Ears Wide Shut

Are you listening?

Most of us, if we are Believers in Jesus Christ, know that we can talk to God. We know that prayer is important, and we equate prayer with ‘telling God what’s on our hearts’.

This is, in fact, very important to the Lord.

The entire book of Psalms was written in that style.

Hebrews 4:16: “…let us come boldly to the throne of our gracious God. There we will receive his mercy, and we will find grace to help us when we need it most.”

Jesus Himself said, “Keep on asking, and you will receive what you ask for. Keep on seeking, and you will find. Keep on knocking, and the door will be opened to you. For everyone who asks, receives. Everyone who seeks, finds. And to everyone who knocks, the door will be opened.” (Matthew 7:7-8)

Clearly, God wants His children to go to Him with our wants, needs, requests, and burdens.

But is that all?

Are we not to listen also?

Have you ever stuck your head out the window when traveling down the highway (please: not if you’re driving!), or been on a boat moving fast on the water? As fun as that is, it makes it very difficult to have a conversation. We may be with people we love and value, and we may be trying to listen, but with all the noise, we are not going to hear.

We do the same thing with God.

Most of us have learned to TALK to Him, but not to listen.

It’s as if we lean in to hear him…and place our fingers in our ears.

We need to listen…and hear!

On one occasion, when the prophet Elijah was feeling alone and disheartened, he complained to God…he vented.

God said, “Go out and stand before me on the mountain,” the Lord told him. And as Elijah stood there, the Lord passed by, and a mighty windstorm hit the mountain. It was such a terrible blast that the rocks were torn loose, but the Lord was not in the wind. After the wind there was an earthquake, but the Lord was not in the earthquake. And after the earthquake there was a fire, but the Lord was not in the fire. And after the fire there was the sound of a gentle whisper. (1 Kings 19:11-12)

Elijah needed to LISTEN…because the Lord was not going to YELL above the noise…He was in the still, small voice.

We need to listen. We need to hear.

…and when we do hear from Him, we need to step out and follow His leading, listening all along the way for guidance.

He IS speaking…do you hear?

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Faith…Starts At Home

If you’re a Christ-follower and worshiper of Jesus, you know that your main purpose in life is to Glorify God.

You do this by living in-step with Him, submitting to His Word, living by the power of the Holy Spirit.

You know (especially if you joined us at Kalamazoo Community Church last weekend) that one way we are to show that is in our work…that No Matter What we do with our time–working 9-5 at an office or factory, going to school all day, a stay-at-home-mom, a retired worker, or an unemployed-or-under employed person–you have a invitation, before God, to 1) Be productive and do the work He’s called you to (in whatever venue He’s given you); 2) Do it ‘as an act of worship’ to Him; and 3) Embrace the Mission He’s given you–right where you are. (You can listen to the message by going here: http://www.mykcc.org/content.cfm?id=213&download_id=18.

In order to take this approach at work, school, or home, it really requires a mindset shift. You and I must embrace the role God has us in, and remember that the attitude we approach this with makes all the difference. If we are negative, pessimistic and crabby, we’ll never get anywhere near the experience He wants you to have at work.

Here’s the main Scripture passage we talked about with respect to our work:

And whatever you do or say, do it as a representative of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks through him to God the Father…Slaves, obey your earthly masters in everything you do. Try to please them all the time, not just when they are watching you. Serve them sincerely because of your reverent fear of the Lord. Work willingly at whatever you do, as though you were working for the Lord rather than for people. Remember that the Lord will give you an inheritance as your reward, and that the Master you are serving is Christ.”–Colossians 3:17, 22-24

However, I think it’s very important to note that this Invitation does not only extend to our work. In fact, it starts at HOME.

The context for this passage is actually about living Every Area of my Life.. ‘as a representative of the Lord Jesus’, and that we are to live to serve Him as our ‘Master’ in every area.

The immediate context of these verses include these words:

 

Wives, submit to your husbands, as is fitting for those who belong to the Lord.

19 Husbands, love your wives and never treat them harshly.

20 Children, always obey your parents, for this pleases the Lord. 21 Fathers, do not aggravate your children, or they will become discouraged.” (Colossians 3:18-21)

In other words, our ‘living to serve Christ’ should extend to our relationships at home.

Wives, are you ‘submitting’ to your husbands? Husbands, are you ‘loving’ your wives? Children, are you ‘obeying’ your parents, and Fathers, are you not ‘aggravating’ your children?

THIS is where our faith really shows up!

If we can ‘get’ that it is God’s will that I show love…as His representative…first and foremost to my family, then homes can be blessed, marriages can be beautiful, parent/child relationships can be positive and affirming…It can be AMAZING!

So, how about it?

Are you showing your faith at home by how you treat your family members?

Are you sacrificing for them–and not drawing attention to your sacrifice?

Are you affirming and encouraging them?

Are you modeling the love, grace and patience of the Lord with family members?

Are you… doing the dishes when they need to be done? taking out the trash when it’s ready? helping with meals and meal clean-up?  doing the laundry? letting others have the remote? encouraging with messages of love and affirmation?

The point is that our FAITH shows itself…and it shows itself Starting at HOME!

If you are wanting to live ‘as a representative of Christ’, then start there.

Your family will benefit, you will benefit…and the Lord will be glorified!