Most of us are familiar with Jesus’ command that “we are to love our neighbors as ourselves.” I already know I have a lot of a room to grow in that area. But I didn’t realize that one way I could practically show love to my neighbor is by listening attentively. I’ve often been told me that I’m a good listener, mainly because I tend to be quieter and let others talk. But that doesn’t equate a good listener. See, I struggle with reining in my thoughts and staying focused on what my friend is saying. Rather than really hearing about my friend’s problem or understanding what my husband is saying about college sports, I nod along and let my mind roam to the list I should be making, the item I forgot from the grocery store, and the meal I need to plan. I had never considered how unloving my behavior was. We can love others well and love and know God more, when we tune out all the distractions and focus on who is talking.
Loving others with God’s love is worth fighting the battle of our own distracted brains and wandering hearts. It’s worth counting others more significant than ourselves and looking to their interests. It’s worth taking every thought captive.
If we grow in this discipline of tuning out distractions, it will have broad ramifications. Yes, we will listen more attentively to those we can see with our visible eyes and hear audibly with our ears. We will also be better trained to “be still and know” our invisible God. By limiting other voices, we’re better positioned to hear the voices that really matter. Loving by listening matters for all of our relationships.[Servants of Grace]
Scripture memory is vital to the Christian walk. I know that and yet I don’t always prioritize it the way that I should. However, it’s incredible how when you’ve committed verses to memory, the Holy Spirit will bring the right one back to your mind exactly when you need it most. A few weeks ago I was really struggling to believe that God saw me, cared for me, and loved me. Then 1 John 4:16 came roaring back to my mind, “We have come to know and rely on the love of God.” Even in those moments when my circumstances seem to say God doesn’t care, I must rely on His love, evidenced by Christ’s sacrifice on the cross. I needed that verse and the Holy Spirit reminded me of it. I hope you’ll commit these three verses the author shares to memory–they’re powerful verses and I am confident God will bring them to your mind at the right moment.
Scripture memory offers us a tangible way to cling to Christ in the middle of the messiest, most tiring moments of the day. Mothers who hope in Christ have a Helper within us, the Holy Spirit, who empowers self-sacrificial love and care for our kids, and he often uses the word of God. Imagine if that word crossed our minds right when we needed it?[Risen Motherhood]
This article really convicted me. The author explains the difference between thinking about someone or a problem and actually praying for that person or that issue. I am so guilty of telling someone that I’m praying for them, when I’m actually just thinking about them. There’s a huge difference between having a passing thought or even maybe thinking about that person’s situation for several minutes and bringing their needs to the throne of God and asking Him to intervene and work. Our thoughts only gain traction and power when we voice them to the One who always hears and is ever ready to work on our behalf. Let’s not just think but earnestly pray.
As we pray, let’s sense the significance of that moment. We enter into the true spiritual presence of the Lord and that conversation can only happen because of the death of Christ. Prayer is a holy moment. It is a sacred moment. It is an intimate moment. And, it is a surreal moment. To be clear, the Spirit who raised Jesus from the dead lives in believers (Rom. 8:11). So, we’re never actually far from the Lord. Let’s place value on that conversation and the One who hears us.
Prayer is so much more than a thought that quickly runs through our brain. It’s more powerful than a conversation between humans alone. Let’s not “think” about someone in their suffering; rather, let’s pray for them. And when we pray, may we remember that moment was achieved through a high cost: Christ’s death and resurrection.[enCourage]
As I look back at the last 2.5 years, it seems like each big prayer that I prayed, God did the opposite of what I asked. To say it was disappointing is an understatement. What made it even harder to swallow was that I was asking for good things–for my husband to keep his job, for my children to be born full-term. Yet, God didn’t answer my prayers the way I wanted. In this article, the author poses the question, “What happens when ‘give us this day our daily bread’ turns into, ‘Uh, Lord, I didn’t mean this bread?'” We can be like the Israelites and complain that we are sick of manna, the bread the Lord has miraculously and graciously provided, or we can “look back at His faithfulness, look around at how He’s provided, and look up into the face of the One who always supplies all of our needs.”
Even when we struggle to give thanks, even when we’re tempted to complain about the daily bread that He’s given us, He will not forsake us. His provision is still good. His mercies are still new every morning.
When the bread doesn’t look like you imagined, like the exiles, remember how He has provided for you, your family, and believers across the centuries. Steady your heart with memories of His faithful, good, “daily bread” provision, and pray those back to Him.[Revive Our Hearts]
Pastor Tim Keller and his wife, Kathy, share their thoughts on dating, marriage, and other topics. It’s a short read but I hope you enjoy hearing a few snippets of their wisdom.
[T]he “best” Christians are ultimately the “chief repenters.” That is, they are quick to see and admit their faults unbegrudgingly and to seek forgiveness from God and others. This readiness to repent and accept forgiveness is perhaps the key “virtue” (if you can call it that) that you should be looking for in yourself and any potential spouse. If you both have it, then the sins and incompatibilities any two sinners will have cannot overthrow you. You’ll be able to grow in love for each other despite them.[TGC]