Listening to our Children

But the wisdom that is from above is first pure, then peaceable, gentle, easy to be entreated, full of mercy and good fruits, without variance, without hypocrisy.            James 3:17 ASV

When driving through a snowstorm or rush hour traffic it helps to turn on some easy listening music. The soothing sound of the melodies can calm our nerves and lower the intensity of our situation down so we can better focus. Now if you asked our sons who was that easy listening person that they wanted to talk to when they were in trouble; that would have picked their mom. It’s not so much that Nancy was easy on them, but she made them feel welcome to tell her their problems. She was easy to be entreated.

James tells us that we need to ask God for wisdom and that includes being easy to be entreated. Maybe some of us don’t make others feel welcome to share their troubles; because we don’t believe that God will listen to ours. But the amazing truth is that God welcomes us when we come with problems or even just small stuff that we struggle with. Always remember that God never asks us to do anything that He hasn’t already done Himself. He is easy to be entreated; willing to listen and ready to teach us to be easy listeners to others when they are in need.

The Whispers of God

And he said, “Go out and stand on the mount before the Lord.” And behold, the Lord passed by, and a great and strong wind tore the mountains and broke in pieces the rocks before the Lord, but the Lord was not in the wind. And after the wind an earthquake, but the Lord was not in the earthquake. And after the earthquake a fire, but the Lord was not in the fire. And after the fire the sound of a low whisper. 1 Kings 19:11-12

There are moments that God allows in our lives in which we are astonished to learn that God has been in control all along! Just like Elijah we have struggled because it has seemed as if our prayers have been denied. Then whether by some event or by a moment when a scripture verse leaps off the page as we are reading alone, God opens heaven’s window and whispers in our ear that He still has plans for us!

Our problem is that we have believed that some specific situation should work out a certain way or else all is lost. We cry and pray as thinking that things are completely out of control. In a way we are right. They are out of OUR control….but not God’s! Just as He did with Elijah there are times when God engineers strange situations in our lives like Elijah’s wind storm, earthquake and fire. After these pass, God certainly has our attention, and we fall silent and from that silence comes a still small voice. The Hebrew meaning reflects a calm such as when Jesus calmed the sea. “What are you doing here Elijah ?” God asked in that moment. What any of us are doing when God is finished is that finally we are listening. We’ve all got problems we want to talk about with God, but are we really listening to His voice? We will never hear the whispers of God until finally we listen, and in the calm after that storm, He has promised to show us way!

Listening or Hearing?

Then Jesus six days before the Passover came to Bethany, where Lazarus was, which had been dead, whom he raised from the dead.There they made him a supper; and Martha served: but Lazarus was one of them that sat at the table with him.Then took Mary a pound of ointment of spikenard, very costly, and anointed the feet of Jesus. John 12:1-3

Many years ago as we sat through an average Sunday service our pastor began to preach about the cross. First he described the terrible beating that Jesus received and then how the crown of thorns was pressed down on his head. “Next they took the nails” pastor went on, “And they drove them through His hands.” While we adults who had heard this message many times sat quietly; suddenly the stillness in the sanctuary was pierced by a tiny voice. “EEEW!” a little girl in the back cried out. The rest of us had heard the message. But in God’s eyes she was the only person actually listening to the message!

In our scripture passage today it seems that just like that little girl; only Mary seemed to be listening. Only she understood that Jesus would not be with them much longer. Jesus had told them many times that He was going to Jerusalem to die. But Mary who chose to sit at Jesus’ feet listening did something to give Jesus her best blessing while she still had time. Others people were celebrating and relaxing at the supper but Mary poured out her alabaster box of perfumed oil on the Master’s feet. Everybody listens to someone. Who you are listening to today? Filling the room we are in with the fragrance of the presence of Christ all depends on listening and then acting on the words of Jesus Christ!