Do you have a problem with clutter? The kind I’m talking about is what Webster defines as “A confused mass of disorder.” Many people suffer from it and it’s the one thing that keeps us from experiencing God’s best--which is hearing Him. One only needs to look at the words of Jesus where He stated “My sheep hear my voice” to know that God wants to talk to us. However our hearing can be greatly hindered by clutter. Peter Lord states, “The road to effective communication with God is pitted and pebbled with obstacles and mined with dangerous deceptions that can cause you to stumble and fall.” That’s why it is so important that we hear and failing to do so presents great vulnerability. Because of this, what is the clutter that we wrestle with? To some it is unbelief. Many doubt that God would ever have a desire to talk to them. That being the case He could scream and they would never hear. Others are caught up in the state of busyness. They find themselves constantly overcommitted and on the run. Their subconscious motto is “If God has anything to say He had better hurry because there are things to do and places to go.” This problem seemed to be the one that Martha wrestled with while entertaining Jesus in her home. It was a struggle that eventually taught her God’s greatest desire is to be heard--not served. Even more so many suffer from the clutter of distraction. It may be the external sound of noise or the internal burden of guilt, the tantalizing grip of fear, the chalice of anger or the cesspool of sorrow. Multitudes fail to hear God because these distractions constantly stand in the way. Remember, it was fear and sorrow that caused the beloved sisters, Mary and Martha, not to hear the Lord regarding the death of their brother, Lazarus. In order to deal with the culprit of clutter we must consistently remain focused. To use the words of Peter Lord again, “There is never a time in this pilgrimage when focusing on him is not necessary.” The more we engage in this exercise the more sensitive we become to God’s voice. The clutter will turn to clarity and we will be able to say as did the young Samuel, “Speak Lord for your servant is listening.”
Sunday, August 18, 2013
In a park in California there is a rock hanging on a rope with a large sign next to it. Weather Station report "Check the rock if it’s wet it’s raining, if the rock is swinging it’s windy, if it’s dry it’s not raining, if you cannot see the rock it’s foggy, if the rock has been blown away it’s a tornado." This is a rather humorous story but presents to us a tremendous truth. There are times in our Christian faith when things look rather dismal, foggy and downright unpredictable. During those occasions it’s important for us to check the Rock. Before departing Jesus looked at His disciples and said, “Upon this rock I will build my church and the gates of hell will not prevail against it.” The church spoken of here is not one of steel, bricks and mortar but that of body, soul, and spirit—that fleshy composition which according to Paul stands as the temple of the Spirit of God. And the surface referenced is not that of bedrock used for earthy foundations. Being so, it does not matter what storms come or the weapons raised against us, we have the rock. That assurance is a much greater consolation than that of the advertisement of a certain insurance company that boasts about giving people only a piece of the rock. Jesus has given us all of himself and in no uncertain terms promised our continual victory. Because he has overcome so shall we. You may feel the circumstances are stacked against you; however reassurance will come as we look back to the resurrection. The tomb was sealed and guards stood watch over the silent Son of God. Yet on the third day neither earthly stones, fleshy soldiers, the power of the devil or death could hold him. He came forth in rambunctious power. The rock appeared unshakeable and un-shattered. So if you have any questions about your spiritual weather report just check the rock. In doing so you will find He still stands as a solid platform for all who put their trust in him.
Sunday, August 11, 2013
The young and immature Samuel lay sound asleep when he was suddenly awakened by a voice calling his name. Thinking it was Eli, he responded immediately in order to get direction. However, the sleepy priest had no words to relay—no orders to give. Thus, he instructed him to return to his bed. After the same actions were repeated, it was determined that the voice heard in the darkness was that God. Samuel was then given further instruction. “The next time you hear the voice, perk up and say, speak Lord your servant is listening.” This experience led to his being one of the best listeners in the Bible. As a matter of fact it is said of him that “he let no word of the Lord fall to the ground.” This meant he took the words of the Lord seriously grasping hold of each one. I would like to say that my words are treated with the same respect, however experience has proven otherwise. There have been those occasions when the response has been less than favorable. It kind of reminds me of a lawyer, a doctor, and a preacher who went hunting together. When a prize buck ran past they all fired at the exact same time and the buck dropped. The problem was that there was only one bullet hole and they didn't know which of them shot it. They decided to take it to the registration center, hoping the agent could figure out who could claim the trophy. The agent said, “Let me look at the deer. Sometimes I can figure it out.” He asked a few questions, examined the deer carefully, and declared, “The preacher shot this buck!” Amazed, the other two asked how he knew it was the preacher. Stooping down he pointed out the wound, “See here. It went in one ear and out the other.” There are those Sunday’s when I fire away but feel like the bullet passes through the congregation without finding a lodging place. Yet hearing the word of the Lord is so important. That’s why Jesus repeatedly said, “Whoever has ears to hear let him hear.” Our best chance at victory, liberty, hope and happiness comes when we realize the Holy Spirit positions us to hear the words of the Lord and when we do that those words are words to hold onto.
Sunday, August 4, 2013
I read recently that there are blind people that ski. They wear vests with the words BLIND SKIER on them and are assisted by a guide who skis beside or behind them giving specific instructions. The guide is never out of range where the skier cannot hear his voice and there are two forms of communication used to give assistance. One is the tapping together of two ski poles to assure the blind person that the guide is there. The other is the guide’s voice speaking simple instructions what to do next. Commands such as: “Go right. Turn left. Stop. Slow. Skier coming up on your right.” The only responsibility of the blind person is to have complete trust and immediate obedience to the commands. Peter Lord says, “Life is much like skiing downhill blind. We cannot see five seconds into the future. We cannot see the struggles and tears to come or all the other “skiers” who might run into us or we into them. But God has given us the Holy Spirit to be our Guide. Our only responsibility is to listen and obey. Before we can obey we must listen. To listen we need to know the voice of our guide.” No doubt this was the reason for Jesus’ most repeated statement, “He that has ears to hear, let him hear.” He used it 15 times. By doing so He stressed the importance of our hearing the one person who can assist us in our daily walk as well as in times of desperation--the Holy Spirit. During those occasions when you find yourself going down life’s ski slope with no sense of direction tune out everything and everyone else around you and listen to your Guide. His voice will give you every command needed to make a safe landing.