Listening and Hearing: 2 Similar But Different Words

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I mentioned in the previous blog post here that Holy Spirit gave me a word for the 2017 year and because of this given word, I’m going to continue this series on listening.

I am a Life Coach, so I am trained to listen and listen well. That means that I clear my mind of all my personal “stuff” when coaching. I’m not saying I’m perfect at this listening skill, which I think is why God wants me to concentrate on this word for the year.

So how do listening and hearing relate? When I take the time to really listen to whoever is speaking to me, then I will clearly hear and understand what the speaker is saying.

When I first became a Christian, the very first book I read through was the Book of Proverbs. Proverbs is a wealth of instructions for living and relationships in life.

In the ESV Proverbs 12:15 says, “The way of a fool is right in his own eyes, but a wise man listens to advice.”

So does simply listening to advice make us wise? I think there is more to this Scripture. I think we need to follow up listening with hearing. Hearing goes deeper than listening.

Hearing leads to taking some sort of action. One can listen until the cows come home but not hear.

It is interesting that the Hebrew language uses fewer words than the English language to describe the same meaning.

The verse above uses the English word “listen, ” but in Hebrew, that original word would take on a deeper meaning. It would include hearing and obeying, taking some sort of action.

If we look at all the instances of listening and hearing in Scripture, the translators most likely had to look at the context of the words to give the translations an obvious meaning for those of us who don’t understand the Hebrew language or customs.

So to conclude, it pays to “listen” to the Word. But to really “hear” it, we will take some sort of action. We might make a change in our thoughts, actions, lifestyles, relationships, etc. including our relationship with our Lord and Savior, Jesus.

2017…A Year For Listening and Hearing

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It seems everyone is choosing a word given to them by the Lord for the New Year. I don’t normally choose a word but as I sat here with my coffee this morning, asking Holy Spirit what to write. He gave me my word. WOW…My word is listen. Because I was listening to Him, He gave me a word.

The words listening or hearing are mentioned many times in Scripture.

Proverbs 1:5 says: let the wise listen and add to their learning,
and let the discerning get guidance—

I will be doing a series in the new year on that word, listen. It will include how to listen well, what to listen for, types of listening, etc.

The dictionary describes listening as giving one’s attention to….take notice and act….respond….be alert and ready to hear. Now the word hear is definitely related, and I like what Miriam-Webster’s Online Dictionary gives the transitive verb of listening as “to give ear to” or hear. So the two words are definitely connected. And I like the fact that listening is not a passive response to hearing. Look at the definition above and notice the action words to describe listening…take notice, act, respond, be alert.

I need to listen and hear more. I need to listen to other people, and I need to hear from God. But in order to hear from God, I need to quiet my mind of other stuff and really listen. Usually, when I need to hear from God, I tell Him that He needs to speak to me loud and clear so I can hear Him. But I think the key is on my end. I really need to quiet down and listen. And then I need to employ the action part of listening, like being alert, taking notice, responding.

Stay tuned for more on this subject of listening and hearing in the coming months of the New Year! Hope you ladies have an awesome day and a Blessed 2017!

 

5 Encouraging Truths To Guide You In The New Year (Guest Post Today)

I have had the privilege of guest posting again and today I’m on Patty’s Blog at GloriousWithinHer.com

Patty is a teacher turned stay-at-home mom who loves the Lord, her husband, Matthew, and son, Solomon. She loves being a mother and wife, teaching, devouring delicious dishes, saving money, and continually creating an intentional, Christ-focused dwelling place for her family.

You can find my guest post here and I hope you are encouraged for the New Year!

 

What True Love Looks Like In 2 Commands.

This morning I’m thinking of one word….love. As Christians, we all know we have Jesus living in us and His Spirit, Holy Spirit, guides us on our journey.

Sometimes our journey includes some hard stuff. Stuff which may cause us to dislike and not want to be around the people who have hurt us. Especially during this season of the year.

We accumulate what I call “heart wounds” and those wounds become areas where we need to fill with LOVE. God’s kind of love will take us a long way toward healing, and even relationship building.

This is a time of the year when family and friends gather to celebrate the birth of our Savior. The One who willingly left heaven to live among His created children as a human and a peer. The One who left many, many examples of what true love looks like.

And He gave us only two commandments foundwreath in Matthew 22 NET.

37 Jesus said to him, “‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your mind.’ 38 This is the first and greatest commandment. 39 The second is like it: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’ 40 All the law and the prophets depend on these two commandments.”

