I've been thinking lately about why sometimes I feel like God is speaking to me and other times, even though I'm doing the same thing, I hear nothing.
I think it boils down to having a heart that's prepared to hear from God.
It's funny. I was thinking about this and then I came across the following devotion from Rick Warren. I think he captures what I want to say better than I can say it:
Let’s say you’re a gardener. You’ve learned that you can take the exact same seed and plant it in three different locations and get three different results. In one spot, you’ll get giant tomatoes. In another, you’ll get small tomatoes. And in a third, you’ll get nothing. What’s the difference? It’s not the seed; it’s the soil. The soil must be prepared for the seed.
The same is true when you hear God’s Word. Your heart has to be prepared for the Word. If you get up late, have trouble finding a parking spot, and are irritated as you rush into church, you’re probably not going to hear God’s voice! You’re not in a receptive mood.
That’s why you can take two people to church, set them side-by-side, and one will walk out thinking God really spoke to him and the other won’t get anything out of the service. The heart of one person was prepared; the other’s heart wasn’t.
The Bible says, “Everyone should be quick to listen, slow to speak and slow to become angry, because human anger does not produce the righteousness that God desires. Therefore, get rid of all moral filth and the evil that is so prevalent and humbly accept the word planted in you, which can save you” (James 1:19b-21 NIV).
For good reception, this passage teaches that you have to have four attitudes:
I especially resonate what he says about being calm. I am too often rushed.
- You must be quiet. You can’t hear God if you’re talking.
- You have to be calm. You can’t rush God. If you’re frantic, you’re not going to hear him. The Bible says, “Be still and know that I am God.” My translation of that is: “Sit down, and shut up.”
- You have to be clean. Before you can meet with God, you need to take out your emotional and spiritual garbage. You need to get rid of the stuff that stinks in your life. You get rid of the garbage by confessing your sin to God and agreeing with him that what you did was wrong.
- You need to be humble. Be ready to do whatever God tells you from his Word. A prideful attitude won’t work.
In light of what Rick says, I have a challenge to issue, especially if you call Hub City Church your church home. Before you come to our worship gathering on Sunday, prepare yourself. Before you show up at your Hub Group, prepare yourself.
A glimpse into the world of boys
Anybody that has boys, or works with boys, has wondered at one time or all the time, “What is going on in their head and in their world?”
As a father of three boys who wants to be a better father of my boys, this book
is both fascinating and helpful. It’s fascinating in the sense that it gives
those of us outside of boy world a glimpse into boy world. It’s helpful in that
if gives practical advice about how to handle the plethora of boy world issues
that our boys face on a daily basis.
She covers topics like gaming, girls, sports, the pressures that come from the Act-Like-A-Man-Box and the hierarchy that exists in boy world. Some of the topics were very relevant to my family situation. Others were interesting but not all that helpful. I didn't agree with everything she said or recommended, but that doesn't take away the value of this book which is why I highly recommend it for all parents of boys and anyone who works with boys on a regular basis.
An added bonus is her free book called The Guide for teen boys. I downloaded it for my boys and one of them has already devoured all 300+ pages.
I need to make a disclaimer: I am a follower of Jesus, a Christian. For my fellow Christian friends: Neither of these books are written from a Christian perspective. I don't think that's a problem, but it is something you need to know, especially if you encourage your son to read The Guide. I'm not afraid of my boys reading stuff from a non-Christian perspective. I don't think you should be either. But I do think it's important to talk about different world views.
I received this book from Blogging for Books for review.
Don't give up on growth
I read this devotion from Rick Warren today and it was too good to keep to myself.
“Do not let any part of your body become an instrument of evil to serve sin. Instead, give yourselves completely to God, for you were dead, but now you have new life. So use your whole body as an instrument to do what is right for the glory of God.” (Romans 6:13 NLT)
Have you ever wondered why doesn’t God answer your prayers immediately? There are a couple of reasons.
The first reason is that he wants to know if you’re really serious. There’s a difference between a desire and a whim. When you have preschoolers you learn this. They ask, “Daddy, can I have this?” You answer, “No,” and they forget it. If they keep saying it over and over, it’s not a whim; it’s a desire.
God doesn’t answer whims. If you don’t care about praying about it more than once, it’s a whim. So God wants to see if you really mean business.
The second reason is that God is not a vending machine where you put in a prayer and the answer immediately pops out. God doesn’t serve you; you serve him.
If God answered every one of your prayers instantly, you would be the most self-centered person on the planet. Remember the movie “Bruce Almighty”? Jim Carrey’s character was given the ability to get anything he prayed for instantly. Whatever he asked for, he got it. He basically ruled the world! He also turned into a pretty terrible person.
You know the mess you’re in right now? You didn’t get into it instantly. You didn’t just make one bad choice; you made a lot of bad choices. So God has to peel the onion, one layer at a time.
If you’re serious about letting God change your life, you’ve got to hang on and not give up until God blesses you. Most people miss God’s best because they give up too soon. They give up in the struggle.
Don’t do it. Commit to God changing you — in his time. Don’t let go until he chooses to bless you.
Recovery is a process. Healing is a process. Growth is a process. It’s not a one-time event.
The Bible says in Romans 6:13, “Do not let any part of your body become an instrument of evil to serve sin. Instead, give yourselves completely to God, for you were dead, but now you have new life. So use your whole body as an instrument to do what is right for the glory of God” (NLT).