We asked some people at Creekwood to answer one of two questions:
“What is your favorite Christmas carol, and what does it tell you about God?”
“How do you hear God speaking in the world today?”
We hope you find hope, love, joy, and peace as you hear God speak through these daily devotional reflections.
And your ears shall hear a word behind you, saying, “This is the way, walk in it,” when you turn to the right or when you turn to the left. Isaiah 30:21
Call to me and I will answer you, and will tell you great and hidden things that you have not known. Jeremiah 33:3
My sheep hear my voice, and I know them, and they follow me. I give them eternal life, and they will never perish, and no one will snatch them out of my hand. John 10:27-28
But he said, “Blessed rather are those who hear the word of God and keep it!” Luke 11:28
Do you hear what I hear?
Hearing, you may take it for granted until, like me, you do not have it any more. In my late 20’s I had to come to the realization that I could no longer hear. I will never know for sure, but I suspect It was when I ended up in the hospital right after my college midterm exams. I was exhausted and got real sick with strep throat, sinus infection, and a real bad ear infection in both ears. For a long time I would deny that I could not hear and got excellent at reading lips. But if you talked to me from another room I would not hear you. Finally, my sister and now husband forced me to go to an audiologist. Wendy you cannot hear!! I would be diagnosed with profound hearing loss. Hearing aids in both ears.
Hearing aids help immensely. In fact, when I first started wearing them I was jumpy as I kept hearing sounds I had forgotten. The ticking of a clock, crickets outside, the sound of my fridge. Oh yes, there was also the sound of my husband snoring!! Luckily at night I can take them off and the night goes silent (there are some advantages). Hearing aids are not magic and they have yet to replace hearing from our actual ears. They have gotten better but you still must focus on the person talking to you to hear properly. The more other people are talking, or if there is other background noise, then you have to focus even harder. Hearing aids make you more conscious of the act of hearing. You have to pay attention and listen.
Hearing aids helped me with the gift of listening. Giving you all my attention when I listen to you. This got me thinking of how I hear God speaking in the world today. I think we all need hearing aids, (God hearing aids) so that we will better tune our ears. So that we will listen and focus. For we forget to listen. We are all so busy, have so many things to do, things to worry about, things to distract us from just stopping and listening. God speaks to us through the scripture, that Bible verse that just pops out at us. Or the Bible verse that just comes into our mind. God speaks to us as we study his word in Bible studies or our own devotion time. God speaks to us from books we read, from movies we watch. God speaks to us through music. I remember when I was discerning if God really wanted me to go into the ministry. I had my Pastor who kept telling me that is what I needed to do. That was not enough for me so I kept asking God. God does have a sense of humor as well, for on that day I heard the song “Here I am Lord” 5 times in all different places and the final one at a Sunday evening worship service. The chorus goes like this… “It is I Lord , I have heard you calling in the Night. I will go Lord if you send me …”
God speaks to us by intuition or you may call it “Gut feeling” We know what we ought to do everything in our body is telling us so.
God speaks to us through circumstances. You have all heard if God shuts one door another will open. I went through so many job interviews before I came to Creekwood. All were not feeling right, or I just flat out did not get the job. Until I stumbled upon the job listing for Creekwood which led to a phone call asking me if I would interview for the Creekwood Children’s Ministry job. Everything just started falling into place like domino’s. It was pretty easy to hear God in that this was where I should be.
God speaks to us through our friends, family, and even people we randomly meet and talk to at Walmart. I remember a friend of mine telling me, “Who would have thought God would speak to me and answer my prayer from a stranger in Walmart?” Another friend, once made me laugh out-loud when she told me God spoke to her through her nosey, know it all neighbor that most times just got on her nerves. Don’t pre-judge who God might use to deliver a message you need to hear!
I have visited so many people from our congregation these last two years and while I listen, talk and pray with them one on one an amazing thing happens. God uses them and speaks to me. I think that is one of the most powerful ways God speaks to us through the people that make up the community we call our church. You have heard this “ I needed to hear that”
So as we begin our Advent season put those hearing aids on! Listen! God is speaking. There may be a friend that needs you to listen. Be attentive to those around you that need a listening ear. Focus your hearing, and tune out the background noise. Stop, consciously take the time to listen to God.
God gave you just one mouth but He gave you two ears, so you should listen twice as much as you speak – Author: Nick Vujicic
Wendy McConney (Associate Pastor of Congregational Outreach)