Hope Reflected

Encouragement and Hope from God's Word

listening to God Archive



November 2020

Are you listening?

Written by , Posted in Christian Living, Published Work

Listening is important

We all have a desire to be heard, the problem is not many of us listen. From birth, even without words, babies try to communicate with others – because they long to be heard. Mothers typically recognize the cry of their child because they’ve spent so much time listening.

We also see this with animals. Dickens has an interesting way of communicating, using his front paws to reach out and touch us when he wants something. He also barks incessantly at any threat outside our home. We’ve become so attuned listening to his bark that we understand when he sees a squirrel, cat, or a human.

Listening requires action

Listening requires action on our part, which we tend to forget. We get caught up thinking that action comes when we speak, which is why many of us have a habit of interrupting. Rather than listening to what others have to say, we start planning a smart response, readying our reaction rather than hearing what others are saying.

One benefit to listening is that we become more receptive. After a conversation with Nathan, King David had a responsive heart to hear the Lord. In 2 Samuel 7, we understand the blessing that comes with listening, as when we truly listen, we grow closer to God. “Wherefore thou art great, O LORD God:” David proclaimed, “for there is none like thee, neither is there any God beside thee, according to all that we have heard with our ears.” (v. 22). Listening – not just laying out our prayer lists – is one of the most important aspects of our relationship with God.

Another blessing of listening is that it helps us to learn. When Paul and Silas preached the Gospel to the Berean Jews, we read in Acts 17:11, “that they received the word with all readiness of mind, and searched the scriptures daily, whether those things were so.” Mark Twain once said that, “Wisdom is the reward you get for a lifetime of listening when you would rather have talked.” We cannot learn unless we listen.

“Wisdom is the reward you get for a lifetime of listening when you would rather have talked.”

Mark Twaint

Listening also helps us to deal with hard truths and become discerning

We are all guilty of avoiding topics that make us uncomfortable. Perhaps we feel less informed than the person we’re speaking with, but more often than not, we have a hard time accepting the truth – especially when it’s not convenient. A great example of this is found in John 6. After feeding the five thousand, Jesus was preaching in Capernaum, and He went against the grain of the popular teachers of the day by sharing the truth: That salvation is found in Him alone – not in how much money we give away, or how frequently we go to church, or which family we belong to. This made a lot of people uncomfortable – it still does today – to the point that some of His followers left Him. “Many therefore of his disciples, when they had heard this, said, This is an hard saying; who can hear it?” (v. 60). Until we start listening, we will struggle to deal with the truth.

God speaks to those who listen.

Originally published as “Are you listening?” Independent Plus. June 11, 2020: 5. Print. Web.



August 2018

Hope Reflected | Listening to God

Written by , Posted in Christian Living, Published Work

"Call to me, and I will answer you." (Jeremiah 33:3) Listening to God | See more at hopereflected.com

Listening to God

Listening to God is one of the most important components to being a Christian

If you watch, listen, or read the news, you’ve likely heard about Vice President Pence being mocked for saying that He talks to God and listens for God’s voice. “I will hear what God the LORD will speak,” reads Psalm 85:8. One of the fundamentals of the Christian faith is that we communicate with the Lord, and listen for His leading. While it may not be popular, that doesn’t mean that it’s not right.

Last week, Wes and I were discussing the importance of listening to God. We place so much emphasis on talking to God, but what about the other side of the conversation? Sometimes when God is speaking to us, He’s easy to hear. You make a prayer request, and He answers it, sometimes very obviously. When we slow down, we often hear God in the quiet times – early in the morning or late at night lying in bed – and that’s one reason why so many people turn up the noise and distractions of music, talking, and that bad word “busy”. But what about listening to God in the chaos? Oh, how challenging it can be to hear God when we have so much going on! When the clock is ticking and we’re feeling overwhelmed, we often talk ourselves into believing several myths to avoid listening to God.

Myth #1: I don’t have time. “Be still, and know that I am God.” (Psalm 46:10) Some days, you just find yourself running: Laundry, dishes, work, meetings, dinner, and the list goes on. One of the biggest myths about listening to God is that you don’t have time. That’s not true! You do have time. In fact, any time that you do have is a gift from God. Charles Stanley says that “prayer is life’s greatest time saver,” and he couldn’t be more correct. When we take the time to take our problems and our praises to the Lord, He hears us. When we take the time to listen to God, we’ll often be surprised at what we hear. God longs to speak to us, and prayer is a two-way street.

Myth #2: Thanks, Lord, but I’ve got this under control. “There are many devices in a man’s heart; nevertheless the counsel of the LORD, that shall stand.” (Proverbs 19:21) Why would we spend time listening to God when we’ve got it under control! We’re all guilty of thinking we’ve got everything under control or that we’re the orchestrators of our own circumstances. Ultimately, however, we’re told in the Bible that God is One Who is in control. Job 12:10 says that, “In His hand is the life of every living thing and the breath of all mankind.” God’s thoughts are so much higher than our thoughts, and His ways are higher than our ways (Isaiah 55:8-9). The next time you catch yourself thinking you’ve got things under control, take a moment and give it to God.

Myth #3: It won’t make a difference. “Ask, and it will be given to you; seek, and you will find; knock, and it will be opened to you.” (Matthew 7:7) Sometimes we negate the importance of listening to God because we think that listening to God won’t make a difference, or that casting our cares at His feet doesn’t really matter. This is where our faith comes in. So often, when everything’s going our way, we’re less apt to take things to the Lord in prayer, but really that’s when it’s the most important! Keeping a prayer journal and a record of prayer requests, answers to prayer, and praises, is an awesome way to recall to mind and remind ourselves that our time spent listening to God really does make a difference!

“Call to me and I will answer you, and will tell you great and hidden things that you have not known,” reads Jeremiah 33:3. Listening to God is one of the most important components to being a Christian; do you have a listening ear? As C.S. Lewis said, “God whispers to us in our pleasures, speaks to us in our conscience, but shouts to us in our pains: it is His megaphone to rouse a deaf world.”

Originally published as “Listening to God.” Minto Express, Independent Plus, Arthur Enterprise-News, Mount Forest Confederate. March 15, 2018: 6. Print. Web.