Listening

I have not heard an angel whisper
Or seen God in the night
No heavenly vision of the throne
Or His voice from shining light

But from my friends Mark, Luke and John
And Job and Esther brave
The news of life has come to me
In words upon the page

And ringing clear and strong within
My heart they start to grow
Revealing Father's heart in Christ
And His blood that freely flowed

Till I cried "Lord it is enough
To listen now today
As You write within my heart
Your Truth and Life and Way!

Listening by Peter Caligiuri. Copyright 2021 all rights reserved


Remember the Words

In all things I have shown you that by working hard in this way we must help the weak and remember the words of the Lord Jesus, how he himself said, ‘It is more blessed to give than to receive.’” Acts 20:35 ESV

When our boys were small, my wife, would often say to them, “Look at me when I’m talking to you!” She did that because she knew that the difference between them hearing and really listening. Just like millions of other boys before them, our sons were hoping she would just finish what she was saying so that they could get back to what they were doing. But Nancy, bless her heart, was way ahead of them because she knew something they didn’t. She had been a kid once and had tried the same thing! She knew that until they looked her in the eyes, that their minds were too busy to pay attention.

In that same way, when Paul was giving his final instructions to the leaders of the church he wants them to listen and focus on the words of Jesus. Note that Paul does not say, remember me, nor does he tell them to travel to holy places or keep special artifacts. He knew that the only thing that would carry them through difficult times and give life to the growing church was the words of Jesus Christ. But what is it about those words of Jesus that makes them so powerful?

If we go back to the book Psalms, King David tells us that He loves God’s words because they are the sweetest thing in life. They are not dry and tasteless like fast food. They are the gourmet delights of heaven! How sweet are your words to my taste, sweeter than honey to my mouth! Psalm 119:103

Secondly, the words of Jesus are important because they are different than the billions of words that have been spoken, printed or recorded in the memories of computers. The words of Jesus are more than just ink on a page or a digital fingerprint on hard drive because they have spiritual meaning and life giving power -the words that I have spoken to you are spirit and life. John 6:63. We will only understand them if as my wife told our sons, we look Jesus in the eyes as He is talking to us.

Last of all the words of Jesus are eternal and unchanging. We can count on them every day of our lives. That same persistence that Nancy used when she made the boys look at her as she was talking, she also put into practice when she checked if they had done what she had told them. “Mom can we go out and play?” they would ask. Her answer was always the same, “Did you clean your room like I said?’ One day Jesus is coming back and He will not ask us how many times we have been to church or how much we gave to the poor. What Jesus will ask is if we have kept the words that He gave us

Heaven and earth will pass away, but my words will not pass away. Luke 21:33

The words of Jesus are sweeter than honey. The words of Jesus give us power and life. The words of Jesus Christ will remain standing when heaven and earth will pass away. What better reason could we have than that to remember his words today?

Spiritual Bug Squashing

For if anyone is a hearer of the word and not a doer, he is like a man who looks intently at his natural face in a mirror. For he looks at himself and goes away and at once forgets what he was like. James 1:23-24 ESV

A few weeks ago I shared how on the farm I needed a flashlight to find my way out to the barn and how that is like God’s word being a lamp for our path. But sometimes God’s word also shows us some things on the inside of us that really aren’t so great. That reminds me of a recent incident coming into the bathroom in the morning and switching on the light. Suddenly I saw perched on the lip of our brand new sink, the biggest ugliest palmetto bug ever! It didn’t take more than a few seconds for me to usher our uninvited guest into eternity and thankfully though I looked high and low he hadn’t brought along any friends or relatives! Now you would think it pretty strange if I had simply switched off the light and gone back to bed. You would probably say, “That’s disgusting! You’ve got to kill that critter!” But I could reply. “Yeah but it’s so much easier to just go back to sleep.”

Now that’s a funny story and even if I thought going back to bed was an option, my wife would never let me get away with it. So let’s ask ourselves today, how often do we wake up in the morning, read our Bible and decide that flicking off the light seems easier than dealing with the issues it reveals? Now I admit that, the spiritual solutions to straightening out relationships, telling someone we’re sorry or paying back an overdue loan from a friend are all much more painful than getting rid of a palmetto bug. But James encourages us in the following verse that if we take action, God has a special blessing in store. Jesus doesn’t just leave us on our own to do all the spiritual bug squashing . Instead He comes along side with his Holy Spirit to show us what to do next. We must never forget to be thankful for the blood of Jesus that forgives our past sins. But we must also remember that God wants to shine His word in our hearts, so that as we walk up His pathway we can live a life for Him with the light on, both on the inside and out!

But the one who looks into the perfect law, the law of liberty, and perseveres, being no hearer who forgets but a doer who acts, he will be blessed in his doing. James 1:25