He Hears

You and I live in a loud world.  To get someone’s attention is no easy task.  He must be willing to set everything aside to listen:  turn down the radio, turn away from the monitor, turn that corner of the page and set down the book.  When someone is willing to silence everything else so he can hear us clearly, it is a privilege.  A rare privilege indeed.

You can talk to God because God listens.  Your voice matters in heaven.  He takes you very seriously.  When you enter His presence, the attendants turn to you to hear your voice.  No need to fear that you will be ignored.  Even if you stammer of stumble, even if what you have to say impresses no one, it impresses God – and He listens.  He listens to the painful plea of the elderly in the rest home.  He listens to the gruff confession of the death-row inmate.  When the alcoholic begs for mercy, when the spouse seeks guidance, when the businessman steps off the street into the chapel, God listens.

Intently.  Carefully.  The prayers are honored as precious jewels.  Purified and empowered, the words rise in a delightful fragrance to our Lord.  “The smoke from the incense went up from the angel’s hand to God.”  Incredible.  Your words do not stop until they reach the very throne of God.

…your prayers move God to change the world.  You may not understand the mystery of prayer.  You don’t need to.  But this much is clear:  Actions in heaven begin when someone prays on earth.  What an amazing thought!

– Max Lucado

 

Another angel, who had a golden censer, came and stood at the altar. He was given much incense to offer, with the prayers of all God’s people, on the golden altar in front of the throne. The smoke of the incense, together with the prayers of God’s people, went up before God from the angel’s hand. Then the angel took the censer, filled it with fire from the altar, and hurled it on the earth; and there came peals of thunder, rumblings, flashes of lightning and an earthquake.

– Revelation 8:3-5 (NIV)

 

For the eyes of the Lord are [looking favorably] upon the righteous (the upright), And His ears are attentive to their prayer (eager to answer), But the face of the Lord is against those who practice evil.

– 1 Peter 3:12 (AMP)

 

Photo by Wade Callison

 

Parent Love

 

“My love and prayers are always covering you.”

 

A covering

as in

a blanket

a coat

a shelter

 

warmth

protection

enveloping

concealing

from the onslaught

 

Extending over

as a shield

 

A treasured message from my mom

A gift passed on to my children

 

Parental love and prayer

Powerful

– Susie Stewart

 

Don’t you see that children are God’s best gift? The fruit of the womb His generous legacy? Like a warrior’s fistful of arrows are the children of a vigorous youth. Oh, how blessed are you parents, with your quivers full of children! Your enemies don’t stand a chance against you; you’ll sweep them right off your doorstep.

– Psalm 127:4 (MSG)

 

Make the things I’m commanding you today part of who you are. Repeat them to your children. Talk about them when you’re sitting together in your home and when you’re walking together down the road. Make them the last thing you talk about before you go to bed and the first thing you talk about the next morning. Do whatever it takes to remember them: tie a reminder on your hand and bind a reminder on your forehead where you’ll see it all the time, such as on the doorpost where you cross the threshold or on the city gate.

– Deuteronomy 6:6-9 (VOICE)

 

Be assured that from the first day we heard of you, we haven’t stopped praying for you, asking God to give you wise minds and spirits attuned to his will, and so acquire a thorough understanding of the ways in which God works. We pray that you’ll live well for the Master, making Him proud of you as you work hard in His orchard. As you learn more and more how God works, you will learn how to do your work. We pray that you’ll have the strength to stick it out over the long haul—not the grim strength of gritting your teeth but the glory-strength God gives. It is strength that endures the unendurable and spills over into joy, thanking the Father who makes us strong enough to take part in everything bright and beautiful that He has for us.

– Colossians 1:8-10 (MSG)

 

Photo by Olan Mills way back when

It’s a Secret

I like to get to the point.  I’m not one for a lot of small talk.  I like the way Jesus gets to the point.

I’ve been reading His teachings when he spoke to crowds from a mountainside.  It’s the part in Matthew where my Bible’s pages are covered in red print, the words of my Savior.  Matthew 5, 6 and 7 are sectioned into tidy topics.  With good reason.  There do seem to be distinct topics.  But when I look at those chapters as a whole, I see that one of the many underlying themes is secrecy.  Jesus makes it plain as day that we need to do things in secret.  When we give to the needy, when we pray, when we fast, it shouldn’t ever be to gain attention from people.  All of it should be directed toward God, to draw us closer to Him, and to bring Him glory.

“Be careful not to do your acts of righteousness before men, to be see by them…when you give to the needy, do not announce it with trumpets, as the hypocrites do in the synagogues and on the street, to be honored by men…do not let your left hand know what your right hand is doing, so that your giving may be in secret.”

“And when you pray, do not be like the hypocrites, for they love to pray standing in the synagogues and on the street corners to be seen by men…but when you pray, go into your room, close the door and pray to your Father, who is unseen…”

“When you fast, do not look somber as the hypocrites do, for they disfigure their faces to show men they are fasting…when you fast, put oil on your head and wash your face, so that it will not be obvious to men that you are fasting, but only to your Father , who is unseen…”

And then the promise that is in all three sections:

“…then your Father, who sees what is done in secret, will reward you.”

I want to get to the place where I only care what God thinks!  Sure it’s good to be aware of how people perceive me, but I want to only care if I have the approval of the King of Glory.  If I am doing what I know He approves of, then my interactions with people will  follow suit.  “By their fruit you will recognize them,” it says in Matthew 7.  I’m not recognized by people as a follower of Jesus by my eloquent prayers, or how I give to those in need, or my fasting practices.  I’m recognized by supernatural fruit.  Yes, supernatural.  Sounds tasty, and it is.  Supernatural fruit in a person’s life, evidence that Christ lives in them, is visible to Believer and Non.  It is the sweetness of a loving God.  It shows where our hearts are.

Vine, branch, fruit.

Secrecy, promise, reward.

Simple, right?  Not so much.  We are creatures that typically like to draw attention to ourselves.

Lord, less of me and more of You!  Let my actions, words and thoughts be full of you and let the “overflow of my heart” be evidence of my time with You, for Your glory, and Yours alone.  I love you, Jesus.

– Susie Stewart