Posts Tagged ‘Listening’

Several months ago after reading how God came to Solomon in his sleep and asked him what he wanted i realized that the night hoursimages can be more that just for sleep. i found a pair of SleepPhones which are basically like a head band with two paper thin speakers in it and it’s bluetooth. So i began listening to music in my night time hours. i immediately noticed that i was less restless and that when i did wake up i would fall back asleep much faster. i have also found that in getting up at 4 to 4:30 am every morning i have not been tired once.

Beyond that i have an hour drive to work and an hour drive home and music is a part of every hour to one degree or another.

images-4Then my new job allows me to listen to music for the entire 8.5 hours that i’m there with ear buds of course.

For many years i have looked at several ways for me to take my every thought captive to the word of God and now i have found an additional application for it. i find that i have less thoughts to fight with and even the thoughts that do try to come are defeated much quicker.

All together i’m probably listening to music around 16 hours of every day. That’s 16 hours of the word being feed into my thoughts. i do find that listening with the SleepPhones and the ear buds works better for my purpose but listening otherwise still brings me results.

Inn case your wondering this is possible because of Pandora One with it’s ability to let me create a wide range of stations and thus music styles.

UnknownThe words says that God inhabits the praises of His people. That said, i’m pretty sure that whatever God is inhabiting leaves no room for anything else. my thoughts, my heart, my mind, my emotions, all inhabited by God makes for more peace than i have ever experienced.

With that said let me share with you a version of how this has worked for someone else. This is from one of the meandiam readers.

Ed asked me to write my story about listening to praise music through-out the course of my day.  When i think of praising the Lord, i think of the music leaders on the stage and trying to keep up with them.  i always wondered what it was like to be David and play the harp to the sheep as a young man and the way he worshiped God, i thought that was pretty cool.

i cannot keep a beat, i sing off key, when people ask me to sing louder  i tell them,  i do not want to be a distraction to anyone. They often tell me, make a joyful noise! My reply is always, it’s not “joyful”! It takes my full focus to watch everyone else clapping so i can clap on beat and i have always focused on the worship leaders to follow along.

i’ve had a rough 2014 to say the least, long story short…i realized that i had no real relationship with Christ. i believed in Him, but never really knew Him. Ed challenged me after i told him that i did not know how to praise God to start listening to praise music throughout the day and sing along. Immediately my defense went up and i said, i can’t sing out loud, that’s not right! GOD DOESN’T WANT TO HEAR ME SING! i can’t carry a tune, keep a beat or able to worship God at all. Ed said try it and see what happens. Fine i thought, after all i’ve tried everything else to try and fix my relationship with Christ, i’ll give this a shot.

 

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Katie says, “Sometimes it hits me like a brick to the head. my life has been kinda insane.” That’s the way i feel when i come to the end of a year and begin to take one of these inventories of my life. As a kid i lived in 19 different places by the time i was 18. As an adult i’ve had 23 different addresses over 42 years. i’ve started a dozen or so different businesses. i have traveled frequently to beautiful places. i have done most of the things i have dreamed. i have more than the necessities of life. i have been and continue to live a very exciting and blessed life.

Katie goes on, “To me there is nothing spectacular about this everyday craziness, it is just the result of following Jesus into the impossible, doing the little i can and trusting Him to do the rest.” As i look back at all the moves, new businesses, serving in full-time ministry, and all the travel, much of it was following God into the impossible. The rest of the much of it… was due to pursuing position, titles, finances… all the things i felt i missed out on while growing up. All the things that i thought would make me different.

It is only in the past few years that i have realized that i can do nothing incredible, but i can follow God into impossible situations and He can do incredible things through me.

Without giving away to much of the book by sharing all the background for these next words there came a very important realization for me. The book says, “Before long her reluctance turned into anxious enthusiasm and she became excited to be the person who would share this dream with me.” Katie is speaking about her mother agreeing to go with her on her first trip to Uganda.

images-2These words caused me to remember the people, whom became excited to share my dreams with me. Ann Marie my wife, best friend and love has been my rock. She has shared every dream with me, supporting me all along the way. While it would be understandable if she wasn’t always excited about sharing my dreams she has never shown it. If she has ever been reluctant it has been hidden by her encouragement for me to pursue the life i dreamed.

Listening to chapter 1 again assured me that it was God’s plan for me to read this book as Katie shares, “I saw strength and depth of character in people’s eyes.” i immediately recalled my focus prayer for this year, “Lord teach my eyes to hear before they see.” You can learn a lot about a person and their life by looking into their eyes and just listening.

