Vol. 3, No. 39
So faith comes from hearing, and hearing by the Word of Christ. Romans 10:17
I love reunions; they are fun, funny, festive, and familial. Did I say fun?
There is a story that goes around about a reunion. Three generations attended this family reunion. They decided to tape the get-together, especially the dinner time. In the midst of the feast, a puggy little five-year-old screamed out at the very top of his lungs:
Pass the butter!
There was complete silence. Immediately the embarrassed mom hastily sends him to sit in a corner. Later that night, the grandparents were playing back the tape recording from the meal and discovered that little Tim, five times had quietly asked for the butter – five times all the adults were too busy talking and caring only about themselves; not listening to little Tim.
Most of us want our faith to grow; all of us know the power of the Word of God; few of us have developed the art of listening, hearing, and hearkening to the voice of God.
In our tradition we exalt the ministry of lecture in our teaching; even waiting until the end of the “lesson” to ask if anyone has a question or comment. The problem with this is that “listening” is not complete. There is ministry in listening; listening expects response. One elderly teacher told me: “I regret that often I have spoken; but I have sadly placed my listeners in a mode of silence.”
Just as love to God begins with listening to His Word, so the beginning of love for the brethren is learning to listen to them. It is God’s love for us that He not only gives us His Word, but also lends us His ear. So it is His work that we do for our brother when we learn to listen to him. Christians, especially ministers, so often think they must always contribute something when they are in the company of others, that this is the one service they have to render. They forget that listening can be a greater service than speaking. –D. Bonhoeffer, Life Together
Listening expects response but is disallowed when the other does all the talking.
There are at least three steps in listening to God:
1. We must have a disposition to listen. It is easy to talk; difficult to listen. Listening is intentional (1 Samuel 3:10)
2. Hearing also demand an element of devotion (1 Samuel 3:19)
3. Hearing has a discipline attached. What do I do with the correction, suggestion, command, criticism, or even rebuke as I read, hear, study, and listen to the Scripture? How do I respond to what I hear?
Let every man be swift to hear; slow to speak. –James 1:19
Just a “Programming” note:
The next scheduled blog is for October 7, 2018. You will note as you go shopping that the Christmas decorations are already out, Amazon is already geared up, and you have received your L.L. Bean catalog along with several other mailings. The charities are at full-throttle. Christmas for these folks is already here.
Actually, Christmas for the Christian has been here for some time.
I want to begin to address Christmas in a unique understanding for 2018. Last year, I read a 31-day devotional by Paul Tripp, Come Let Us Adore Him: A Daily Advent Devotional. As I read the devotional, I was stunned with its teaching and how it drew me to the Lord’s presence.
I want to take include some excerpts from those devotionals and share them as a little twist to our Christmas preparations. I highly recommend Paul Tripp’s devotional.
I am going to read that devotional again this year. I hope you will join me with this. Further, Perhaps you will consider buying the devotional book – it is even available on Kindle. This would be one of the great book purchases for your life; so focused on God’s Word, and with clear applications for our current lives.
God bless you and your family as we begin our travel toward the end of our 2018.
Dr. Larry Lightner