Tag Archives: listening

DO I WANT TO BE WEIRD?

Since I am away in Poland I am reposting one of the top posts. Hope you enjoy.

Do I Want to Be Weird?

Weird, because my Normal wasn’t working

Is your “normal” working for you? I am searching for a better way – God’s way.

Before I turned to Jesus whole-heartedly I was very much a Martha, a control-driven, have-to-keep-busy person. I am still a Martha, but I have found my Mary, too.

When I was given an assignment to “sit still for five minutes and listen to God” – I failed, miserably. My mind could not slow down. I kept thinking, “I have to do… such and such.” and my mind kept going.

Then the dog barked. That was the end of my first attempt.

What did I do? I tried again the next morning, and the morning after that. Finally I decided that I needed absolute stillness – not a sound, not a chance of interruption. I needed to wake up earlier.

My mentor in Christ suggested that I ask God to wake me up. And I did – and He did. I will tell you that story in another post. I did as Jesus did.

“Very early in the morning, while it was still dark, Jesus got up, left the house and went off to a solitary place where he prayed” (Mark 1:35 NIVUK).

Now I didn’t leave my house as Jesus did, but I did find a solitary spot and in my quiet place I sat and waited. I tried that day after day – making myself sit for five minutes.

One day it happened – as I sat still I felt a peace, God’s hands on my shoulders. My shoulders relaxed – this was heaven. He was there!

When did you last “shut down” to the world and experience God?

Come on this journey as we try to find Him in the stillness. You will like it and God will like it too.

The idea for the title of this post came from a new book by Craig Groeschel called Weird, when your Normal isn’t Working. I found out yesterday I won one of 100 books that were given away on Michael Hyatt’s blog. I can’t wait to read his book and will tell you everything I find out.

Here is another site with a post on the same theme, called Vacate.

DIFFERENT METHODS

Different Methods

by Rose Harmer

God uses many ways to instruct us along the path He wants us to go.  Sometimes we form habits which help us in one stage of life yet may need to be changed in other stages.  One of the methods I have used to focus my attention during private prayer time came out of a book by Dick Eastman entitled “The Hour that Changes the World”.

Loosely, my process includes praising God for who He is, confessing my failures or asking for His help, then listening for His still inaudible voice which speaks to my heart. By reading scripture and then meditating on that passage, thanking Him for at least three blessings each day including answers to prayers, praying for others and for my own needs keeps me connected to Christ and in tune with His purpose. I recite scripture, sing hymns and choruses throughout the day, and then once again in the evening I listen to God’s voice and then finish my prayer with praise.

Each day I have written out my prayers because I’ve found that writing helps me keep my attention centered on God.  The listening portion has blessed me very much and I wish to share one of these Listenings  with you.

My child, I use many different methods to teach you My ways.
Each day you can learn, if you are willing, a new dimension of wholeness.
I want you to be healthy and complete.
Is it not exciting to be a pupil in My school of wisdom and knowledge?
I have intriguing ways to teach you:
quiet time with me, reading scripture, nature, books and even television shows.
My teaching methods are abundant and diverse.
Learn to be flexible and not rigid,
loving not condemning,
And always remember
I love you.

Have you heard from God today?  Were you reassured of His love for you?

Rose Spillenaar Harmer

Rose was born in Kirkland Lake, Ontario, and speaks on subjects related to marriage, family and mental health.  Her travels take her throughout North America and she winters in Cape Coral, Florida.  Her published words include a short biography in Clayton’s Kids (2009) and a column entitled “Listening” which will be part of a forth-coming book.  Contact Rose.

AWAKENING

Awakening

by Jan Cox

This week I have been in a fog, maybe even a funk. And yes the picture above is a blur. That is how I have felt. I have had breathing problems this month in Arizona. The pollen doesn’t like me. I am best when I am indoors, which is not pleasant because it is beautiful outside.

I kept telling myself that God has a plan. I am believing that He will heal me, lead me to the right medications and I can conquer this. In the meantime I am relying on Him for peace and trying hard to let the risen Christ live in me.

Frustration arises and I must push it down. I take the time to pray, to rest and to study.