Chapter one is filled with many thoughts but one that stands out for me is where Katie shares about bed time with her children. It would last about an hour as the children would sing with all their hearts, laugh, cry and pray. She describes it as simply being with Jesus and that she could feel the presence of God there more strongly than ever before. This reminded her that she had one purpose in Uganda and in life, and that was to love. Her words reinforce in me the very same thoughts, although i am not in Uganda, but where ever i am, i have one purpose and that is to love. Love God with all my heart, mind soul and strength. To love others as myself and i sense that this is where God is working in me through this book. i feel like Peter when i say, “You know i love you Lord.” And i do in spite of falling short many times. But learning to love to myself so that i can share it with others… well there has been the rub.

Luke 12:48 says “From everyone who has been given much, much will be demanded; and from the one who has been entrusted with much, much more will be asked.” i have been given much.

Chapter 1 of this story about “Relentless Love and Redemption leaves me with this.

images-1God is making it clear that this is the place… here in Florida, for an unknown amount of time, is where i am supposed to follow Jesus, obey Him , and make my best effort, with His gracious help, to treat people with dignity and care for them unconditionally.

 

 

At 10:25pm last night i got a call from my grandson Ethan. Papa, how do you hear from God? Honestly i was a little taken back by the directness of his question. It took just a moment for me to shake my head and grasp the magnitude of such a question from a 13 year old. i tried to imagine what might bring him to ask such a question but found no quick and easy answer.

I told him that i hear God most often through reading His word. Then he shared that he has been at church camp this week and they gave out bibles. He  informed me that he took one because he didn’t have one. How’s it possible that my grandson doesn’t have a Bible? He went on to tell me that the night before he had made a commitment to God and his mother to read the bible every night. My mind is just ready to explode, how do you hear from God, to having no bible, to committing to read every night!

He began to tell me how he wanted to hear from God regarding he and his best friends relationship. Details not required. He told me that as he was riding his long board home he saw a book laying on the ground. He picked it up and saw that it was a children’s book called A Boy And A Turtle. He had obviously left it on the ground because he said he was going back to get the book. After several minutes of huffing and puffing he again found the book and said he wanted to read it to me. Yep it’s now 11:00pm but there’s no way i’ll miss this opportunity.

All I can tell you is that it was incredible. If it wasn’t a word from God for him regarding his question to God to help him with his problem regarding his best friend then it most certainly was a beautiful simplistic picture for me as to things i have been reading, studying, meditating on and just pondering over in my mind.

The author of the book is Lori Lite and it’s sub title is “A Children’s Relaxation Story.” It’s so much more!

A boy sat watching a quiet pond. A rainbow danced at the water’s edge.

When i take time to be quiet i better recognize God and His promises (which are the Rainbow).

A turtle on the other side of the pond also noticed the rainbow.

There are others that will follow your lead as you take time to be still.

The boy removed his shoes and placed his feet into the warm water. He shut his eyes and imagined that the colors of the rainbow that filled the pond could also fill his body.

The promises of God will fill us when we sit in silence and dangle our feet in the water.

The turtle, curious about what the boy was doing, also put his feet into the warm water and shut his eyes.

People around you may be curious about what your doing as you read the word take steps to apply it.

The boy drew a breath of warm air in through his nose and felt all the stress of the day slip away.

When you are full of God the stressful things won’t seem stressful because you are being still and knowing.

The turtle also drew warm air in through his nose and gave a gentle sigh as he let the air out through his mouth.

As you breath out through your mouth you cannot speak you will not be able to grumble and complain.

The boy imagined that the color red was flowing up from the pond into his feet, making them float like petals on the water. The turtle also felt the red flow into his feet as he started to drift toward the boy.

We feel in red – ACTIVITY. The red ray furnishes provision for the physical body. It brings about:

  • energy
  • enthusiasm
  • interest and passion
  • security

The boy felt the red turn to orange as it traveled up his legs. The orange allowed his legs to relax and let go of their tightness. The turtle also felt the orange travel up his legs as he drifted closer to the boy.

Orange is a dynamic energy like red but more thoughtful and controlled. Orange brings about:

  • creativity
  • playfulness
  • exploration on a practical level
  • relief from boredom
  • equilibrium

The boy felt the orange turn to yellow as it warmed his stomach and chest. The yellow filled his body with an inner glow. The turtle also felt the yellow warm his body as he drifted even close to the boy.

Yellow is naturally associated with the sun itself, and so with its life giving and sustaining energy. Yellow enriches, lightens and activates many of the systems of the body. It’s bright sunny energy brings about:

  • clarity of thought
  • orderliness
  • memory improvement
  • better decision making skills
  • alleviates confusion

The boy felt the yellow turn to green as it touched his heart and poured into his arms and hands. The gentle green filled his heart with love and made his arms feel like blades of grass swaying in the breeze. The turtle also felt the green touch his heart and pour into his arms and hands as he drifted still closer to the boy.

