In his classic book, The Friendship Factor, Alan Loy McGinnis gives the following characteristics of a good listener:
1. Good listeners listen with their eyes.
2. Good listeners dispense advice sparingly.
3. Good listeners never break a confidence.
4. Good listeners “complete the loop” of communication.
5. Good listeners show gratitude when someone confides.
That certainly works in your relationships with people. But it’s also an opportunity to remind you that the God of Heaven invites us into a friendship with Him. In some ways, the things Dr. McGinnis has to say about listening well to other people can translate into listening to the Lord. Based on his wise advice, let me offer a few suggestions for being a good listener in the spiritual realm: [click to continue…]
During World War II a South Sea Islander proudly displayed his Bible to an American GI. “We’ve outgrown that sort of thing,” the American replied.
“It’s a good thing we haven’t,” smiled the native. “If it wasn’t for this book, you’d have been a meal by now!”
Do you ever find yourself feeling restless or uncomfortable when you hear someone else quote the Bible in public? Do you find yourself at times living like the American GI, as though you’d “outgrown that sort of thing?”
The truth is, you never outgrow your need for the word of God because you never outgrow your need for the voice of God. Ever since the days of Eden, however, the enemy has tried to stand between us and our most authentic source of life.
Jesus said, “Man shall not live by bread alone, by every word that proceeds from the mouth of God.” Why is it so important to hear God speak? [click to continue…]
“In Paris they simply stared when I spoke to them in French; I never did succeed in making those idiots understand their language.” -Mark Twain
In communication, clarity rules.
But logic is only one way people make sense of things. [click to continue…]
Yeah, quiet. You ask how I am… I’m quiet.
In what way? Are you upset?
No. I don’t think so. Just quiet.
Worse ways to be, I guess.
I suppose so.
And what brought you to this place of being so quiet?
I guess it all started with this sense of yearning – of longing for something more in my walk with the Lord.
That’s a good thing.
Sure, ‘til I realized what’s in the way.
Which is…? [click to continue…]
The world is full of complex, overwhelming problems.
It’s also full of all sizes and shapes of problem solvers. [click to continue…]
Janie had an appointment with God. And the Lord didn’t show up. He’d always been pretty good at keeping the times Janie had set for Him – mostly in the little things like daily blessings and answered prayer. But this was a big one, and the Lord didn’t keep His end of the bargain.
See, Janie just knew that God was going to give her a husband, and she knew who it would be. Chuck was obviously God’s choice for her… how else could she explain all the little coincidences, the magic feeling in her heart, and even those confirming verses she read in scripture.
Apparently, however, the Lord forgot to clue Chuck in on the plan, and the big guy had plans of his own.
Janie was devastated. And more than that, she was bewildered. She had been so sure in her heart. But somebody missed God, or God missed somebody. And the result? Janie’s appointment with God ended up as a dis-appointment.
Same thing happened to Chuck with regard to his career, though he wouldn’t call it that. To Chuck it was more of a calling. [click to continue…]
Wanna get away? Want some great in-flight entertainment? Just take a trip with your favorite three-year-old. And try making a list of all the questions you hear. Here, hot off the press, is a partial sampler from a flight we took this past Friday.
What’s amazing is how many of the questions are the same when we’re 33 or 55. We just develop questions behind the questions as we get older. The rest of this is written by Mr. Cohen Thomas (he just doesn’t know it yet)…
Why are we not going?
Are we going down?
[After passing through the clouds] Where is God?
Are we almost to Disney Wouwd? (World)
What’s that button for?
Why are we not going to Grandma and Granddaddy’s house?
Are we almost to Disney Wouwd?
Why are we going to be there tonight?
Why? [click to continue…]
You’d think by now I’d have this down.
Making decisions and finding God’s will.
Is that what you mean by “being at a crossroads?”
Yeah, I have some decisions to make, and it’s kind of a mixed bag. Some really good things and some really challenging things, either way I go.
But I don’t want to just do what I want to do. I want to do God’s will.
As opposed to your will?
Yes. I know that he speaks through my desires. But even that’s mixed up right now.
And you need Him to sort all that out for you?
Sorta like those neon arrows on the highway at night that say, “Stop here?”
Boy, wouldn’t that be awesome? [click to continue…]
Charles is nothing short of an odd combination. He’s an immensely popular preacher and pastor, having preached to more people than anyone else on the planet, with the exception of Billy Graham and perhaps a couple of others. Yet while he rarely shows it, he’s a physical mess. He suffers from rheumatic gout and kidney disease, and there are days he can’t even leave the house because of the excruciating pain.
His wife is a mess. This woman, whom he loves dearly, has disabilities of her own, and this weighs heavily on Charles.
His finances are a mess. Despite the reach of Charles’ ministry, a sober look at his books reveals an ugly secret: the man is broke-down broke.
His relationships are a mess. [click to continue…]
The stress you feel is proportional to the amount of control you have over a situation.
That sounds very intuitive, but there’s a spiritual contradiction to that. More on that in a minute.
Here’s an example of how that idea works out in the natural. A month ago I go to the doctor and he says my lipid levels are high. I roll my eyes and say, “same old same old.” I don’t get stressed about it because there is something I can do to correct it. Anyway, I’ve been hearing that for 30 years.
When he sends me for another test and I find out my heart calcium score is high, almost in the danger zone, again, the first thing I do is look for something I can do about it, because I have a steadfast belief that I can do something about it. So I’m motivated, but not stressed.
Same thing goes, even when I’m told I’m a Type II diabetic because of my lifestyle choices in the past. Well, crud. But I can do something about that by making different choices (and by the way I am making different choices and seeing wonderful results).
But when the doctor says I have a narrowing in the arteries at the top of my heart and he “wants to take a look at it” with an angiogram, and oh, by the way, if there is a significant enough blockage he may put a stint in it, suddenly he has crossed the line of my control.
Hello stress. [click to continue…]