Oswald Chambers says that we don’t understand ourselves with Christ until we know and accept the risen Christ. Then our eyes will be opened and we will see. But not until:

“The life of the risen Christ dominates you.”

And he says:

“God cannot reveal anything to us if we have not His Spirit” (Oswald Chambers April 7).

I also read from James.

“So don’t try to get out of anything prematurely. Let it do its work so you become mature and well-developed… pray to the Father. He loves to help…Ask boldly, believing without a second thought” (James 1:2-4 The Message).

This told me that I needed to use this time to study more.

I pleaded:

Open my eyes, Lord, to see and know You. To plead for myself and to intercede for others. Help me NOT to be lukewarm. Rekindle the flame of fire in my heart.

I know I have not been HOT for You, God. I have been going through the motions; throwing up a name or two; asking for healing for myself. But I am missing the passion in my speech. I am dull, weary and frustrated.

Awake my Soul – that kept coming into my head. And so I sang Awakening by Chris Tomlin.

And now I am full again – healing is beginning and my soul sings.

Prayer:

Thank you Lord for the Hard Eucharisteo – for the times that remind me to lean on You. The more I lean on You the closer I get to the Risen Christ. Help me to find the passion to look to You more and more. In Jesus’ name. AMEN.

My Gratitude List – Counting to 2000. I am at 1213

  • memorizing tap dances – good for my brain
  • clear thinking – most days
  • daughter and son-in-law bought a trailer in a park – fun times ahead
  • learning to cope with allergies in the desert
  • “Trust in the Lord with all your heart” (Proverbs 3:5)
  • friends who pray
  • “Surplus wealth is a sacred truth to be managed for the good of others.” Andrew Carnegie
  • when you start giving, stuff starts happening
  • Easter – He is Risen. He is Risen, indeed.
  • Great sermon called Nick and Joe save Easter – wrote a blog about it
  • email from my Naturopath with new ideas for my allergies
  • new grandbaby is 11 pounds, 11 ounces
  • a priceless picture – HANDS

Jan Cox

Jan, a former school teacher and small business owner, found a new passion in writing in her retirement. She has published two devotionals and a number of articles for magazines and a Bible study. She is owner of Under the Cover of Prayer and moderates the site. She also writes at A Better Way. Jan is working on a couple children’s books in which she is also the watercolour illustrator.

PEACE – CAN I FIND IT?

Peace – Can I Find it?

by Jan Cox

We had a major decision to make in the past few weeks. I prayed … and prayed. I read the Bible and prayed this Scripture:

“Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God.
And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus” (Philippians 4:6-7 NIV).

I know that when I pray a peace will immediately come over me even when a solution has not appeared. I sought His peace.

“Because by our crying out to God and unloading our cares and burdens on Him, He is assured of (and we are reminded of) our dependence on Him. And that is His priority; that is what pleases Him” (page 186, The Wonderful Spirit Filled Life, Charles Stanley).

So – back to our big decision. I had not had peace about this for a long time even though I felt peace when I prayed – this decision did not bring me peace. It just didn’t seem we should be doing this at this time. All the signs, though, pointed to it being perfect. Everyone said, – yes that’s great. Go for it!

I kept praying – knowing the deadline was at hand. Finally I approached my husband with my unrest. He agreed – on the spot – that we should not take that step.

PEACE unfolded immediately.

“It is that much more important for us to develop moment-by-moment sensitivity to the presence or absence of God’s peace in our lives” (page 187, Charles Stanley).

I was filled with PEACE over this decision. I know it is the right one. I LISTENED to the Holy Spirit.

Has God spoken to you through the Holy Spirit? Did you listen? Did you obey? Did you find peace?

Write me at Under the Cover of Prayer and tell me about your listening to the Holy Spirit or visit our Facebook Community and make a comment.

Prayer:

Thank You God for Your Holy Spirit. As I come to know the Holy Spirit better and better I know You – and what You want me to do. Help me to continue to listen – to take the time to really listen to You. In Jesus’ name. AMEN.

My Gratitude List for this week: I’m at 784.

