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Have U Got Ears 2 Hear?

9 Jan

Our choir director, Tobin, told the choir about a night when his wife Lynette told their second son, Jonathan, to go up and brush his teeth and get ready for bed.

Boy with ToothbrushJonathan said,” No.

Lynette said, “Yes.”

Jonathan replied, “I don’t want to.”

So Lynette calmly explained that God wants us to honor our mother and father, and that obedience to mom and dad is an extension of our obedience to God ~ and sometimes a little boy just “has to do what mom says!”

Tobin was able to overhear them talking from upstairs, and when Jonathan passed Tobin in the hall on the way to the bathroom, Tobin asked him, “What’s up?”

And Tobin got a classic response in this teachable moment ~ “God told me to brush my teeth,” Jonathan said, “but I didn’t hear Him!” *

Jesus often used a simple phrase ~ “He who has ears to hear, let him hear” (as in Matthew 11:15). Jesus said this in Luke 14:35 after he related a story, a parable. He said we should listen and understand; we should listen with the intent of obeying God.

Jesus wanted us to give high attention to what was spoken because He wanted us to remember His words.

I was a daydreamer in elementary school. It seems I was always thinking about something else Girl Daydreamingwhile my teachers spoke. They might say something that would send my brain on a creative journey.  I remember one time in junior high history, my teacher talked about the Roman “circus,” and I started imagining a three-ringed circus with lions, dancing poodles, and a ballerina on horseback.

Or I’d take a few phrases the teacher said and I’d start alliterating them. (I still sometimes do that with my husband’s sermons.)

More than once, a teacher called me down for my daydreaming with a sharp, “Dawn Marie, pay attention!” And I can’t tell you how many times my mother said that to me, growing up. She’d say, “Do I need to wash your ears out with soap so you can hear me?”

As a result, I’ve learned to be alert when others speak. I catch not only their words, but the nuances of their phrases ~ always listening for the hidden messages that might be there.

Some people refuse to listen to Jesus’ words. They are tone deaf to the music of the soul. They don’t grasp His meaning.

Boy_EarsToHearThe truth is, God gives us “spiritual ears” (perception) to stay in tune with His words when we become His own. Others may hear Jesus’ words, but they don’t understand, because the words are “spiritually discerned” (1 Corinthians 2:14).

But how many of us believers hear and yet, like my Grandma Parks said, let the words “go in one ear and out the other”? We have ears, but we will not hear.

The scriptures talk about wasting words of counsel on fools. To a wise man, one word is enough,  but to a fool, a whole volume of chatter is insufficient to cause change. They have ears and “hear not” (Jeremiah 5:21) because they have “stubborn and rebellious hearts” (v. 23).

Throughout the Old Testament, God’s prophets cried out His to people who heard, but did not understand with the intent to obey … their ears were “heavy” (Isaiah 6:8-11) and they were rebellious (Ezekiel 12:2).  The people stopped up their ears “so that they could not hear” the prophets’ words of warning (Zechariah 7:11-12; see also Jeremiah 6:16-18). They only wanted to listen to others’ more comfortable, comforting words (Jeremiah 23:16-17).

We see this in the New Testament at the stoning of Stephen. He spoke to his attackers, but they covered their ears. They wanted to shut him up ~ they didn’t want to hear the truth (Acts 7:51-58a).

Those who truly love God also love the truth. They want to hear it and obey. Jesus’ sheep hear Woman Listening to Godhis voice (John 10:2-5). He doesn’t want our hearts to grow dull or our ears hard of hearing, because He wants to help us, heal us, and bless us (Matthew 13:11-17).

I love the words of Nehemiah 8:5-6. Nehemiah records that Ezra the priest read the Law of God to the people, and “the ears of all the people were attentive to the Book of the Law.” And when they paid attention, their response was to bow their heads and worship the Lord.

Listening to the words of God will do that to us.

  • We will understand what He has done for us.
  • We will be grateful.
  • We will worship Him.
  • And we will be quick to obey.

So … are you listening?

* Tobin’s story, used with permission

Ready for Some Action?

26 Jul

I (Pam) recently saw a list of “Ways to know you are NOT cut out to be a First Responder” (Police, Call 911EMT, or Firefighter).

One of the funny lines was, “When you see trouble brewing, your first reaction is to call 911.”

Running in to help when others run out is what people call heroic.  You might be surprised to know we each have a seed of the heroic in us.

Caleb ~ Harding SuperheroRecently, we were out kayaking  and our son Caleb, home for a few weeks from his football playing and engineer studying days at Harding University, spotted a kayak that had just flipped. He instantly power paddled across the San Diego Bay to rescue a frantic father who was desperately trying to hold his six-year-old son up and keep them both from drowning. Caleb single-handedly lifted up the kayak, emptied the water, flipped it over, rescued the son and placed him into the kayak, lifted the dad and got him back in the boat, and retrieved the paddles all before we could reach the location to help.

A very grateful father and son are still alive today ~ and Caleb’s mom and dad are very proud of this son who listened to that prompt from God and instantaneously obeyed the call.

