Listening

Somewhere this week, I read “Documentary filmmaker Valarie Kaur on listening: ‘Deep listening is an act of surrender. We risk being changed by what we hear.'”

I try to note where I found a quote, but this week is a time of much reading to prepare my mind for writing a nonfiction book. I jotted this quote in a notebook called “Picturesque Speech,” which Charlie Shedd recommended writers keep, in his book If I Can Write, You Can Write.

His book is copyrighted in 1984 by Charlie W. Shedd, published by Writer’s Digest Books, Cincinnati, OH.

I looked through my current books, and decided I saw the quote by Valarie Kaur on Facebook. Not that I knew anything about her or her stance in life. I know a little now from getting on Facebook.

I’m trying to listen more closely to my husband, because sometimes he tells me I don’t listen to him. Or, I’ll exclaim over a revolutionary idea that will be an answer to a dilemma and he’ll tell me he told me that–many times before. “Really?”

I guess I wasn’t ready to hear it at that time. In the book of Proverbs, it speaks often about listening. (Proverbs 1:33, CEV) says, “But if you listen to me, you will be safe and secure without fear of disaster.” That is Wisdom speaking.

Proverbs is a book in the Old Testament written mostly by King Solomon, the wisest man in the world, but not perfectly wise. Too many women led him astray. Following false gods because of the ladies he married, or because of his concubines caused him a severe depression as he aged. Thus, we get the book of Ecclesiastes. By the end of Ecclesiastes, he tells people to remember God.

Solomon didn’t listen to his father, David. He also made wrong choices, but the Bible tells us David was a man after God’s heart. David listened to the prophet Nathan, when he confronted King David about a couple of terrible sins. David repented and faced some harsh consequences. Maybe he didn’t talk to Solomon much. His parenting skills suffered. The Bible doesn’t hide human foibles.

If someone you know offers you some great advice, I hope you will hear them. I’m not sure why I didn’t hear my husband those times. Maybe I wasn’t ready to make a change. Not listening can cause consequences. Good or bad, depending on the wisdom of the one doing the talking.

Proverbs talks about avoiding hours drinking alcohol and missing out on life. Proverbs tells the sons of Solomon to be faithful to their wife, even unto their elder years. I like that one! How to invest money. How to plant crops. How to manage time. So many categories. “The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom,” is early in the book of Proverbs. Maybe you and I will read from this book and “hear” something we will want to act upon, for our good. I read Scripture aloud sometimes as I pray for understanding. Maybe you do, too.

I pray this finds you well! God bless!

Living For Myself 

Yesterday in church, while my husband spoke on the history of the book of Daniel, somewhere a mention of living for God and not for me came to the forefront. I gave it some thought and prayed a bit.

Then tonight as I read parts of an e-book I purchased from Christian Book Distributors entitled, Honor Girl, near the end of Chapter 7 the heroine began to wonder if she should only be concerned with living her own life. The character’s aunt felt she should better herself and leave the care of her family to others.

The Honor Girl - eBook  -     By: Bill Wiese

I like how Grace Livingston Hill from long ago, writes of strong women making a difference in a home and in a community. The only complaint I’ve heard is that her heroines are too perfect.

I’ve observed that female descendants of Africans were given a dialogue that displeased me, but Grace Livingston Hill treated the women and young ladies with respect.

In thinking back to Sunday, the idea that if American Christians lived our lives as Daniel lived his, our country would benefit greatly.

Daniel prayed and obeyed God and lived in a manner that pleased those in authority over him. When King Darius, the Mede got manipulated into setting Daniel up for punishment by jealous nobles in the kingdom, Daniel got thrown into a den of lions. Daniel always took the “high road” and did what pleased God, even when it caused him severe consequences.

He trusted God and God rewarded that trust. He lived a non-selfish life, behaving with risky behavior by honoring the Jewish God in a society of worshipers of many gods – none of them the Israeli’s God.

If every Christian in America humbled themselves, repented of sin, turned from wicked ways and prayed to God, seeking His face, He promises to heal their land, in 2 Chronicles 7:14. A promise made specifically to the Jewish nation makes sense to me that it would apply to Christians as well.

I need God every day of my life, every moment really.

May God bless you!

 

 

Eighth

The last seven blog days I’ve written about The Ten Commandments: idea compliment of my grandson.

The eighth commandment is, “Thou shall not steal,” found in Exodus 20:15 (NKJV).

God says, “Do not steal,” that means even a paper clip from the office or the school.

Musicians and movie makers and writers copyright their works so people will pay for their products and not make free copies to use or give away.

It’s very easy to steal sometimes and in our culture and in the media it is glamorized at times.

Older movies like “Bonnie and Clyde,” a 1967 movie starring Faye Dunaway and Warren Beatty and “The Sting” come to mind where the viewer roots for the criminals because they’re shown in a sympathetic light. It’s just entertainment and I remember enjoying “The Sting” because Paul Newman and Robert Redford get back at a mean crime boss. He’s much worse than they are. That film released on December 25, 1973.