  • My email connection with my Bible study group in Canada
  • Remembering the steps in one tap dance for A Wink and a Smile
  • Keeping in touch with others through Facebook
  • Wayne is well enough to go shopping
  • Excitement and anticipation of a Christmas get-together with family
  • Just a lovely peaceful happy day
  • Being able to pray for many things – the world, family, my groups and friends
  • Helped an older gentleman up the curb at Walmart
  • Smiled at the Salvation Army ringers
  • “growing in the knowledge of God”
  • Wayne is healing well from his accident
  • A phone call from my daughter
  • An angel ready to go up on the roof – heralding the coming of our Saviour
  • A talk about God in the hot tub
  • Growing friendship with someone
  • Food – abundant food with so many choices
  • A ½ hour massage for Wayne and now he can turn his neck
  • Listening to Your voice, Lord, and walking out of my comfort zone
  • Praying for what we can give Jesus for His birthday
  • Practicing speaking in French while in the steam room
  • Beautiful walking weather
  • Found a warm coat with a hood for cold mornings
  • Opportunities to listen to God

Jan Cox

Jan, a former school teacher and small business owner, found a new passion in writing in her retirement. She has published two devotionals and a number of articles for magazines and a Bible study. She is owner of Under the Cover of Prayer and moderates the site. She also writes at A Better Way. Jan is working on a couple children’s books in which she is also the watercolour illustrator.

ADVENTURES OF THE SPIRITUAL LIFE

Adventures of the Spiritual Life

by Judith Lawrence (reprinted with permission June 22, 2011)

“Recollection,” says Evelyn Underhill, “is the traditional term by which mystical writers define the voluntary concentration, a first collecting or gathering in of the attention of the self to its most hidden cell. That self is as yet unacquainted with the strange plane of silence which so soon becomes familiar to those who attempt even the lowest activities of the contemplative life, where the self is released from [constant thought], and the noises of the world are never heard, and the great adventures of the spirit take place.” Mysticism Page 212.

We have to gather ourselves in to the centre of our being in order to prepare ourselves for the contemplative life. This is where we find the silent place where God dwells in us. Silence is not a familiar place for many of us but as we seek to be with God silence becomes a sought after and familiar venue.

First we must turn off the outward noises that may surround us—the radio, the T.V., the telephone, the cell phone—we get so used to these being a part of our life that we may be afraid we might miss something if we turn these things off. But, when our prayer time is finished and we turn these sound makers back on we will soon catch up on any missed communications.

During our tryst with God, even our thoughts need to be quieted. We may not be aware of how much our brain chatters on in continuous thought as we go about our tasks, but when we come to be with God in contemplation we become very aware of how our thoughts get in the way of just being with God.

Don’t fret about it; just keep returning to the silence where you desire to be with God and God desires to be with you. It will happen; it takes preparation, time, and practice.

Judith Lawrence

Judith is a Professional member of The Word Guild and author of two non-fiction books, Prayer Companion: A Treasury of Personal Meditation, and Glorious Autumn Days: Meditations for the Wisdom Years, as well as one book of mystical poetry, Grapes from the Vine. Judith writes a monthly meditation, which can be found on her website: www.judithlawrence.ca.  Judith’s latest spiritual book, Highway of Holiness: Soul Journey is now available. You can purchase it through Wipf and Stock Publishers.

HOSEA – OBJECT LESSON LIFE

Hosea – Object Lesson Life

by Violet Nesdoly (reprinted with permission)

TODAY’S SPECIAL: Hosea 1:1-21

TO CHEW ON: “When the Lord began to speak by Hosea, the Lord said to Hosea:

“Go, take yourself a wife of harlotry
and children of harlotry
for the land has committed great harlotry
by departing form the Lord.”
So he went…”( Hosea 1:2,3 NKJV).

Imagine being told to embark on marriage, one of life’s most challenging relationships even in ideal circumstances, knowing your partner has a habit of being unfaithful. That’s what God told Hosea to do — marry a prostitute. He did it without argument.

Later, when children came along (and my Bible’s notes indicate that Hosea may not even have been their father), God told Hosea to name them odd, doom-filled names:

His firstborn son was to be called Jezreel.