I found this quote by Eugenia Price that fits here this morning. “Those who are steadily learning how to love are enabled to do this because the very love of God, Himself, has been put into our hearts.”

My prayer is that God’s love will flow from me to those who need it most. And there are many who need to feel God’s love. Just watch the news. Every day people are hurting. Do you know someone who is hurting? This Christmas Season is not the time to add to their hurts or even to your hurts. Let God’s true love flow through you and into others.

My First Time As a Guest on Another Blogger’s Site!

Hey friends, this is the very first time I have been invited to guest blog on someone else’s blog site. I’m really blessed to have this opportunity.

Please check it out and be sure to check out my friends blog as well. She’s a young woman with a lot of Godly wisdom. Elizabeth Hope Semones

Where Do You Find Confidence?

 

Do you live a life of gratitude?

About 10 – 11 years ago, our family went through a most distressful time. Actually this was the most distress we had ever experienced as a family. I can’t go into details but suffice it to say it was a really depressing time in our lives.

How did I handle it? I prayed a lot. And so did my husband. But praying didn’t quite lift the blanket of despair and depression. Don’t misunderstand; praying helped, especially when I ended up in a conversation with God about what He had promised in His Word and why was I not seeing those provisions. So, I began writing a list daily of things that happened that day for which I could be grateful. Some days were so hard that I just couldn’t see anything to be thankful for but I still wrote something even if it was as simple as being thankful for having another day to live out my purpose.

After that most distressing time lifted, I stopped writing in my book. The other day I found it tucked away with my box of photos. I was reminded of how the act of writing in a thanksgiving each day helped me get through. So I think I will start writing again. It’s quite therapeutic.

In fact God’s Word has many verses on thanksgiving and gratitude.

Let’s look at Philippians 4:6-7. “6 Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. 7 And the peace of God that surpasses all understanding will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.”

Do you see it?

Look at the results of praying with thanksgiving?

Verse 7 says that the peace of God will guard your hearts and your minds.

Amazing? Yes.

Right there in Scripture is “self help” advice. Only it’s not really “self help” but “God help” but many self help books and gurus out there will talk about the benefits of living a life of thanksgiving. But God already knew about the benefits.

I have nothing against self help books. I started reading them in 1978 and benefited much from them. But what I’m saying is the principles that I read were really God’s principles first.

Life Is A Journey

This is my first guest post by a new friend Marigold Jones. You can link to her blog  here. Mari writes about her life’s journey from lost to found…”toward the city with foundations, whose architect is God” Hebrews 11:10

So enjoy this post and please leave a comment and also check out her blog as well!

My life is a journey of being here and staying here, on this tough path that chose me. However, I have given my life’s journey over to the one who made the sun, the moon, and the stars.  For better or worse, I vowed I would follow Him until I see Him face to face.

At the end of John chapter six the crowd gathered, and Jesus is talking about eating His flesh and drinking His blood.  Jesus said, “Whoever eats my flesh and drinks my blood has eternal life, and I will raise him up at the last day.”  (Verse fifty-four).  As twenty-first century Christians, we understand what he was saying; this is not cannibalism.  The Jews in verse fifty-two, however, took this literally.  “How can this man give us his flesh to eat?”  They didn’t comprehend.  Consequently, we are told, “From this point, many of his disciples turned back and no longer followed him.”  (Verse sixty-six)

Jesus asked the twelve, “You do not want to leave too, do you?”  (Verse sixty-seven)  Peter gave the most profound answer.  “Lord, to whom shall we go?  You have the words of eternal life.  We believe you and know that you are the Holy One of God.”

“Come, follow me,” Jesus said, “and I will send you out to fish for people.”  Matthew 4:19 Jesus asked the twelve just as He asks us today.

There are days I am tempted to click the “unfollow” button.  Just for a bit, though, until the bumpy road levels out and I can see sunny days.  Then I will “follow” again.  Some days I would rather choose to grumble, wallow in the mud, and sulk in self-pity because this is not the life I chose.  Left to my desires, I would take the easy road.  Jesus says “Whoever wants to be my disciple must deny themselves and take up their cross daily and follow me.” Luke 9:23 Frankly, desiring to be like Christ and sticking with it until the end is a tough choice.

Peter put it plainly, “Where else would we go, Lord?”

Where would I go?  Back to the previous path I traveled?  Granted it was fun and I had life at my fingertips, but to gain the world and lose my soul?  Is that worth it?  I don’t want to go back.

Jesus called the disciples, just like He calls me, to leave my old way of thinking, pick up my nets, and follow Him.  Leave my perfect world expectations and trust (in faith) that His plan for my journey is good.

