DayBreaks for 3/20/19 – Listen Slowly

Image result for listening to God

DayBreaks for 3/20/19: Listen Slowly

Matthew 17:5 (CSBBible) – While he was still speaking, suddenly a bright cloud covered them, and a voice from the cloud said: “This is my beloved Son, with whom I am well-pleased. Listen to him!”

Writer Charles Swindoll once found himself with too many commitments in too few days. He got nervous and tense about it. He was snapping at his wife and children, choking down his food at mealtimes, and feeling irritated every time there was an unexpected interruption in his day. He recalls in his book, Stress Fractures, that before long, things around their home started reflecting the pattern of his hurry-up life style. He said the situation was becoming unbearable. Then it happened.

After supper one evening his younger daughter, Colleen wanted to tell him something important that had happened to her at school that day. She began hurriedly, “Daddy, I wanna tell you somethin’ and I’ll tell you really fast.”

Suddenly realizing her frustration, Swindoll answered, “Honey, you can tell me — and you don’t have to tell me really fast. Say it slowly.” He has never forgotten her answer: “Then listen slowly.”

Can’t you hear God’s voice in a new light, saying to Peter, James, and John: “This is my Son, listen to him! Slow down. Don’t be so quick to move things your way, to shape the world as you see it Peter. Don’t be so quick to climb the corporate ladder, to join the rat pack and be number one John. Don’t try to beat your colleagues to the first position James. Slow down. My Son is trying to show you another way, another world, another kingdom. If you will listen slowly.”

Let’s resolve speak less quickly and be slower listeners to Jesus!

PRAYER: Jesus, help us to talk less and listen to you more slowly!  In Jesus’ name, Amen.

Copyright by 2019 by Galen C. Dalrymple.  ><}}}”>

 

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DayBreaks for 10/18/17 – Do You REALLY Want to Hear?

DayBreaks for 10/18/17: Do You REALLY Want to Hear?

From the DayBreaks archive, October 2007:

It was a burning question when I was in my teens and early twenties.  It is a burning question today.  It seems that Christians, rightly so, are interesting in understanding how to know God’s will and to hear His voice giving direction.  I imagine that it has been a question that has been asked by God’s people from immediately after the Garden of Eden onward, and it will continue to be asked until we literally hear His voice at the end of time.

It’s a question that gets asked in a lot of different ways: “How do I know what God wants me to do?”  “Why doesn’t God seem to speak to me?”  “Why hasn’t God given me any direction about this matter?”  Sometimes it comes more from Christians as a request to me (as a pastor) to tell someone what they should do!

I must admit that I don’t always know what to say.  I know God is more than capable of giving direction – and I believe He does it all the time.  I think the problem lies not with Him and His ability to communicate, but in our ability and willingness to hear.

If you’re trying to discern God’s will about something in particular right now, I’m going to venture out into a generality here that may or may not apply to your situation.  But I think that there is truth in what I’m going to say.

But, before I say it, let me make an observation.  Many times when I have people come to me asking for advice about what to do, I try my best to help them.  But here’s something that I’ve noticed many times: these people are often involved in some kind of questionable, or even sinful, activity – yet they are seeking the blessing of God’s guidance.  I try to share something from Scripture with them about what they may be doing.  More often than not, they don’t want to hear that, they just want an answer for what to do with the dilemma they are facing or the guilt they are feeling.

In Hearing God, Dallas Willard wrote: “Anyone who rejects the general counsels of Scripture is in fact planning not to be guided by God and cannot then rely on being able to be delivered from their difficulties by obtaining God’s input on particular occasions.”

Are you struggling to find God’s guidance?  Perhaps it is because you are rejecting the general counsel of Scripture.  I think Willard is right: when we reject Scripture, we’ve already declared our intention to God to not follow His guidance.  And that’s a very dangerous ground to walk on!

PRAYER:  Incline our hearts and ears to hear and obey Your word, Lord, even when it carries a message that we’d rather not hear!  Help us resolve to be open to Your guidance and correction so that we can hear Your voice in all things.  In Jesus’ name, Amen.

Copyright by 2017 by Galen C. Dalrymple.

DayBreaks for 06/28/13 – The Sound of Falling Snow

DayBreaks for 06/28/13 – The Sound of Falling Snow

snowflakes falling in the woods1 Kings 19:11-12 (NLT) – “Go out and stand before me on the mountain,” the LORD told him. And as Elijah stood there, the LORD passed by, and a mighty windstorm hit the mountain. It was such a terrible blast that the rocks were torn loose, but the LORD was not in the wind. After the wind there was an earthquake, but the LORD was not in the earthquake.  And after the earthquake there was a fire, but the LORD was not in the fire. And after the fire there was the sound of a gentle whisper.”

When Elijah finally made it to the mountain of the Lord (Horeb, or Sinai) on his flight from Jezebel, God wants to speak with him, so He invites him to go stand outside of the cave where he’s been in hiding.  A mighty windstorm, so severe that rocks were torn loose (“shattered” in other translations), swept the mountain.  Now I’ve heard windstorms before, having lived in Florida where there are hurricanes, but I’ve never seen nor heard a wind so strong that it shattered rocks and tossed them about like paper!  But that might have been what I would have expected of the Lord if he were to speak with me.  But God wasn’t in the wind.

An earthquake followed the wind.  Again, living in California, I’ve experienced a lot of earthquakes.  I went to Haiti after that horrible earthquake and seen their power first hand.  But God wasn’t in the might and strength of the earthquake, either.

A fire follows – but still no God.

Finally, there is the “…sound of a gentle whisper.”  In the original languages, the word used for “a gentle whisper” is the word for the sound of falling snow.  I lived in Maine and some of the most profound moments of my life occurred there when I went out onto the front porch during a snowfall in the woods and just listened.  It was so very, very silent. 

When I learned about the meaning of the original words here for “gentle whisper”, I was almost swept of my feet with the realization that when I ask God for some word of direction or guidance, I may need to be very, very quiet otherwise I won’t hear Him.  Often, however, when I am desperate enough to seek His direction and a word from Him, my soul and mind and heart are racing and raging and my inner person is filled with noise.  How can I expect to hear a gentle whisper?  Doesn’t Scripture tell us to “Be still and know that I am God”?  Aren’t we told that “The Lord is in His holy temple.  Let all the earth keep silence before Him”? 

I need to learn the discipline of silence.  God could have been in the wind, the earthquake and/or the fire.  But in this instance at least, He wasn’t.  He was in the gentle whisper that one can only hear when we are listening that closely and have quieted our souls.  God is not an obtrusive, bully that makes us hear Him.  He invites us to hear Him, but we have to listen very closely.  Why doesn’t He give us loud words?  It might kill us.  He is gentle, He is loving, He is longing for us to hear Him!

PRAYER:  God, I want to hear Your voice and receive Your direction.  Be still, oh my soul, that I can hear His gentle whisper.  In Jesus’ name, Amen.

Copyright 2013 by Galen C. Dalrymple.

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