It meant “God scatters”, or “God Sows.”

“Jezreel was the name of the place where Jehu had killed 70 sons of Ahab (2 Kings 10:11). As Jehu brought an end to the line of Ahab, so now God will bring an end to the whole dynasty of Israel. By 722 B.C. the northern kingdom and its capital will fall.” – endnotes to Hosea 1:4 New Spirit-Filled Life Bible, p. 1144.

(That would be in about 28 years from when Hosea penned this if the date of the book’s writing — 750 B.C. — is accurate.)

His second child, — a daughter — was to be named Lo-Ruhamah.

It meant “No Mercy.” and ‘indicated a lifting of the Lord’s compassion from the rebellious nation” (source as above).

A third child — another son — got the name Lo-Ammi.

It meant “Not My People” and “indicated the end of the relationship  (p. 1145 – source above).

Through all this we never hear a whisper of objection from Hosea. He simply listened and complied. Which tells us at least two things about him:

1. He recognized God’s voice. Why else would a devout man do such outlandish, even morally questionable things?

2. He trusted God and obeyed with a simplicity of heart that is quite beautiful.

God has never asked me to do such things — probably not you either. But, to my shame, I even argue and try to talk Him out of things that make sense, things like finishing a hard job, making contact with certain people, how I spend my time… Oh for Hosea’s jump-to-it attitude whenever God speaks!

PRAYER: Dear God, Hosea’s unquestioning obedience is refreshing to see. Help me to follow that pattern of hearing and immediately obeying. Amen.

MORE: “No religious singles in God’s eyes”

John Piper on Hosea:

“…God made him (Hosea) live the tragedy of Israel’s unfaithfulness by marrying a harlot…. Some Christians who would never dream of marrying a pimp or a prostitute will fall in love with a well-bred unbeliever. But in God’s eyes, everyone who forsakes the Lord is a whore. There are no religious singles in God’s eyes. Everyone is either faithfully married to God or is a prostitute. God made you (not just Israel) for himself. If you get your kicks from somewhere else, you commit great harlotry against God. That was Israel’s condition. And so God took Hosea and said, as it were, “Before I give you a word of judgment and grace, I am going to make you know what it’s like to be married to an unfaithful wife. Go, marry a harlot!” Hosea obeys and has a son. His marriage is an acted-out parable of God’s relation to Israel.”

Read all of “Call Me Husband, Not Baal”

By John Piper. © Desiring God. Website: desiringGod.org

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Violet Nesdoly

Violet freelances in several genres and has been published in a variety of print and online publications. Her articles, stories, and activities have appeared in Keys for Kids, Devotions for Girls, Devotions for Boys, Clubhouse, Guide, Primary Treasure, Partners, Pockets and others. She has also published two books of poetry and is an avid blogger. She is a member of Inscribe Christian Writers’ Fellowship and a professional member of The Word Guild.

MUSINGS ON WORSHIP AND INTERCESSORY PRAYER

Musings on Worship and Intercessory Prayer

by Peter Black

Keynote: God moves us to prayer so that He can move through our prayers.

Sometimes it’s a difficulty, some challenging circumstance that our Heavenly Father uses to motivate us to engage or re-engage in a deeper level of prayer.

Take Isaiah, for example, in Isaiah chapter 6. During a very difficult time in his nation’s history the prophet, while in the Temple, was granted an astounding visionary experience of the Lord God.

What was Isaiah doing there? His concern for his people was heightened on account of the death of King Uzziah, so likely, offering up worship and intercessory prayer were main reasons for his being there at that time. If so, then Isaiah’s revelation of God in His resplendent glory came while under the cover of prayer.

In this experience he was given a view into the heavenly realm – a pattern of which was expressed in the design, furnishings, and functions of the Temple. Although his physical being was in the material temple building, his spirit was open to heaven and given a revelation of the Lord in His awesome holiness, enthroned in heavenly glory. Isaiah was alarmed and felt great dread, was deeply convicted of his own sinfulness, and confessed his and his nation’s guilt before God.

Prayer is two-way. It is communion. It is communication.