Several years ago, our friend, Debbie Douglass ~ the guide for our annual Seasoned Sisters women only Caleb Kayakingkayak trip and an award-winning outdoor educator for the state of Alaska ~ trained Caleb and the counselors of Echo Ranch Christian Camp in water safety.

Years before this, Bill and I equipped Caleb through our Learner and Leader parenting program (which we outlined in 10 Best Decisions a Parent Can Make). We prayed and worked diligently with our very shy, quiet Caleb. The Learner and Leader plan helps parents weave character into their children year after year, one trait at a time. One of the first traits we impressed upon Caleb was initiative: “When you seen something that needs done, DO IT!” (Without being asked!)

Caleb’s education through Christian school and his decision to launch a Fellowship of Christian Athletes Huddle further prepared him to be a leader of action. And Caleb himself has guarded his quiet times and devotional life with God, so a quiet whisper from God is all it takes to get Caleb’s attention.

That day, that moment, all the preparations came together! The result was life saving! Watching it unfold is a treasured moment in my heart.

When asked about the decision to rescue the father and son, Caleb simply and quietly replied,  “I saw the boat flip. I knew what to do, so I did it.”

In a similar moment of decision, our friend, Captain Jack Collier, a police officer, was recently confronting a criminal brandishing a gun ~ pointed at Jack. In the face of losing his own life, Jack drew his weapon and arrested the man. His wife, Robin, later asked him, “Were you afraid?” He answered, “No, because I didn’t have to GET ready; I WAS ready!”

Pam&Dawn - LOLwithGod bookWe can be like Jack and Caleb. We can be ready for the time God asks us to step up, step in, or step Devotions for Women on the Goforward. That is really one of the main reasons Dawn and I wrote LOL with God: Messages of Hope and Humor for Women, and why I wrote Devotions for Women on the Go.

If we, everyday, prepare ourselves with a consistent quiet time with God, we will be ready when He calls us into battle ~ and the results maybe life-saving, life- changing, or life-altering for others.   

2 Timothy 4:2 gives a clear command: “… be prepared in season and out of season….” Luke 12:35 encourages, “Be dressed ready for service and keep your lamps burning.” And 2 Corinthians 9:3 shows how fellowship keeps us accountable to be ready: “But I am sending the brothers in order that our boasting about you in this matter should not prove hollow, but that you may be ready, as I said you would be.”

To aid my own readiness, I have quiet time baskets in many rooms in my home with Bibles, a journal, and a devotional in them. In addition, on my desk are several translations, several more daily devotionals, and journals. I also have the Bible on my smart phone and many devotionals are electronically delivered to my Inbox. I want the tools of being ready at my finger tips so I can dig into God’s Word. I want to be ready.

Are you ready?

Who Tells You What to Do?

6 Jul

Gate of HeavenPam and her husband Bill wrote, in Marriage in the Whirlwind:

I had a dream the other night that I was approaching the gates of heaven. I noticed Gate of Heaventhat there were TWO GATES to choose from.

Over the one at the left was a sign that said, “Men who have made their own decisions.” 

Over the one at the right, “Men who have been hen-pecked.”

In front of the right gate waited a line of men that stretched as far as I could see! In front of the left gate stood my friend John, all alone.

In amazement, I went up to John and said, “This is incredible. There is a huge line of henpecked men, and over here I find you standing all by yourself. Why are you standing here?”

John gave me a quizzical look and said, “I don’t know. My wife told me to stand here.” (1)

yes dear.[Note:  Actually, henpecked husbands are no laughing matter. Wives, we need to love and respect our husbands. But that humor makes a point… ]

No matter who you are, someone tells you what to do. Listening to and submitting to authority is not just a “women’s issue,” as so many think in the church. It’s a people issue.

Think about it.

  • The government has a good deal of input for sure.
  • If we work outside the home, our boss tells us what to do.
  • If we are wives living in the model of biblical womanhood, we submit to our husbands’ leadership ~ and though he can wisely listen to our counsel ~ ultimately, he makes the decisions. [Men are to listen to God as they lead women … they are to model listening and obedience.]
  • Authorities in our lives like the local police and highway patrol can tell us what to do when we travel in our cars, and judges can tell us what to do in court.
  • When we go to church, we listen to the pastor and other church leaders, expounding on the Word and will of God, and telling us what to do in order to live in righteousness and power.

No matter how independent we think we are, someone, somewhere, has the job of telling us what to do. It’s a fact of life. 

And we can have one or two responses.

We can allow their words to grind in our spirit and make us edgy, maybe even rebellious. We can resist and maybe even get angry: “Who are they to tell me what to do?”

Or we can keep our spirits soft and our hearts teachable. We can listen, consider, and stay humble. We can ask God for His truth in others’ words. We might say, “Help me hear with my heart, Lord, and understand Your voice behind theirs.”

I’ve had both responses in life ~ sometimes to the same person. It all depends on the condition of my heart at the moment. For example, sometimes I listen to my husband’s counsel, Continue reading

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