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Thursday, June 9, 2011

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

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"Ears To Listen"

"How great you are, O Sovereign LORD! There is no one like you, and there is no God but you, as we have heard with our own ears" (2 Samuel 7:22).

Man with big ears
I came across "the big ears" photograph to the right and have had some fun with using it for illustrative purposes. It is used in an advertising campaign for a local bank that stresses how well they listen to their customer's needs. In fact this statement from their website is good advice for all: "We want to hear what you are thinking to better understand your needs and expectations. We listen to your questions and concerns. By listening to you we believe we can better meet your needs."

We want the people we visit weekly, as their chaplain or pastor, to know that we listen and are genuinely interested in that which concerns them. Careful listening is hard in some settings, not only in the presence of loud machinery which we encounter in some of our companies, but also in the sense of giving undivided attention.

Although it is very important that we listen carefully to others, it is vitally more important that we listen and give attention to God! I want to hear His voice. And there are so many distractions! Sometimes life is loud, other times it just takes a lot of discipline to remain attentive to God's still voice!  May the Lord give us big spiritual ears!

Our daily verse is David's response to the prophet Nathan's revelation regarding God's plans for David and his posterity. It seems David was humbled and extremely moved by this revelation which came at the start of his years as king. His expression of praise is surely one of the greatest in Scripture.

However I want to focus on the last phrase in the verse, "as we have heard with our own ears."  David is perhaps reflecting here on his careful listening to the prophet's word to him in the preceding revelation. But I believe he might also be referring to all that He had heard throughout his life regarding God's greatness, sovereignty, uniqueness and exclusivity.

Are you listening today?  Did you pay attention when you read and studied God's Word this morning?  Or was it merely a cursory, obligatory reading?  When you pray do you focus on the infinitely intelligent God and use words and thoughtfulness that reflect this knowledge? I'm not saying that our extensive vocabulary or colorful phraseology impresses God, since  He fundamentally knows our thoughts and longings of our heart.  But each of us is capable of physically praying and reading the Word, even while our mind is wandering elsewhere making mental lists of that which has nothing to do with our quiet time!

I consider a beautiful song, "Speak O Lord." Today let us, like David, hear with our own ears and listen carefully to all that God is speaking to us!

Speak, O Lord, as we come to You
To receive the food of Your Holy Word.
Take Your truth, plant it deep in us;
Shape and fashion us in Your likeness,
That the light of Christ might be seen today
In our acts of love and our deeds of faith.
Speak, O Lord, and fulfill in us
All Your purposes for Your glory.

Teach us, Lord, full obedience,
Holy reverence, true humility;
Test our thoughts and our attitudes
In the radiance of Your purity.
Cause our faith to rise; cause our eyes to see
Your majestic love and authority.
Words of pow'r that can never fail—
Let their truth prevail over unbelief.

Speak, O Lord, and renew our minds;
Help us grasp the heights of Your plans for us—
Truths unchanged from the dawn of time
That will echo down through eternity.
And by grace we'll stand on Your promises,
And by faith we'll walk as You walk with us.
Speak, O Lord, till Your church is built
And the earth is filled with Your glory.

Be encouraged today,

Stephen & Brooksyne Weber

Praying manDaily prayer: Father, You know the thoughts and intents of our heart even before we think or speak them aloud.  Yet You direct us to be faithful in prayer so that we are in holy communion with You. You speak to us primarily through the Holy Scriptures, through Your creation,  through the divine appointments You schedule in our lives, and through those You use as messengers of the Gospel. May our minds be alert and our hearts attentive to that which You reveal to us, that we may give proper response. We pray in Jesus' name. Amen.

Jim is a friend in one of the companies where we serve as chaplains. He has this photo of his cat Jasper he has on his computer desktop. Apparently he looked over one day and saw Jasper looking up at him ready to listen!

Molly with teddy bearPuppy update:  Today's message calls to mind the need for a puppy update. Ester's puppy, Molly, is now 6 months old and really doesn't listen or obey very well although we think she hears just fine! She is into everything including digging. (Brooksyne will have a scaled down backyard garden this year due to this.) If we accidentally leave the gate open she darts out and it's quite a chore chasing her (she thinks it's a delightful game she invented).

However when it's nighttime we say "Goodnight Molly" and she runs  right up the stairs to Ester's bedroom into her crate.  She snuggles her teddy bear and listens to spiritual lullabies (such as the one linked below). Ester has the CD on repeat all night so we're hopeful the spiritual music will penetrate and, in time, help her behavior (wink - of course we know she's an animal). At about 5:00 AM she's ready to go again and lets us know it! The teddy bear she's clinging to makes her look sweet and innocent but notice the ornery look in her eyes.  She's probably thinking about sneaking out the gate tomorrow or turning her water bucket over after playing in it awhile.

Today's Suggested Music and Supplemental Resources

"Speak, O Lord"  Video  Credo   This is the song mentioned in today's message and a wonderful song to sing as a congregation prior to the reading and preaching of God's Word! Written by Keith Getty and Stuart Townend

"Be Still And Know"
 Video  Steven Curtis Chapman

"Be Still And Know"  Video  Scripture Lullabies

"Make My Life A Prayer To You"  Video  Keith Green

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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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