Every parent would agree that when they speak, their children should listen. As a parent, they consider themselves an important voice in their child's life. Yet, there are times when a child doesn't hear a thing: playing a video game, texting a friend, or even listening to music with their earbuds in. They are already preoccupied with something else of importance to them. Maybe none of those examples are more important than their parent, but that's not the issue. The issue is they are maintaining their attention somewhere else. Maybe this is why we don't hear God, at times. When He speaks, do you stop what you are doing and give Him your attention? Like a child, maybe you don't even hear Him. If so, maybe you are just too preoccupied to hear what He has to say.
Even though we all use cellphones to text more than anything, you may remember a time when you actually called someone. If you ever took the time to call, you've probably had to leave a voicemail. You leave the message, and then you wait for a response. Sometimes that response never came simply because the message was never received. Like everything else, God is wanting to speak to us, but we may not be getting the message. It's time to give opportunity for God to speak to your life, and part I of our series deals with solving hearing impairments. Many times we are more willing to compensate for an issue rather than fix it. If you want to hear God clearly, you're going to have to fix the issue rather than try to compensate for not hearing Him.
Have you ever worried or been anxious? Of course, you have. Everyone faces hurdles of some kind in their lives, and we generally focus on how they slow us down, impeding our progress, and the cause of our failures. Some of that may be true, but most of it isn't. If you watch track and field events, you should notice that hurdlers focus on the finish and not the obstacle. They train to overcome the obstacles, so in a matter of steps they know how to jump and continue towards the finish. Sure, it is a little slower than running without the hurdles, but that isn't stopping them from finishing. If you are focused more on the hurdles in your life, this message will refocus your attention on the finish and why that's worth your attention!
One of the most frustrating aspects of life is being misunderstood. You could easily say something wrong, be quoted in a way which changes the original meaning of what you said, or your actions misinterpreted. The church can often be misunderstood. Sure, people listen to what the church, as an organization, has to say; but people are listening and observing the individual lives of the church. We must have a message based on God's Word, but even then, we must have lives based on God's Word. There's a way for a church to be stable, and we all must be following the same man!
If there's one attribute every family needs in order to be healthy, it is stability. Everything you buy is stabilized to endure the forces which will act against its intended purpose. A house must be able to stand up against the elements, your car is constructed to handle the imperfections of the road surface, and your dishes are microwave and dishwasher safe. What about your marriage and your family? There needs to be stability established to endure the circumstances, pressures, and disappointments which beat against it. If our homes lack stability, now is the time to establish what is necessary to withstand any storm.
We are people surrounded by people. Every day we come in contact with other people whom we do not know, and we do not venture to know them. We are a species of avoidance, as we veer away from others we believe we share nothing in common with. Yet how do we know? We think we know based on how someone else dresses, styles their hair, or carry themselves; simply stated, we make very superficial judgments about others as to whether we share any kind of common ground. While we are differentiating ourselves from others over our own personal reasons, God sees people very differently. While we look at differences, He sees what we each have in common. When we realize how common each of us is to the other, maybe we would reach out to others who need Him, and reach out to the LORD as well because we need Him so much.
If it is so easy to touch Jesus and be heard by Him, why does it seem I'm not being heard? Maybe you pray and it seems like your prayers are being rejected and even ignored. You've probably noticed how open or closed you are to people depending on how they approach you. It may not be much different with Jesus. There are two attitudes we can have when we approach Him. One approach will get us denied, but the other gives Jesus the opportunity to do a miracle with our life.
Genuine faith knows how to pray, and how to receive the power of Jesus. Yet, we allow our faith to be stifled and render ourselves powerless. Why would we do this? We know Jesus has power to change our lives, minister to our deepest hurts, and give us great wisdom for the challenging situations we face, so why would we stop ourselves from receiving that power? We probably do it without realizing, but in part 2 of our series, we find out how to keep His power flowing into our lives.
What does it take to get a response from Jesus? Unfortunately, there are those believers who think they must beg and plead with Him. It may be necessary to give someone a reason to help you, but Jesus is not someone. He knows you - loves you - and will answer your cry. Before you over-complicate your relationship with Him, this message is all about reminding us who simple it is to be heard and touched by Jesus.
Most believers know that they are supposed to love others. The Apostle John tells us how people will know us by our love for one another. We get it - love people, and many do it well. What we don't do well is receive it. If you've been hurt one too many times you know all about not letting others get too close, and if you keep them at a distance, you never really know how they feel about you. There are many people, even in the church, who are content to come and go and never develop any genuine relationships with others. They love others, but they do not receive love at all as they maintain very superficial relationships. We all want to be loved, so how do we progress to the point of allowing others to love who we are and in spite of where we've come from? It's a scary topic, but the reward of being love far outweights any anxiety.