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Archive for the ‘ears/listening’ Category

If you are searching for that that last minute or super special Christmas gift you might want to consider having a star named for the person you have on your mind. You can choose between an “Ordinary Star” (from $19.95), and “Extra Bright Star” (from $39.95), or a “Binary Star” (from $64.95). If you want go all out with this idea you can go with the gift sets (from $74.95, $84.95, $124.94 respectively).  You could join 17,000 others who plunked their money down to have someone’s name attached to a real star by this independent, albeit unofficial, star registry. Yes, you could brighten someone’s Christmas Day, more accurately night, in a way they never imagined. And if you ever misplace or lose your “Star Deed” you can contact the good folks at STARNAME Registry.org and they will help you. I am sure the passing along of this ordinary, extra, or double “bright idea” will be another reason why you so value my Pastor’s Notes.

I wonder. How much money have stars generated over time? How many other clever star schemes have people come up with? Astrology is alive and well even today, and suckers are still being borne every day. But the stars themselves, the universe as a whole does declare truth, The heavens proclaim the glory of God. The skies display his craftsmanship” Psalm 19:1 (NLT); “The heavens proclaim his righteousness; every nation sees his glory” Psalm 97:6 (NLT); “The basic reality of God is plain enough. Open your eyes and there it is! By taking a long and thoughtful look at what God has created, people have always been able to see what their eyes as such can’t see: eternal power, for instance, and the mystery of his divine being. So nobody has a good excuse (for not acknowledging and worshiping God)” Romans 1:19-20 (MSG, parenthesis mine).

Regardless of the tendency of sinful human nature to either exploit and pervert spiritual things or to disregard God and explain him away, the testimony of the stars stands, God is real, his power and wisdom are both incomprehensible and immense, we are accountable to him, and the most proper response to God is to love, worship, and obey him. “Jesus was born in Bethlehem in Judea, during the reign of King Herod. About that time some wise men from eastern lands arrived in Jerusalem, asking, ‘Where is the newborn king of the Jews? We saw his star as it rose, and we have come to worship him’” Matthew 2:1-2 (NLT). That star was visible to anyone who cared to look, but it seems people came to vastly different conclusion and vastly different responses. Most wise men from eastern lands stayed home, kept peddling the same astrology they had for centuries, it is difficult to adjust yourself to spiritual truth. King Herod saw the very notion of a new king as a threat his godless world of politics and power, it is difficult to submit to divine authority. The Jewish elite and scholars did not want their personal, political, and religious world be turned upside down, so they also gave it no significance, it is difficult to take God at his word.

For this Christmas I challenge you to look up into the night sky and see and hear its declaration of God, to pursue spiritual truth, to lead you to worship. If you follow that path it will still lead you to Jesus Christ, God incarnate, the ultimate revelation of God, the one who can save us from our sins.

Merry Christmas. Love you, Pastor Hans

P.S. If you are tempted to go the Star Registry website, RESIST! Instead look for ways to give those $20-100 or so to your church, a missionary agency, the Salvation Army, Red Cross, Doctors without Borders, World Vision, Compassion International, or help someone in your community, or find a way to help the millions of refugees of our day.

 

 

 

 

 

 

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To whom shall I speak and give warning that they may hear? Behold, their ears are closed and they cannot listen. Behold, the word of the LORD has become a reproach to them; they have no delight in it. Jeremiah 6:10 (NASB)

How’s your hearing? Especially when it comes to hearing God? I know, I know, it is easy to claim to have heard from God, it is quite another thing to actually have ears that are capable of listening to God. For the former all you have to do is say some words, for the latter you have to actually address your ability to hear.

Our physical ability to hear is impacted by host of things, trauma, genetics, illnesses, and age (No one told me that by middle age I would all but lose my ability to grow hair, except of course in my ears which all of the sudden are able to grow hair as quickly and as dense as a patch of bamboo. And how far does sound carry in a thick forest?).

What affects our spiritual ears, our ability to hear God?

  • Apathy. Not wanting to, not caring to hear from God. We don’t pay much attention to what we do not care about. We listen so much better to what is important to us.
  • Age. When we are young we are unfamiliar with the ways God speaks. As we get older it is not just unfamiliarity but also more and more things/“hairs” that impede and muffle God’s voice.
  • Filters. We develop filters through which we hear: cultural and sub-cultural filters, political filters, personal filters, religious/philosophical filters, interest filters, love and hate filters, and such. This filtering process limits God to speaking on only certain frequencies, on the channels we like, on the content we approve. It is tough to really hear God when we are busy censoring him.
  • Bones. Our ears don’t work well when we are mad, angry, bitter. When we are at odds with God it is difficult to hear him, when he allows the fire to burn us, evil to touch us, pain to torture us, injustice to cheat us, grief to strike us, or the inexplicable to happen to us or those who deeply care about without any good and satisfying explanation. It is so tough to hear while picking a bone.
  • Answers. There are few, if any, questions when we have all the answers and the more answers we have the more we usually talk and the less we listen. The more answers we have the more we claim to have it all figured out, the more we have all figure out the more we think others should listen, preferably to us, including God.
  • Noise. Try having a conversation at a rock concert, when the TV is blaring, with someone who has head phones on, in a crowded room. Try talking with someone who’s filled with worry, always in a hurry, constantly interrupted, or stuck in the trivial. Not to speak of some of things you read above under “bones.”
  • Inflexibility. Listening to God, being in a relationship with him requires faith and faith requires flexibility. In speaking to us God invites us to adjust ourselves, our lives to him. We like to have it the other way around, that’s why the more opinionated we are the less flexible we become. (I can already hear some objections, calls for theological clarification, but remember the topic of this p-note is listening to God.)

Oh how much I want you and me to be good at listening to God, to what he said through his Son Jesus Christ, when he speaks today by the Holy Spirit. Our lives are so much richer when we hear, when we know how to listen, especially to God.

“He who has ears, let him hear.” Matthew 13:9 (NASB)

 

To God be all glory. Love you, Pastor Hans

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