Faith

Are you listening?

The Lord spoke to me powerfully through a scripture today. I was listening to a sermon on YouTube whilst working at my laptop, and as I heard this verse read aloud, a wave of emotion swept over me.

My sheep hear my voice, and I know them, and they follow me. John 10:27 ESV

I have heard and read this scripture many times, yet it reverberated in my soul so powerfully that I had to look it up in different versions of the Bible.

The Message says My sheep recognise my voice. I know them, and they follow me.

My favourite, the NLT says My sheep listen to my voice, I know them, and they follow me.

I stopped and thought; well Lord I believe, I pray, I worship… but I felt the Holy Spirit quicken my heart as He whispered;

But are you listening?

You see it is not enough to just do church, to talk to God, to read His word. Yes these are all good things, but first and foremost in God’s heart is that we are in relationship with Him, and this is a two-way transaction. If I talked to my husband only when I want something, if I gave him a two-minute download then bustled past him to move on to the next thing on my to do list, if I didn’t ask him how he was or if I hurriedly thanked him for something then turned to walk away, I would not be entering in to a relationship with him. In order to be in a relationship there has to be a two-way conversation, both parties have to speak and be heard, and in order to know a person intimately, you need to regularly spend time with them to watch their face and hear their voice.

Are you listening?

My husband can call me on the phone and tell that there is something up as soon as he hears my voice. He recognises the slightest crack, the sharp intake of breath, the slightly too bouncy tone trying to belie my inner turmoil. He knows I am hurting because he knows what my voice sounds like. He hears it every single day, he has heard it when it laughs, when it sings, when it sobs. He hears it and he knows it. The frustrating beauty of him knowing my voice so well is that even my bravest efforts to fake a smile are futile, because his knowing look or discerning ear disarms me instantly.

Are you listening?

God wants you and I hear to hear His voice. Every. Single. Day.

He wants us to become so used to hearing His voice every day that when we changes His tone we listen and lean in. He wants us to be so in-tune to what the Holy Spirit is saying that He doesn’t need to keep repeating Himself over and over again, the minute He changes tone, the minute He speaks with urgency we recognise it, because we know His voice and recognise the change. He wants us to be ready to be disarmed by His love, by His grace, by His presence, by His voice.

Are you listening?

God is challenging me to stop look and listen. He hears my prayers, and by His grace He answers them, but He wants more for me than that. He wants me to hear His whispered words above the noise in my busy world, He wants me to lean in close and listen to His agenda above my own, He wants me to pick out His voice in a crowded room.

Can I encourage you today to join me on my knees, crying out to the Lord saying,

“Speak, Lord, your servant is listening.” 1 Samuel 3:10 NLT

R

 

 

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Faith

Time to take out the trash

As a busy mom of two, it has never ceased to amaze me how quickly my bin gets full to the brim.

(Yes I realise this is probably a little gross, but bear with me on this, there is a valid point!)

With school runs, grocery shopping, laundry and a million other errands to fit in around keeping the house in a relative state of organised chaos and raising little children, it would seem that emptying my bin has become one of those tasks that I keep putting off. This largely because it is a grim job that involved handling stinky bin liners *gags* and almost always having to pick up a third of the contents that spills over the top or out of the split at the bottom of the overflowing bin liner in the process. I realise that if I just emptied it before it got quite so full then this chore would be far easier and dare I say more pleasant (if that is even possible), but when I get to the bin with two hands filled with dirty tissues, the contents of the breakfast bowl and empty wrappers I am far more inclined to simply squash the rubbish down to make room for more. Of course, its goes without saying that a bin that is not emptied often is usually fairly fragrant, and not in the welcoming cotton linen kind either.

Life can be a bit like a bin at time…. as women and mothers we take on other peoples troubles or ‘trash’ to help lighten their load and show that we care. This in itself is an admirable thing to do as we empathise with girlfriends and help them to work out their difficulties, but sometimes we take on so much and forget to empty our bin. If we don’t take out the trash so to speak, then we are left fermenting over bad attitudes, negative thoughts and stinking thinking which will affect our day to day lives. Negativity is like a cold, it is super easy to spread and will jump from conversation to conversation, clinging to each person and affecting their day too.

The devil loves it when we gossip, moan and whine about each other/our spouse/our family/our house/our job*  (*delete as appropriate.) He can simply sit back and watch us spread discontent and anger across our circles of influence so we must watch what we say and how we say it to everyone, so that a) we will be consistent and b) we do not contaminate everyone else with our own insecurities and issues. That is not to say that we shouldn’t share our thoughts and feelings, but there is a right place for us to take our trash so that we can be rid of our negativity without affecting others.

We can take any requests and petitions to God, no matter how big or small they seem, or whether they affect us directly or not. We can also carefully choose a trustworthy friend who can best advise and/or pray with us about our situation. When writing to the Thessalonian church, Paul states that we must never stop praying and praising God in all circumstances, therefore my advice is don’t let the trash bring you down, give it to God and put it out for the dustbin men to collect, because when things are looking down it to time to start looking up.

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