Wednesday, July 11, 2018
Mark it down: God loves you with an unearthly love. You can’t win it by being winsome. You can’t lose it by being a loser. But you can be blind enough to resist it. Max Lucado
18 And I pray that you and all God’s holy people will have the power to understand the greatness of Christ’s love—how wide and how long and how high and how deep that love is. 19 Christ’s love is greater than anyone can ever know, but I pray that you will be able to know that love. Then you can be filled with the fullness of God.
Ephesians 3:18-19 (NCV)
You know, God speaks to us in some pretty unusual ways. This week has been a classic example for me. The emails, devotional and personal, that I have received have been full of messages I’m certain God intended for me to get. Each evening, as I step into the classrooms to share Noah’s story with the little kiddos and the big kiddos, I learn more from listening to them than I think they learn from me.
Take, for example, the story as told to me last night by one of our kids. He had been unable to come on Monday so I was attempting to persuade the other kids in the group to share their versions of the story. This young man did not need our help. He already knew the story and, in a pretty persuasive manner, shared it with us (I’m paraphrasing just a little)…
“The earth was full of mostly bad and nasty people, except Noah and his family, so he just flushed them away. He just filled the whole earth with water and flushed it. All the bad stuff was gone.”
There you go. (And I took fifteen minutes to try to tell them the same thing).
Now, if I had come into that room ready to ‘teach’ them what I knew and move on, without listening to the kids, I would have missed this new version … one that every one of those kids related to…that visual in their heads. After all, trying to envision the whole earth as nothing but water – even covering the highest mountains – is hard for adults to picture, let alone kids. But this picture was understood by all.
I went home with a chuckle and a thank you to God for using that young man to teach us all.
Learning to Listen
by Max Lucado
Equipped with the right tools, we can learn to listen to God. What are those tools? Here are the ones I have found helpful.
A regular time and place. Select a slot on your schedule and a corner of your world, and claim it for God. For some it may be best to do this in the morning. Others prefer the evening Others prefer many encounters during the day.
Some sit under a tree, others in the kitchen. Maybe your commute to work or your lunch break would be appropriate. Find a time and place that seems right for you.
How much time should you take? As much as you need. Value quality over length. Your time with God should last long enough for you to say what you want and for God to say what he wants. Which leads us to a second tool you need–an open Bible.
God speaks to us through his Word. The first step in reading the Bible is to ask God to help you understand it.
Before reading the Bible, pray. Don’t go to Scripture looking for your own idea; go searching for God’s. Read the Bible prayerfully. Also, read the Bible carefully.
Here is a practical point. Study the Bible a little at a time. God seems to send messages as he did his manna: one day’s portion at a time. Choose depth over quantity. Read until a verse “hits” you, then stop and meditate on it. Copy the verse onto a sheet of paper, or write it in your journal, and reflect on it several times.
Will I learn what God intends? If I listen, I will.
Understanding comes a little at a time over a lifetime.
There is a third tool for having a productive time with God. Not only do we need a regular time and an open Bible, we also need a listening heart. Don’t forget the admonition from James: “The man who looks into the perfect law, the law of liberty, and makes a habit of so doing, is not the man who hears and forgets. He puts that law into practice and he wins true happiness” (James 1:25 PHILLIPS).
We know we are listening to God when what we read in the Bible is what others see in our lives.
Paul urged his readers to put into practice what they had learned from him. “What you have learned and received and heard and seen in me, do” (Philippians4:9).
If you want to be just like Jesus, let God have you. Spend time listening for him until you receive your lesson for the day–then apply it.
From Just Like Jesus
That’s what Bible School is all about, making a special appointment with God to spend a few days together, totally immersed in one of his lessons.
We’re listening, LORD. And we thank YOU.
Supper tonight is Waffle Wednesday. We’ll have waffles, scrambled eggs with ham, and fried potatoes for supper.
And don’t forget the barbecue at the park tomorrow! The Methodist Men will be cooking hot dogs and hamburgers for us and there will be games for the kids (water WILL be involved. It’s Noah and the Ark, remember).
Please join us!
Make it a GREAT day!