Green is the merging of yellow (mind) and blue (spirit). It is located exactly at the point of color balance – midway between red and violet on the color spectrum. The human eye is able to recognize more variation in the color green than in any other color. Its energy contains:

  • harmony
  • sympathy
  • health
  • abundance
  • balance
  • growth and expansion

The boy felt the green turn to blue as it explored his neck and jaw. The blue felt peaceful, like the ocean rising with the tide. The turtle also felt the blue explore his neck and jaw as he drifted even closer to the boy.

Blue is the color of distance – oceans, skies, the heavens. The energy of blue helps us to look beyond the immediate environment, expanding our perceptions towards the unknown. Blue is the color of Divinity. It brings:

  • Peace and understanding
  • Enhances the easy flow of communication with yourself or others
  • Calms and relaxes

The boy felt the blue turn into purple as it swirled around his head. The purple washed all the thoughts from his head, leaving his mind completely still. The turtle also felt the purple swirl around his head as he drifted so close that his head touched the boy’s hand.

Purple is the ray of spiritual learning. It should be viewed as both a completion as well as a beginning of the energy beyond the visible color spectrum. Purple is a combination of both red and blue and this is key to understanding this color. It brings a stabilizing energy to the directness of red. It lends practicality to the undirected spaciousness of blue.

  • darker tones are associated with sorrow
  • deep purple signifies high spiritual attainment
  • pale lilac brings love for humanity
  • bluish purple brings idealism
  • sparks the imagination and inspiration
  • integrates other energies for healing purposes

The boy smiled, and together the boy and the turtle felt the rainbow’s colors embrace them in a soothing white glow.

They knew that they had experienced the wonder of color.

I think that this is experiencing the wonder of God, His promises and His word.

When we wait God embraces us in soothing ways and as for the white glow… we become clean and we begin to choose to not sin.

There are two ending i got. The first is that the turtle was actually God and as the boy sat quietly God came closer and closer while revealing himself in a greater way than the boy had known.

Second option is that the boy and the turtle experienced the reality of God and they became closer friends in doing so together.

Oh the lengths that God will go to speak to us! This makes me want to go across the street and dangle my feet in the pond.

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i’ve heard this over and over, and have said it myself as well, “i’ve struggled with trying to hear God’s voice concerning my future and where he wants me. i’ve searched for His direction and all i really want to do is His will. The problem is, i feel like i’ve had no response. What am i missing or doing wrong?

i don’t claim to have all the answers but, i can share from my experiences in dealing with these questions. Sometimes i’ve  made it hard. What i mean by that is sometimes i was “too spiritual” to hear what was actually in black and white and right in front of me. Example, as i was working a job and raising my children i used to constantly ask God about what he wanted me to do with my life.

Long after my children were raised i came to the conclusion that what He wanted me to do with my life at that time was work and raise my children. Earning a living and paying bills on time is important. Investing in my son’s and daughter’s character and godly upbringing was the highest item on God’s priority list for me. God was very practical and His will was clearer than i recognized.

So, now when asked by someone about knowing God’s will i tell them that the first question to ask themselves is, what are their current responsibilities and what is their life situation? Are they married? God wants men to be fabulous, loving husbands. If they have children, “Train up a child in the way he should go, even when he is old he will not depart from it.” (Proverbs 22:6). Nothing will have greater significance. Do i have elderly parents? If so help and assist them through their end of life.

An old saying says, “Bloom where you are planted.” That means, right where i am is filled with plenty of God’s will for my life. However, there are times when I’ve been at a crossroads and i could go several directions. In those instances i want to know which way is God’s choice.

In those times i need to look at what my natural giftings and desires are? i have things that i am good at, things that i have a passion for, or have some natural ability for. Early in my life i learned to not skip past these gifts but to develop them. Ann Marie went to a seminar one time and they told her to do what she enjoyed doing and then find a way to make a living at it. Looking for something harder or more complicated in order to serve God may just complicate the process or plan that He has already equipped me for.

When it comes to ministry, it is important to understand my spiritual gifts because that’s the area where God probably wishes to use me. Reading the gifts listed in 1 Corinthians 12:8-10; 1 Corinthians 12:28; Romans 12:6-8 and Ephesians 4:11 give us an idea of the value of the gifts that Christ gives to the Body of Christ. i have taken many gift assessment tests which have helped me identify the unique way God gifted me.

So…as i continue to search for God’s direction, i ask myself what do i LIKE to do? my career choice should match that and ministry may also involve that same thing. If i get along well with teens, then that’s a natural and maybe i should volunteer to help with Youth. i need to experience several of these possible passions by volunteering until something really hits home.

