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Posts Tagged ‘listening’

John 14:16
“And I will ask the Father, and he will give you another Counselor to be with you forever— the Spirit of truth…”

Why do we seek counsel? Isn’t it usually to determine some truth in a matter?

There are lots of opinions about truth and it gets particularly dicey when we add adjectives to the word. For instance: absolute truth, subjective truth, universal truth, relative truth, or objective truth (just to name the big ones). I have even seen truth parlayed with just an article or a preposition, like “the” truth, or “a” truth, or “some” truth.

If you want to read more about truth, just check out Wikipedia for an extensive list of “theories” about truth, written by an equally long list of philosophers.

I don’t think I can compete with any of these definitions or understandings. I am neither a theologian nor a philosopher. I just like the idea that truth is a counselor. When I am confused or conflicted, I am being promised here that truth will be help me sort things out. And according to Jesus, Truth lives with me and within me.

Truth asks the hard questions. Truth guides my thoughts. Truth is my mirror. Truth listens. Truth is playful. Truth is orderly. Truth accepts where I am today but hopes for a better tomorrow. Truth knows the worst of me and never turns away. Truth is in the revelation business and the “Aha!” moment: like now.

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John 9:22
His parents said this [about the miracle] because they were afraid of the Jews, for already the Jews had decided that anyone who acknowledged that Jesus was the Christ would be put out of the synagogue.

I have a problem with silence in general. I don’t mean keeping the silence, at least, that’s not my norm. Nope, I am a great talker. I am a typical “extrovert” and “A-type” personality. I fill space and time with talk. I talk to think. I talk fast. And as I’m talking, I’m watching the reaction. If what I have said seems to have offended in some way, I just keep talking until the other person’s body language settles down. I can usually talk myself in and out of trouble.

And yet, there are times I keep silent. If I fear my place in the scheme of things might be at risk, I do hold back. I think this is a poor reason to be quiet. It’s not so much choosing silence as it is choosing not to speak. There’s a difference.

If we are silent for fear of reprisals, that’s not the right motive. If we are silent because we have self-edited and decided our opinion will not have value, this is not the right motive. If we are silent because we don’t want people to know who we are or what we really think, this is not the right motive.

The best silence is the one for listening. The next best silence is the one we choose to avoid sin: gossip, hurtful remarks, and angry outbursts. But being silent out of fear is a bad habit.

Today, I want to look at the silences and examine their source.

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John 7:45
Finally the temple guards went back to the chief priests and Pharisees, who asked them, “Why didn’t you bring him in?”

These were professional soldiers; they were sent to the outer courts of the temple to arrest Jesus. But apparently, something happened when they got there.

There is so much left out of the scriptures. We’ll never know what teaching of Jesus thwarted their plans. We’ll never know how many guards were sent. We’ll never know if their hearts were permanently changed. But we do know they started with one mandate and once they encountered Jesus, their orders were tossed aside. When they returned to the priests, they couldn’t even articulate what he had said, just that they had never heard anyone speak like that.

I believe God is speaking like this every day, but we fail to take in His words or His message. Perhaps we do listen while we are present with Him, but then, we go about our day as though nothing special happened. There is even a scripture that captures that phenomenon: “Anyone who listens to the word but does not do what it says is like a man who looks at his face in a mirror and, after looking at himself, goes away and immediately forgets what he looks like.” [James 1:23-24]

Keep me mindful today. Keep me sensitized to the voice of Jesus within.

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