It seems to me that the lines between entertainment and reality are becoming blurred.

Many years ago in a sociology class, the teacher posed the question, “Does art follow what’s happening in society or does society follow what they’re seeing and hearing in the artistic realm – which includes books, plays, movies, television, etc.?”

We might have talked about hearing about incidents on the news as well.

When people steal and cheat, they end up hurting themselves. My mom used to tell my siblings and me that if we cheated in school we missed out on learning the material and only cheated ourselves.

I love God’s grace. He will forgive us when we sin and He tells us to make it right with the person we sinned against. 1Jn 1:9 says, “If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.” (ESV)

Exo 22:1 “If a man steals an ox or a sheep, and kills it or sells it, he shall repay five oxen for an ox, and four sheep for a sheep. (KJV)

In Exo_22:7, (KJV): If a man shall deliver unto his neighbour money or stuff to keep, and it be stolen out of the man’s house; if the thief be found, let him pay double.

In Proverbs 6:30-31, (ESV) People do not despise a thief if he steals to satisfy his appetite when he is hungry, but if he is caught, he will pay sevenfold; he will give all the goods of his house.

With consequences like these played out in the Old Testament, hopefully people thought twice before robbing someone.

Wasting time at work is stealing from the employer. If it happens too much, the company may not be able to compete with others and then have to go out of business.

Also, being stolen from traumatizes the victims sometimes. My purse got stolen from me when I volunteered at a place and I saw the man and his young children running down the stairs. I said, “What did he do, steal my purse?”

I immediately checked for my brand new purse that I deliberated over at the store because it was more than I usually paid, even with its sale price. Sure enough, he’d stolen it. What upset me more than the loss of the purse was the fact that he had a number of little ones running behind him. What a terrible example he set for them. It broke my heart. God in His mercy answered my prayers. Within an hour or so, a policeman had called my home. They found it in a dumpster! I had just given another policeman my report. It hadn’t even been filed yet! God is so good! I’ve prayed for that man and the woman and the children to find God and give up their stealing. I may never know the answer to that prayer.

When I hear about people who steal from retirement accounts and from poor persons, I think, they ought to be ashamed of themselves.

Well, as a friend of mine says, “That’s my story and I’m sticking to it.”

Once again, it occurs to me that God’s commands make sense.

May God bless you!

Is My Way the Right Way?

Proverbs 3:5,6 (NKJV): Trust in the Lord with all your heart, And lean not on your own understanding;

In all your ways acknowledge Him, and He shall direct your paths.

 

If I were to do this consistently, the issues that pop up would get hammered down.

 

How do I know this is true? Because sometimes I actually comprehend it and act accordingly.

 

Other times I trust God’s Word but I fail to act on it. “Rebellion is as witchcraft,” it says in I Samuel 15:23 (KJV).

 

Sadly enough, I rebel against what is right on occasion. Not only do I suffer the consequences but then I need to repent and one of the consequences is Things Don’t Change! Or they get worse.

 

When I’m reading Exodus and the people complain about eating manna every day, I don’t understand. What is their problem?

 

Yet, not only can I not imagine eating the same food every day, I’m used to changing footwear and outfits. Their sandals and clothes didn’t wear out for forty years! No new fashion trends for them.

 

In Isaiah 55:8, (KJV), the Word says: “For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways,” saith the LORD.

Isa 55:9 “For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways, and my thoughts than your thoughts.”

 

Most of the time I get that. When it goes against my ideas, then I need to decide. Will I trust God with all my heart and put my reasoning aside? Will I acknowledge Him as I make decisions and follow His leading?

 

I want to. “Dear Lord, please help me to get past choosing my way over Your ways. Thank You, merciful God. Amen.”

 

 

People-pleaser or Co-dependent?

I like to figure out what makes people tick. It helps me to appreciate them or understand where they’re coming from. That’s probably why I majored in psychology in college. I’ve been reading about people-pleasing and co-dependency. Co-dependency is taking care of others before taking care of yourself. Sometimes co-dependent people don’t get around to taking care of themselves or their immediate family. They will drop what they are doing and go help someone in distress. Many of their friends are in distress a lot, which makes the co-dependent feel useful. Eventually, the co-dependent may wake up to the fact that they are exhausted, unappreciated, and living in a mess. When they start saying “No,” they may lose the needy friends. That friend will find someone else to be in crisis with.

I’m not saying people shouldn’t help people. I’m just saying that sometimes a co-dependent may get in God’s way of giving someone a lesson. If they don’t learn the lesson, the person will go through another trial and hopefully learn and grow, if the co-dependent will let the person learn by suffering the consequences of their own choices.

Let God be God, I’m thinking. Any comments?