Sometimes other people have seen me much clearer than i have seen myself. i am never afraid to ask others what they think about me doing this or that. Get input from a few friends, the pastor or other church leadership, see what they see as your spiritual gifts.

Many people say that in asking God for direction they feel they have had no response. It’s during those times that i feel that God is silent because He’s saying, “ed you decide this one for yourself.” This is a silly example but i don’t need to ask God whether to go to the grocery store if the refrigerator is empty – i am to just go.

Now that I’ve said all that, i should be hearing God’s voice on a regular basis. God desires it; he is not trying to withhold himself from me and he does not delight in my frustration or confusion. God is speaking all the time but i need to learn to tune in to his frequency.

God speaks to me through His Word, through others, though my dreams, and most quite often through my circumstances. He also speaks to me directly in a still small voice right into my heart. Learning to tune out all the distractions and distinguish HIS voice verses my own voice or the voice of the enemy of my soul is possible and highly desirable.

A good way to begin is through journaling. Journaling is a spiritual exercise whereby you write out your thoughts, questions to God, and impressions from scripture and then also leave time for stillness and listening. Posting these blogs do that for me.

It’s up to me to still myself before the Lord and focus on Him. As i do i sense his heart and hear his voice. How do i avoid mistakes? First i slow down and don’t let so-called “once in a lifetime opportunities” rush me. i give time to the guidance of the Holy Spirit and ask for his help as i work through the process. i can also ask spiritually mature disciples to read my journaling as they can help me distinguish voices. A big one for me is to compare what i’ve write down as God’s voice against God’s Word. If it doesn’t match it’s not God’s voice. He never contradicts Himself or His written Word.

In closing, rely on God’s promise. “…and the sheep follow him because they know his voice. And a stranger they simply will not follow, but will flee from him, because they do not know the voice of strangers.” (John 10:4-5)

My ouch yesterday was two fold. First and most painful was no is the sunburn, secondly the lesson of not asking what the future holds as just last week or so God said, “Please do not ask about my plans.” “You can look if you like.” That came from The Odd Life of Timothy Green. A week later, on vacation, supposedly relaxing and i’m asking about the plans. Ugh!

Same trip to the pool and there was nowhere to sit but in the sun. I slipped off my Croc’s again, sat in my chair and covered myself from neck to toe in towels. Imagine that for a moment and get a good laugh. Here i am covered from neck to toe and everyone else there is wearing as little as possible. Oh well!

First time i took off my Croc’s and sat down, after slipping them under my chair so as to keep them out of the sun, even though there was no sun at the time. History was serving me. This time for whatever reason i did not slip them under the chair and left them exposed to the very hot sun. i went to put them on and well… everyone has experienced the result of such a foolish mistake.

But here is what came to me regarding this. i often leave my life exposed to whatever is going on. Regardless of what it is. Exposing my life to the “SON” has an effect as well. It can get very hot when i am being looked at by my Father. The nice thing is that gentle breeze, the Holy Spirit, makes the heat bearable.

Last month i studied the story of Pinocchio and one of the three lessons for me was that “Life does have strings.” Or i should say life has a cause and an effect. The cause for me was allowing myself to fall asleep in the sun. i live in florida, have been coming here for 12 years and should know better. The effect is that i have a very painful sunburn, which by the way i hate and have spent hours not getting one in the past. Ann Marie is saying that if my foot turns any bluer i need to see a doctor. Sure… like that’s going to happen! Although walking around with no shoes is somewhat painful as my foot is so swollen that even my sandals won’t fit.

i am tempted, but not surrendering to blaming it on someone else. i can’t go any further than that or i would be engaging in what i am not doing. It is my own fault for not being… whatever.

i realized today that the words about quietness are very appropriate for this time of my life. Example, recently i have been obsessed with telling people that i will not sign another lease for Onething Campus. Somehow i work it in to every conversation. Because i say that i open the door for everyone to ask, “What are you going to do?” i need an answer don’t i? So i start asking God “What are your plans for me?” God simply replies, “We have had this discussion and i asked you PLEASE!” “Don’t ask me about my plans.”

Ecclesiastes 5:2 says the same thing today that it said yesterday, “Be not rash with your mouth, and let not your heart be hasty to utter a word before God. For God is in heaven, and you ed are on earth; therefore ed let your words, be few!

Okay so lesson one from Saint Maarten is, Cause and Effect, cause and effect, cause and effect, i must get that into every thought.

Lesson number two, let my words be few, which will assist in the cause and effect effort.

Lesson number three, exposing my life to anything… has a cause and effect.

All three work together and have a certain degree of difficulty in accomplishing any one of them let alone all three as is clearly seen by these posts.