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Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Kudu (Photo by Kevin Walsh)
Young Kudu from Kenya Africa
"My, what big ears you have!"
(Photo by Kevin Walsh)

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"Hearing And Attentive"

"The righteous cry out, and the LORD hears them" (Psalm 34:17). "The eyes of the LORD are on the righteous and His ears are attentive to their cry" (Psalm 34:15). "Surely the arm of the LORD is not too short to save, nor His ear too dull to hear" (Isaiah 59:1).

It seems that over the past couple years Brooksyne and I are beginning to repeat a frustrating phrase common to people in the aging process, "What did you say?" or "Speak up, I can't hear you!" This past Friday Brooksyne officiated at a funeral service for Pat Newport, the father of our friend Deb, who works in one of the companies we serve as chaplains. Deb's son told a humorous story about him
at the service that she gave us permission to share:

Deb lived with her hard-of-hearing father, Pat, for ten years. One afternoon she stepped outside his house onto the porch to watch a gathering storm. Pat, not realizing she had stepped outside, noticed the door was unlocked and proceeded to lock it as was his habit day or night. He then sat down and began to watch one of his favorite television shows with the volume turned way up, of course.

The wind was blowing furiously and the dark storm clouds were about to release a heavy downpour so Deb headed for the door only to find that it was locked. Seeing her dad through the window she yelled repeatedly, banged on the window, and became very animated trying to get his attention as he sat there clueless watching TV.

When all else failed she remembered that she had her cell phone though she wasn't certain that it would help. Due to Pat's hearing loss he could only hear bits and pieces of conversation such as one time when she called him and said, "Dad, this is your daughter," to which he replied, "Who is this? I don't need any water."

But in desperation she gave him a call. When he answered she said, "Dad, this is Deb." He went right to the door, unlocked it and yelled out, "Deb, you're wanted on the phone."

Verizon manAnyone who’s ever talked on a cell phone knows the frustration of a bad signal. You're likely to move toward a window or talk louder and ask, "Can you hear me now?" Of course that phrase became a famous ad slogan that Verizon has run for many years. It features a geeky technician sent to the most inaccessible places with a cell phone repeatedly asking, "Can you hear me now?" (Not surprisingly, he never gets a bad signal.)

I am so thankful that an immutable (unchanging) characteristic of God is His ability to always hear us. We don't need to cry out "Can you hear me now?" for the Scripture forthrightly declares, "The righteous cry out and the LORD hears them." The Lord always hears the cries of His children. No bad signals, spotty coverage or low batteries.

But our compassionate Lord doesn't just hear us; He is attentive to our cry. "The eyes of the Lord are on the righteous and His ears are attentive to their cry" (Psalm 34:15). The apostle Peter quotes this Psalm in his letter of encouragement to early Christians (1 Peter 3:12).

Kneeling manBut what of the times when the heavens seem as brass and we don't feel like we're getting through to God. Most all will testify to having these feelings at times. "Nothing speaks to us louder than the apparent silence of God." I consider the title of a book by Francis A. Schaeffer that I read while in Bible College titled, "He Is There And He Is Not Silent."

The key I believe is a firm knowledge of what God's Word says. There is a multitude of Biblical references to God hearing the prayers of His children. We can emphatically and confidently say when we call out to God, "Father, I know You hear me and are attentive to my cry!”

Be encouraged today,

Stephen & Brooksyne Weber

Daily Prayer: Father, surely Your arm is not too short to save, nor Your ear too dull to hear our prayers. Our iniquities have separated us from You, Father, so we repent of those things that have distanced us from a holy God. May our faith be renewed and our resolve to follow You be firm as we call upon Your name. We desire to walk, not in our own finite wisdom, but in the infinite wisdom of Almighty God whose understanding knows no bounds. May we be found faithful as we call out to You, for we know You hear us. Amen.

Study note: Today's first Scripture text is an example of what is theologically known as an anthropomorphism. Biblical anthropomorphism is when human characteristics, such as "ear" or "arm" are projected on God. The Bible has examples of God referring to Himself in anthropomorphic terms and the biblical writers referring to God in anthropomorphic terms such as in today's text -- the purpose being to describe God in terms more understandable to humans. Without anthropomorphism, since God is invisible and immaterial, we would not have a framework on which to understand Him.

Ken Pierce 40th birthday partyWe went to a birthday party for our friend Ken Pierce, who is celebrating his 40th birthday. Ken is quite a ham and he got out a truck he's had since early childhood. He still has the original box it came in. His wife Nila had planned the surprise party and had a number of  friends and family over.

David and Seth in wagon
Ken and Nila's two sons, David and Seth, being pulled in a big red wagon, along with Roxie, warily walking alongside them.

Today's Suggested Music and Supplemental Resources

Click on the link to open and play.
(In some cases you may also need to click again to start the song.)

"I've Never Been Out Of His Care"  Video  Dallas Holm

"Open Our Eyes Lord"
  "Open our ears Lord and help us to listen" This was a popular chorus we sang back in the 80's in our church services.

"All Creation Worships You" (Audio)

Today's photo of the big-eared Kudu
is found here and was used for illustrative purposes.

Two corrections: Yesterday we shared the lyrics to a hymn titled "How Sure the Scriptures Are".  Brooksyne mistakenly noted that it is sung to the tune of "Crown Him With Many Crowns". Actually the lyrics are more easily sung  to the tune of "Rejoice the Lord Is King".

An alert reader from South Africa pointed out that the correct reference to a verse used in our prayer was Psalm is 25:4,5 not Psalm 24:4,5 as posted. We are blessed by such careful readers! Not only is our hearing slipping; we're also getting a little dyslexic when writing numbers!  See here.

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Scripture references are from The Holy Bible: New International Version. © 1984 by International Bible Society; NEW AMERICAN STANDARD BIBLE®, Copyright © 1995 by The Lockman Foundation, New King James Version (NKJV) Copyright © 1982 by Thomas Nelson, Inc. and the King James Version.

Personal Mission Statement: "I am created by God to bring Him glory. Through God's Son Jesus Christ I have been redeemed and I make it my life's goal to please the Lord. My mission in life is to honor God through my faith and obedience and to prepare myself and all whom I may influence for eternity."

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