Are You Listening?

Do you have a hard time listening to others? Talking is easy for most of us, but listening is a skill that must be learned. James 1:18 exhorts us to be “quick to listen, slow to speak, and slow to get angry.” As I used to tell my kids, “That’s why God gave us two ears and one mouth” so we listen more than we speak. We all want to get our two cents in, right? Rather than listening to what the other person is saying we are thinking about what we want to say next.

I get so exasperated having to repeat myself these days. Either people just don’t want to listen or they don’t know how to listen or they don’t even realize they aren’t listening. Someone once told me “You know, you repeat yourself.” My answer was “That’s because I want to make sure you hear me.” How frustrating!

What about listening to God? Do you believe that God speaks to us? Well, I am living-proof to tell you that He certainly does. He speaks to all of us in different ways. Some hear His still small voice in the quiet of nature, in the melody of a song or the beauty of a painting. Others hear Him through the words of others, scripture, prayer and meditation. God knows how to communicate to each of His children.

The question is “Am I listening?” Each of us must answer that question for ourselves. What I can tell you is that a good way to know is to look at our lives. Is it bearing good fruit or not? In other words, am I at peace, productive, joyful, helping others? Or am I living a self-centered life looking only to gratify my fleshly desires?

As they say, the proof is in the pudding, so if you want to get closer to God, make time today to spend with Him. He promises that He will answer if we listen. Jeremiah 33:3 says “Call to me and I will answer and I will teach you great and unsearchable things you do not know.”

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Think on These Things

Have you ever thought about what you think about? Think about it for a minute. Thousands of thoughts pass through our minds in the course of one day. How many of them are we actually aware of?

That is why I find it important to meditate. Meditate you ask? Yes, meditate. Clear my mind of all the stuff that accumulates in there. Just like your closet, your mind needs to be decluttered regularly. Now some people have a problem with the word meditation. Like it’s evil or something, but guess what? I heard this the other day and it really made sense to me.Prayer is talking to God and meditation is listening. Isn’t that great?

Our minds need to be programmed just like our computers. To put it another way, in computer language, we say “GIGO – garbage in, garbage out.”

What are you putting in your mind? Positive encouraging edifying thoughts or negativity, self-doubt and hatred? Catch yourself a couple of times a day and ask yourself, “What am I thinking about right now?” If you find yourself obsessing over something, you’re expending useless energy. Stop and replace it with a prayer. Guaranteed to work. What we think about is a choice we can make. What will you choose today?