necessarily right or wise outside the parameters of their limited arena of achievement. Celebrity should not equate credibility. Popular culture is content with a plethora of words bearing a paucity of relevance. You cannot afford that to be true of you. Your words matter.

Jesus, “the Living Word,” understood that words matter. Jesus said, “The words I speak unto you are spirit and they are life.” John 6:63 NKJV. God’s Word is sovereign; His voice is singular, not to be compared or confused with any others. When Jesus’ teachings drew larger and larger enthusiastic crowds, the Pharisees felt threatened. To silence Him they sent Temple guards to arrest Him. At the Priests’ questioning of them upon returning without Jesus, the soldiers’ only explanation was, “No man ever spoke like this Man.” John 7:46 NKJV. How very true!

Jesus’ words made eternal difference in lives during His ministry, and the Word of God still has that same anointing today in hearts that love and obey truth. “When Jesus had finished saying these things, the crowds were amazed at His teaching, because He taught as one who had authority, and not as their teachers of the Law.” Matthew 7:28-29 NIV. When Jesus spoke, His words carried Heaven’s authority. Jesus’ words matter because He could say, “I don’t speak on My own authority. The Father . . gave Me His own instructions as to what I should say. And I know His instructions lead to eternal life; so I say whatever the Father tells me to say.” John 12:49-50 NLT. Do that and you will never go wrong. Don’t speak for God; let God speak through you.

Your voice matters to God; make sure your words bear His authority of truth. Intending to silence the young church, Jerusalem’s Jewish council, “They realized [Peter and John] had been with Jesus . . they commanded them not to speak at all in the name of Jesus.” Their response was as ours should be. “We cannot but speak the things which we have seen and heard.” Acts 4:13-20 NKJV. God’s Word should be so soundly and firmly in your heart that your words have the eternal consequence they could and should have.

My prayer for you today is that your words are life-giving and of eternal truth.

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