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Thursday, May 28, 2015
Yesterday we passed this Amish buggy near Smoketown, PA. A little girl has a great vantage point watching the passing traffic from an open window in the back. That prompts a long ago childhood memory when my dad got a station wagon with seats facing the back which I thought was so neat!
Note: Following our chaplain work today we are heading to the Pocono Mountains to ride bikes on a trail along the Delaware Water Gap on Friday and on Saturday we will be taking the Lehigh Gorge Scenic Railway for a train ride up the gorge and we will ride our bikes 25 miles back down the gorge. We also plan to hike a portion of the Appalachian Trail (or as I often tell people "walk at least the entire width").
"The Peril Of Being Listening Impaired"
Due to travel a podcast was not prepared for this message
"Go now to your countrymen in exile and speak to them. Say to them, 'This is what the Sovereign LORD says,' whether they listen or fail to listen" (Ezekiel 3:11).
We took care of my mother in our home during her final years before she passed away in November 2005. Many of us will be at this season of life at some point and a regular topic of discussion in our chaplaincy is dealing with those caring in one way or another for an elderly parent. It can be a real challenge, for parent and child, and Mom had many physical difficulties her last year.
We do recall many humorous moments though. Like many elderly she was hard of hearing but never wore hearing aids nor did she think she had any need for them. Once I was speaking to her and got progressively louder since she wasn't responding. She put her hands to her hips and said with exasperation and in all seriousness, "Stephen, I'm not deaf, you know! My hearing is just fine – you just need to stop mumbling."
Now in my mom's case she tried hard to listen and excelled in her attentiveness. To this day I am sure readers who knew her will testify to one of her strengths; that of expressing personal interest in people's everyday lives. She really tried to listen but as she aged physically she just couldn't hear well.
But let me extend a challenging question to all; How well do we listen to God and His messengers? I consider a well-known preacher who for many years has had a habit of regularly punctuating his sermon, at various points, by saying to his listening audience, "Now listen." Indeed that is such an important reminder.
Today's Scripture is a call to the prophet Ezekiel to be a faithful watchman in giving God's message to the exiled people, "This is what the Sovereign Lord says…" He was to speak God's message "whether they listen or fail to listen."
In the English we properly make a distinction between hearing and listening. One can hear without listening. By "hear" we mean in the physical, audiological sense. It may even be loud but we don't necessarily listen! My Mom had trouble with hearing, not listening. She had a common condition in aging also referred to as hearing impaired.
But today let us consider the peril of being "listening impaired".
The Hebrew word for "listen" in our passage is "shama." It conveys the sense of hearing intelligently with implication of attention, obedience, etc. The basic thought is that of effective hearing.
The Expository Dictionary of Bible Words makes this observation regarding this word: "The call to listen to God, which runs as a bright thread throughout the Old Testament, is a call to know what He said, to grasp the meaning of what He said, and to respond by putting God's Word into practice." A wonderful example of this type of listening is found during a period of revival when Ezra read the Law to the people and they "listened attentively" (Nehemiah 8:3b).
God's call to Ezekiel forthrightly acknowledges that some will listen and some won't. That's a good word of encouragement for preachers and all faithful witnesses today. We may get discouraged at those who show no indication of listening as we seek to earnestly expound God's Word or give a witness for Christ.
Today I pray that God will help each of us to truly listen to His message and heed His words as we wholeheartedly serve Him. Let us be on our guard against the peril of being "Listening Impaired".
Be encouraged today,
Stephen and Brooksyne Weber
Daily prayer: Father, it's interesting that we often plead for Your attention and certainly expect You to listen to our prayers and You assure us through Your word that You hear us when we call on You. But for true fellowship to exist we too must listen to Your voice through Scripture, through fellow believers, through Your many works of creation, and through Your still small voice that beckons our attention. You have so much to tell us that will often encourage us, sometimes reprove us, but always spur us on to good works and needed spiritual perspective as we journey here below. Help us to listen, to heed, and to be steadfast in our fellowship with You. In Jesus' name we pray. Amen.
Brooksyne's note: Attitudes that could contribute to being "listening impaired" might include, "I've already heard that a thousand times" or "Not now. I'll deal with that later." Many are deluged with so many electronic gizmos that are first priority from the time they rise to the time they retire. Have you ever looked forward to going out to dinner with a friend(s) so you can catch up on each other's lives only to play second fiddle to their cell phone in the car, at the dinner table, etc. You get to feeling like you're much less important than the folks they're constantly chatting with on the phone. I wonder if that's how God feels when everything else is given priority over our time alone with Him so that we intentionally listen for His direction.
Robin family update
Ester is at it again taking these photos yesterday. My, do they grow up fast! She's appreciated the nice comments sent her way about her recent photos.
Mama Robin has sure been busy!
Today's Suggested Music and Supplemental Resources
"I Will Listen" Video Twila Paris This note from the YouTube uploader: "From Twila's 1998 album "Where I Stand", a song about listening to God's voice. We should always be attuned to the voice of God, perhaps subconsciously. But particularly after we pray. Many people make the mistake of praying but then missing the answer because they weren't paying attention. Others get impatient and give up on God and do things their own way. So, we need to have "patience to wait, when there is nothing clear", and when there is "nothing to see, still we believe".
"Come and Listen" Video David Crowder Band
"Leaning On You, Jesus" Video Christy Nockels
"O The Blood" Video Brooklyn Tabernacle Choir
We often share how our border collie, Mollie, likes to catch frisbees. Yesterday afternoon Brooksyne was tossing her a frisbee and it got caught in the tree (pink at top of photo). Mollie will bark furiously till something is done so Brooksyne who was raking weeds at the time threw a rake up to joggle the frisbee to the ground. Now the rake needs joggled loose from the tree. Mollie was not impressed!
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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 make it my life's goal to please the Lord. My mission in life is to honor God through my faith and obedience and prepare myself and all whom I may influence for eternity."
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