The “unfollow” button is just a click away.  I can give up and give in.  Jesus could have removed himself from the cross when the going was beyond tough.  He didn’t.  He saw His death, burial, and resurrection all the way through to the end.

This journey chose me.  Where else would I go when my Savior gave His all?

Father, take my foolish pride and my expectations.  Take my life and breath and this heart that is now yours.  All my heart’s desires, I lay at your feet.  I trust the one who gave sight to the blind, made the broken whole, and walked out of a tomb.

You can have it all Lord; this is your journey, and I follow you.

Where are angels when we need them?

warrior-angelI believe angels are sent to protect us. They are commanded by King Jesus to direct affairs and protect us from the enemy who would want us to turn from Him just because we experience tough times.

For it is written: ‘He will command His angels concerning You to guard You carefully; and they will lift You up in their hands, so that You will not strike Your foot against a stone.’”…Luke 4:10, 11

Let me share a recent experience of mine which included angels commanded by God to protect me from harm.

I was getting off the interstate onto a familiar road, looking left, then right, then left again….you know how that goes? I was careful that my path was clear before pulling off the exit ramp turning left onto the road.

All of a sudden, I heard vehicles collide, before even seeing them. What I did see were two vans skidding across the road toward me. Now, mind you, I drive a Nissan Versa. So I was frozen in time in those few seconds as they are moving closer toward me. My thoughts were that the one van would hit me and I was braced for impact. This all happened so quickly, that I had no time even to think about backing up or otherwise get out of the way.

Then, just as suddenly, the one van directly headed for me stopped as if something invisible caused to it come to a complete and sudden stop. That vehicle was so close to mine that I had to back up to open my car.

I sensed an angel between my car and the oncoming van, holding it back. Yes, that was a moment in time I will never forget. And yes, I believe God commands His angels to do battle for us, even in the smallest of issues.

Having said all of the above, I often wonder why me and that time? Why does it seem as if sometimes angels are sent and sometimes they are not? God is Omniscient (all knowing), Omnipresent (all present), and Omnipotent (all powerful). He sees the bigger picture. He knows there are more of His children affected in any given situation than we are individually aware. I just have to trust that He knows what is needed at any given moment in time for each of us.

I don’t believe this takes away from the fact that He loves each and every one of us so much that He sent His Son to die for us. And the Work of the Cross covers all of our human error which apparently caused the car wreck from which I barely escaped.

 

How do you deal with trials?

Our family is once again experiencing trials of epic proportions. This summer has been one trial after another. I became very sick with a condition that has been building over many years. I’ve lost 35 pounds since October 2015, but most of that weight was lost between March and beginning of August of this year.  I’m definitely happy to have lost weight and I’m still trying to eat healthy so even though my health is improving, I would like to continue to lose down to a new goal.

In January our family experienced another stressful setback.

Next thing that happened my brother had emergency surgery about six weeks ago for a life-threatening situation. He survived and is recovering well.

Now we have news again that the stressful situation from January is rearing its ugly head again.

So last night I woke up about 1:30 a.m. and could not get back to sleep with all this stuff swirling around my head. And I’m sure I’m not the only family member who lost sleep. It’s still pre-dawn so I don’t want to start calling or texting.

I finally chose to read my bible and found Job 1:13-19. Each of those verses starts with the previous report still being made to Job about something catastrophic which just happened. Each verse starting with 14 starts with “While he was still speaking, another messenger arrived with this news:…”

Wow, talk about being bombarded with bad news one right after the other. At least I have had some sort of a reprieve between each episode of bad news.

I know our family will get through this, just as Job eventually was blessed for his faith in God through all those catastrophes, even the loss of his children.

I don’t know about you, but I see those people from the Bible stories lived the same kind of lives we live, they had the same doubts, the same reactions to trouble, the same heart wounds that we experience today. But, in the end, they put their faith in knowing God was their provider, He was their healer, and He was the restorer of all that was lost. And I find great comfort in that.

With much difficulty and in my misery and insomnia, I fell back on another Scripture which helps me focus on the good days past and the ones ahead. The days of blessings from my Father.

“And now, dear brothers and sisters, one final thing. Fix your thoughts on what is true, and honorable, and right, and pure, and lovely, and admirable. Think about things that are excellent and worthy of praise.” Philippians 4:8 NLT

Now I was ready to doze off for a couple of hours. Thank you, Father, for giving us your Word to help in times of trial and tribulation.