May 08, 2020
The loss of hearing is debilitating. Our ears are one of the primary gates that give us the ability to know and respond to everything. The eyes, the nose, the mouth all aid us, as well as the sense of touch. But hearing is foundational.
There are different levels of hearing. We hear thousands of sounds every day with no response. Our minds are conditioned to tune much of this out. We’ve labeled it “background noise.” Our kids and some dads exercise what we could call “selective hearing.” “Please take out the trash” is hardly ever heard the first time. “Let’s go get ice cream” is heard with the slightest whisper.
Our relationship with God is totally dependent on hearing. We must hear Him. Most don’t. We have allowed the world’s noise to so permeate us that our ears are rarely attuned to the “still small voice.” Spiritual indifference and rebellion clog our ears. God is speaking all the time (even the heavens and earth speak continually), but we do not hear. This is our greatest tragedy.
But our relationship is also dependent on God being willing to hear us when we come to Him. This is the greater condescension, the greater mercy, and the greater promise. There is no possibility of a relationship if it is one-sided. We must hear God, but we must also be assured that He hears us.
When Solomon finished the building of the first temple in Jerusalem, his dedicatory prayer was a plea for God to hear (1 Kings 8). His whole prayer, in essence was “We need You and will need You, so God, please HEAR US when we pray!”
Then Solomon recounts the various times when their prayers and God’s hearing are so greatly needed. “Please HEAR God ...”
Scroll through this prayer and you will notice that almost every human moment is covered. Solomon is basically asking, “Lord, if we pray, will you hear?”
Notice that each prayer for God to hear is conditioned on several things. The people must repent, confess, return to God, and pray. He will not hear a proud prayer or a selfish prayer or pray designed to advance a man’s kingdom and not God’s. His ear is deaf to those who will not listen to what He has said about their sin. And, of course, He will not hear what is not said. “You have not because you ask not,” James 4:2 says. There is much in the Scripture about the conditions for effective prayer.
But, if we will come in humility and repentance and approach God in prayer, He has promised to hear us! It is most amazing of all miracles. And, the One-Who-Hears has all the resources of heaven and earth at His disposal to meet our every need. God is, as George Mueller declared, is “a prayer-hearing and prayer-answering God!”
Father, I’m stunned again this morning by this truth. That You would make a way for me to approach You is amazing in light of my sin. I’m overwhelmed with gratitude for Your Son, Jesus, who lived and died and rose so that we could now enter and stand before Your Throne with peace facing You. That we could have an intimate relationship with You as friend-to-friend. Forgive me for not praying more often. Forgive me for not listening. But thank You, Father, for Your ever-hearing ear!
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August 07, 2020
August 06, 2020
There are thousands, perhaps millions of people who believe they are Christians who will never enter heaven. This is not my evaluation, but the clear teaching of Christ Himself.
Christ spoke of false prophets who "come to you in sheep clothing but inwardly are ravenous wolves" (Matt 7:15). It is not the outward clothing, but the inward heart that indicates a true believer.
What is the only way to know the difference between a professing believer and a real believer?
August 05, 2020
Of all the things Jesus could have addressed in the Sermon on the Mount, it's fascinating that He spends a good bit of time addressing worry. In fact, He commands us not to be worried: "Do not be worried about your life."
We are champion worriers. God knows that worry is so counterproductive. Not only is it useless, but it ties us up, destroys our faith, is a poor witness to those who are watching, and dishonors God. So, to help us He gives His true followers multiple reasons why worry is so useless.