Categories
Christian Living listening

Selective Listening

It happens every 4th of July – Independence Day here in the USA. In our little hamlet it’s perfectly legal for folks to shoot off fireworks, on the streets and from their back yards. And each passing year the relentless noise seems more startling to my sense of well-being. Time to break out the ear plugs.

So I’m sitting at the kitchen table (plugs in) surfing the net, when my wife comes in and starts rummaging through a cabinet drawer. She looks my way and says something unintelligible. I respond, “If you’re telling me something right now I can’t hear you.” She starts laughing, because she was chiding me (kindly) for misplacing the ink pen that goes in the drawer. Confession: I occasionally employ something called “selective spousal listening.”

This whole scene made me think of something God said to Israel during the prophet Isaiah’s time.

Don’t think the Lord is too weak to save you or too deaf to hear your call for help! It is because of your sins that He doesn’t hear you. It is your sins that separate you from God when you try to worship Him.

Isaiah 59:1-2 (GNT)

Here’s an experiment: Watch television for a week and count the number of times you hear the word “sin.” I suspect you won’t run out of fingers. Transgression of divine law isn’t something the world cares to talk about. But why?

Somehow we know instinctively there’s nothing wrong with God; the wrong is in us. Sin damages our fellowship with our Creator and disrupts the ability to communicate with Him. This causes even unbelievers to scurry for the shadows (John 3:19-21).

Have there been times when you’ve tried to talk with God, but it felt like He wasn’t tuned in? Me too. “Child, if you’re telling me something right now, I can’t hear you.” Of course the Lord isn’t deaf. But He occasionally employs something called “selective divine listening.” Our unconfessed sin plugs His ears.

Thankfully, there is a solution:

If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness.

1 John 1:9 (NIV)

God always listens to prayers that start with, “Sorry, Lord. It was my fault…”

A Parting Thought:

Jesus often slipped away to spend time alone with God (Mark 1:35). He also led a sinless life (Hebrews 4:15). Is there a connection? You and I will never be sinless–this side of heaven. But we would do well to follow Christ’s example.

🙏❤️ prayers and love.

Photo by Khoa Vu00f5 on Pexels.com

Categories
Christian Living evangelism

Skateboarders Welcome

The young man was standing like a statue on the shoulder of a busy four lane highway. He appeared fixated on something at a church next to the road.

Driving closer, I saw the skateboard. “Oh, I bet he’s looking for a good parking lot to ride.”

But he took off –kicking his way down the emergency lane of a major thoroughfare.

When I passed him I noticed: no helmet, no pads and no reflective clothing. The cherry on top was a huge pair of headphones over his ears.

The kid was flirting with disaster.


How many people do we happen upon daily who are, at least spiritually speaking, skateboarding next to a highway? No helmet of salvation, no shield of faith (elbow and knee pads) and no reflective clothing (belt of truth). – Ephesians 6:13-17 (NIV)

They stop and stare at churches, while huge headphones blast their favorite tunes.

What are they thinking?

“Is someone like me welcome here? Oh, there’s an “Absolutely No Skateboarding!” sign. I’d better keep kickin’ down the highway.”

In full disclosure, I saw no sign that said not to skateboard at the church. But such things have happened. God’s people could (and should) have a greater positive impact on the world.

But how?

A good first step is to offer a place where people who are flirting with disaster feel welcomed. Somehow we must convince folks that the church is safer than the shoulder of the highway. The power of the gospel can do this–prompt a person to leave the four lane for the narrow path.

But we must be the hands and feet of Christ; and this involves a willingness to get these hands and feet dirty.

“You are the light of the world. A city on a hill cannot be hidden.

Jesus – Matthew 5:14 (NIV)

Do you know how I feel right now, and will feel until Christ’s life becomes visible in your lives? Like a mother in the pain of childbirth.

Paul – Galatians 4:19 (MSG)

Photo by Marc Kleen on Unsplash

Categories
Christian Living restoration

Lord, Raise the Gates!

A fire sprinkler head broke the other day in the ceiling of a gymnasium at my school. Water came pouring down, soaking the gym floor and flooding an adjacent hallway.

Somehow, the break tripped the fire alarm, causing two huge metal doors to come down on either end of a long hallway. The main wing of the school was no longer easily accessible from the classrooms. The office, library, gyms and cafeteria were all blocked. The only way to get to the heart of the building was to walk around from outside.

Maintenance workers tried all weekend to raise the doors, but to no avail. The building was safe, but the fire suppression system thought there was still a problem. So the doors stayed down.

Here’s a picture I snapped of the hallway. There was this, “The mall is closing now,” vibe about the whole scene.

As the day wore on, with no solution in sight, I heard myself pray, “Lord, raise the gates!” As soon as I said this it hit me, “Hey, that’s straight outta scripture!”

“Lift up your heads, O you gates; be lifted up, you ancient doors, that the King of glory may come in. Who is the King of glory? The Lord strong and mighty, the Lord mighty in battle.” – Psalm 24:7 (NIV)

A few hours later, two men from the company that installed the alarm system came to the rescue. They patched into a computer, which controlled everything, and the doors were up in no time!


Has something ever been broken between you and someone else? Between you and God?

In such circumstances the doubts can come pouring down— flooding your heart.

When this happens, the suppression doors often lower as well—cutting us off from others AND God. They’re meant to protect us. And they do…for a time. But occasionally the doors get stuck in the down position, even after it’s safe again.

If anyone wants to reach your heart they must go around the long way.

You want to raise the doors, but it’s complicated. So they stay down.

With people this is impossible, but with God all things are possible.

Jesus – Matthew 19:26 (NASB)

Lord, raise the gates!

Here are some of my favorite “Raise the Gates” scriptures. Please share one of yours!


“God can do anything, you know—far more than you could ever imagine or guess or request in your wildest dreams! He does it not by pushing us around but by working within us, his Spirit deeply and gently within us.” -Ephesians 3:20-21 (MSG)

“I look to the mountains; where will my help come from? My help will come from the Lord, who made heaven and earth.” -Psalm 12:1-2 (GNT)

“Now the Lord is the Spirit, and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is freedom.” – 2 Corinthians 3:17 (ESV)

I say to myself, “The Lord is my portion; therefore I will wait for Him.” – Lamentations 3:24 (NIV)


Photo by Alessio Rinella on Unsplash