To Whom Do You Listen?

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September 1 (Proverbs 16:23)

The heart of the wise makes his speech judicious and adds persuasiveness to his lips.  (ESV)

Have you ever noticed that you tend to pay more attention to what some people say?  Their words somehow pierce right to your core or seem to have a weightiness to them that causes you to remember them and discuss them with others.  I have known many people like this, and on the surface they would seem to have nothing in common.  Some are older, some are younger, some are men, and some are women.  They have come from different walks of life and differing levels of education.  What they shared, however, was wisdom, and wisdom is a matter of the heart.

It is easy to spout advice.  Twitter, Facebook, and Pinterest would not last long if people did not like to share their opinions with others, and the books we find at conferences and conventions all contain what the speakers have thought and want us to know.  Which ones will you buy?  Which social media accounts will you follow?  Mere popularity is not enough to guarantee wisdom.  As you listen to and read the thoughts of others, consider what seems to be behind them.  Is it wisdom?  Is it a life that is walking in step with God?

And when it comes down to it, why do you give the advice you do?  Is it just to have something to say?  Is it to feel important or wanted or needed?  James 1:19 urges us to be slow to speak.  When you do open your lips, do the words that come out flow from a heart that has been transformed by Jesus, one that beats with His blood, one that can be a fount of His wisdom?

Lord, for all the questions in life, may I seek You only and always for the answers.  Help me to discern clearly and quickly when You are speaking through one of Your servants and when the counsel I hear is coming from a source other than You.  May all the words that I speak to help others be rooted in the One Who is truth, Jesus Christ, in Whose name I pray.  Amen.


The Deep Heart’s Core


April 28 (Psalm 27:8)

My heart has heard you say, “Come and talk with me.”
    And my heart responds, “Lord, I am coming.”  (NLT)

When I recently read this psalm, I was struck by how much it sounds like the call and response of the lover and his beloved in the Song of Songs, and suddenly my mind went down a poetic path.  The opening line of this verse reminded me of the last line in “The Lake Isle of Innisfree” by William Butler Yeats.  The poet has been musing on returning to the lake of his youth and concludes that even in the midst of the hustle and bustle of city life, the sound of the lapping waters comes back to him, for “I hear it in my deep heart’s core.”

Do you hear God that way?  Do you hear Him calling in your deep heart’s core, calling you to come and spend time with Him?  And do you find your heart yearning to do just that?  When I do, I often feel a pang of anguish for all that separates me from Him, and the words of John Donne come to mind.  “Yet dearly I love you, and would be loved fain, but am betroth’d unto your enemy.”  And who is that enemy?  At times it is nothing more than the mundane demands of life, which William Wordsworth lamented when he wrote, “The world is too much with us; late and soon, getting and spending, we lay waste our powers….”

Yet God has also said in Revelation 3:20, “Behold, I stand at the door and knock. If anyone hears my voice and opens the door, I will come in to him and eat with him, and he with me.”  He is always standing at the door and knocking.  He is always calling to us in our deep heart’s core.  And what is it God wants?  It is simply to talk and spend time with us, His beloved children, the ones He created in His own image.

Father, You have done everything in our relationship.  You are the one who has approached me.  You are the one who made it possible to talk directly with You thanks to the work of Jesus.  If I find myself apart from you, then the words of the old blues song ring true.  “Ain’t nobody’s fault but mine.”  Today I take You up on Your call, Father.  Today I am setting aside time to be quiet and to talk with You.  Amen.

A Divine Conference

January 27 (Romans 8:27)

And the Father who knows all hearts knows what the Spirit is saying, for the Spirit pleads for us believers in harmony with God’s own will.  (NLT)

God talks to Himself about you.  Did you know that?  The Greek verb for “pleads” in this verse means to meet with, to get together with, and since the Holy Spirit is God, this means that God talks to Himself about you.

Imagine this scene.  You’ve applied for a job and have met with one of the heads of the company who says, “Wait here while the board talks this over.”  As you sit outside the closed room, you know that everyone inside is talking about you.  They all have copies of your resume and references.  They also know what the company is all about and are now talking about you and your potential role.  Now, what if every single board member and executive was your close friend, or better yet, a close relative?  How confident would you feel?

Friends, that is what it is like for us with God.  He knows His own will perfectly.  He knows exactly what He wants to see happen in His creation and what He wants you to do in it.  More than just knowing your resume, He knows you, inside and out.  On top of that, He loves you deeply and longs to see you flourish just as He designed you to do, playing the role you were made to play.  And so God talks to Himself about you.  I ask you again.  How confident does that make you feel?

Father, I often lay out a long list of things to you…fears, worries, concerns, dreams, hopes, problems….  Today I ask You nothing.  Today I will rest in the confidence that the Holy Spirit is already interceding on my behalf and in a way that is in harmony with Your perfect will.  Today I will simply thank You and wait to hear what You have to say to me.  Amen.