Our cry to God and His call to us.

Isaiah’s anguished cry was tantamount to prayer (v 5 NIV), “Woe to me!” I cried. “I am ruined! For I am a man of unclean lips, and I live among a people of unclean lips, and my eyes have seen the King, the LORD Almighty.”

The prophet was subsequently assured of cleansing (vv 6-7) as one of the attending seraphs touched his lips with a live coal taken from the altar, declaring, “See, this has touched your lips; your guilt is taken away and your sin atoned for.”

Next came the call from the Lord Himself (v-8), “Whom shall I send? And who will go for us?”

Isaiah’s response was immediate, “Here am I. Send me!”

This resulted in his commissioning (perhaps more correctly, recommissioning) to divine service in God’s behalf to His people (vv 9-10ff).

When God moves His faithful ones to pray, His Spirit empowers them for this work (Rom. 8:26-27). He brings others under the cover of their prayers in His redemptive plan.


LISTENING – PART 2

Listening – part 2

Remember last week when I said I had a lot of excuses for not having time to sit and listen to God. Well I did – when I awoke in the morning –  my dog would bug for attention, my husband would start a conversation, or the phone would ring. Never did there seem to be a time I could call my own with God.

Let me tell you a secret. I complained to a friend about my dilemma and she asked when would be a good time. I jokingly said, well maybe in the early morning – but another excuse rose immediately:

I can’t get up that early – I can’t wake up and face the day that early. I need my sleep.

My friend suggested that if God really wanted me to spend time with Him, then I should let Him decide. She said if I were serious about this commitment I could ask God to wake me up.

I must say that the first time I did that I was pretty flippant. This is what I said – no kidding.

Okay God – if You really want me for this quiet time together, wake me up at 6:00 am.

Imagine my surprise the next morning as I awoke to stare at the clock radio – It said …. 6:00 – no kidding, it was exactly that time.

I bounced out of bed – that was my first attempt at sitting still. As I told you it lasted five minutes. But, He had answered and I truly believed that He really wanted me to have this time with Him.

The next few nights I said the same prayer – just checking Him out. And every morning He woke me at exactly 6:00 am. Over the years my routine, on average, has stayed the same. He still wakes me most mornings at that same time.

My peace has grown and I have listened.

When would be a good time for you to listen to God? Ask God to make that time available for you.

“God speaks in the silence of the heart. Listening is the beginning of prayer.”Mother Teresa

Next week – A Voice from God?

Jan

Prayer:

Thank You for wanting to meet with us. Thank You for listening to our prayers. But also we thank You for talking to us. In Jesus’ name. AMEN

ANOTHER FACTOR IN CONVERSATION WITH GOD

Another Factor in Conversation with God

We have talked a lot about praying to our Father. We have discussed persistent prayer, healing prayer, prayers for our nation and the world, prayers for governments, prayers for strangers, and prayer for revival. We have discussed waiting for God, night prayers, and miracles.

Today I want to talk about the other side of conversation – listening.

From as far back as I can remember I have been taught by my parents and teachers that I have to LISTEN. As soon as I am in a conversation my mind starts to whirl and I have trouble holding back my thoughts and ideas. I want to get my “two cents” worth in. A very bad habit.

This tendency translated over to my prayer life. I talked a lot to God. I told Him my troubles, worries and concerns. I laid down all the intercessory prayers for others. I blabbed and blabbed.

Suddenly I realized that if I never stopped talking to God I would never hear His answer. I had to learn to listen.

To still my mind – and let go of all thoughts, distractions and noise – what was I thinking? How could I do that?

My first “listening session” lasted less than five minutes. But, I was still and during that time of no outside influences I felt a peace (although a quick one).

Over time I have been able to extend this so that now I can sit still doing nothing but basking in the love of God, doing nothing but listening to Him, for a long time.

I know all the excuses. I have used them:

I am too busy.

I get interrupted.

I can’t sit still that long.

Next week I will tell you my secret – what worked for me.

Jan

Prayer:

Father we desire to hear from You. Sometimes we don’t know how to do this. Help us to learn how to listen for Your voice. In Jesus’ name. AMEN.