Listening Skills, II

Isaiah 26:3 (NKJV) says, “You will keep him in perfect peace, Whose mind is stayed on You, because he trusts in You.”

Have you ever noticed that before you say something if you start meditating on God and His ways, you may change your mind and your words? I asked my husband to go to a store 50 minutes away from home because he was going to be nearby.

He agreed but didn’t want to because I needed one and a half yards of 45 inch wide fabric to make a curtain for a door. I wrote out the size needed, cut off a swatch of the remnant and told him he could ask the saleslady. Usually he calls me, but my note told him to ask for advice. My mistake was forgetting she was a SALESlady. They didn’t have 45 inch wide fabric – it was 44 inch wide fabric. I would have said, “Fine.”

She said, “Let’s go to 92 inch wide fabric or somewhere near that width. As she measured for the yard and a half, they came to the end of the bolt. “Would you like the extra yard at the end for half price?”

“Okay,” he said.

When he got home with a large plastic bag with lots of folded fabric inside, my eyebrows lifted. “Here’s your fabric. I don’t like shopping in a store mostly for women.”

“Why didn’t you call me?” I asked after he explained his purchase. He might have said, “Be glad I got it for you.”

I don’t remember.

I told my daughter. From my peripheral vision I saw him standing there, listening. I snuck into another room and called my other daughter. Now I’m telling her that I’ll certainly have enough fabric and there he was to get something and he’s listening.

So, I prayed about it and thought about it. Just because I’m trying to eliminate clutter, it’s not that big of a deal. I did thank him for going out of his way a bit and taking the time on a busy day.

The next day I’m telling a friend at church but now I’m saying, “Maybe there’s a reason for the extra material,” and he comes into the room and this time he joins the conversation and we’re laughing.

I did buy fabric for curtains for another room and I told the young girl I needed more than the bolt held. She assured me that there was plenty. I bought it at a store an hour from home and sure enough, the length was off. I called some fabric stores and got online to find there wasn’t any available. This extra material may allow me to add some length.

The thing I realized is how often my husband listens to me when I’m unaware.

Occasionally I’ve started to relay something and he’ll say, “I know, I heard you on the phone.”

This got me thinking of verses Jesus spoke to the Pharisees in Matthew 12:34, (ESV): “You brood of vipers! How can you speak good, when you are evil? For out of the abundance of the heart the mouth speaks.

Mat 12:35  The good person out of his good treasure brings forth good, and the evil person out of his evil treasure brings forth evil.

Mat 12:36  I tell you, on the day of judgment people will give account for every careless word they speak,

Mat 12:37  for by your words you will be justified, and by your words you will be condemned.”

Being an extrovert, words come easily to me at times, and one day I got worried. My spouse said if I spoke in a way that offended God, repented and asked forgiveness, I wouldn’t need to be concerned on judgment day. Big sigh of relief!

Not only have I found out that my husband listens to me when I’m not sure he is, but I realized that he’s good at reading non-verbal communication. If I’m mad about something but I’m not sure if it’s a good time to bring it up, he’ll see me avoiding eye contact, biting my lower lip and being extraordinarily quiet, possibly tapping my foot or doing other restless gestures. Then he’ll ask, “What’s the matter?”

I got online today to see what Focus on the Family’s website had to say about communicating. I read two articles out of many, and here’s the link to one of them: http://www.focusonthefamily.com/marriage/communication-and-conflict/effectively-communicating-with-your-husband

I enjoyed what I read, but it just helped me to springboard to this idea for this blog. Although I couldn’t find the reference, one comment about communicating being hard work struck a chord with me. When I’m tired, I have to force myself to pay attention to the other person and to try and decipher what they mean.

Hope you’re communicating effectively. May God bless you!

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Positioned with Christ

We had a guest speaker at our church two Sundays ago; Pastor Al Craig and his wife, Sue, visiting from North Carolina. He asked my husband to sit on a chair at the front of the main aisle. If you looked way over his head, you would see a huge wooden cross. Empty of the living Savior.

Pastor Al told us that God is our provider.

One of the most important things God provided us with was the gift of grace. If we will just believe in God the Son, Jesus Christ, repent of our sins and ask Him to be the boss, the Lord of our lives, He promises to be our grace giver, the Savior.

I’ve heard it said, “When the time comes to stand before God, the Father, Jesus says, ‘This is a child of ours, Look at this one through My sacrifice.'”

Jesus died after He took on all the sins of the world. He gave Himself, the perfect god/man as payment for our sins so mankind could be free from judgment. Once we ask Jesus to be our Lord and Savior, He tells us that He is in us and we are in Him, a great mystery of the faith. Pastor Al said, “Being in Him places us in heavenly places, according to the letter of Colossians.”

So, as an object lesson, we saw my husband sitting in a chair. As long as he sat in the chair, in Christ, He’s seated at the right hand of the Father. He’s sitting high above evil. If he should get off the chair, walk up the stairs, take the nails off the cross and choose to live in the flesh, he chooses to become lower than the heavenly places. He’s a Christian choosing to not sit in heavenly places and become subject to being in the world and turning his back on God’s provision and protection and power.

“Never mind, God, I’ll handle my life on my own. I don’t want to bother You. I want to live with bitterness and unforgiveness in my heart. I want to get drunk tonight, I want to live with someone outside of marriage for a while, I want to hurt them as bad as they hurt me,” etc., etc.

There’s more to this sermon, and this is a distillation of my notes, which missed some of what Pastor Al preached. But, being alive in Christ feels like a fresh fire to me after service on that Sunday. We need each other, believers, to stir up the gifts that God has given us. Today Is A Fresh Start. Jesus will let people repent and start over again, but He knows our heart. If we’re fooling around, playing at being a Christian, we may harden our hearts against God, and never get back on that heavenly chair. The enemy of our souls wants that to happen, since we remind him of God and he hates God.

We are made in the image and likeness of God and we will never be the holy and perfect God, but He treasures us. If we keep our relationship with God, He gives us position with Him. He promises us many things as joint heirs with Christ, and nothing beats the love of Christ and of the Father and of the Holy Spirit.

Love

“Love covers a multitude of sins,” is from James 5:20 and a similar verse is in Proverbs 10:12b.

We had a Bible study last night with a foursome. My husband likes to have each person read a verse and then we discuss the verses. In Ephesians 1:18 (NASB) it says, “I pray that the eyes of your heart may be enlightened, so that you may know what is the hope of His calling, what are the riches of the glory of His inheritance in the saints,”

In thinking of the last part of that verse, we thought, Jesus’ inheritance is the saints. His glorious inheritance is the saints, those who believe in the Lord Jesus Christ and are in a righteous relationship with Him. It blew us away. God loves us so much that He considers us part of His inheritance.

In that light, I guess that explains the gospel. Jesus gave up His existence in heaven to come to earth to take the punishment for our sins upon Himself to restore for whosoever would, (John 3:16), the conditions of the Garden of Eden or possibly way better, since I wasn’t there, and then people can experience an eternity with God. They’ll have a new name, a new body, a new heart/soul, all perfect or complete, to live forever, in an environment that is all love, no evil.

They will have a purposeful life for all of time with a creative, loving, brilliant God. I’m paraphrasing the verses about heaven. Jesus spoke of heaven in the four gospels of Matthew, Mark, Luke and John. Heaven is mentioned in the last chapters of Revelation and elsewhere in the Word of God.

Jesus’ love covers a multitude of sin for a multitude of sinners. Perfect, unconditional love.