November 25th, 2004

Thanksgiving

We had a wonderful service Sunday followed by a lunch downstairs in the fellowship hall. We must have had 35 people there and that was with 10 of our regulars missing. I continued on the subject of hearing from God with three hindrances to hearing from God.

1.)The Enemy. In The Parable of the Sower the sower sows the Word of God but those by the wayside allow the enemy to steal the Word before it even takes root. When we go to church the burden is on us to hear. We have to "incline our ears" as Jeremiah says, and make sure that we have not "stopped our ears" like Zecheriah talks about. We would never take "I didn't hear you" as an excuse from our children when they could have turned the TV off, or hung up the phone, or done something to make sure they were giving us their undivided attention.

2.)Familiarity. In Mark Jesus visits his hometown and it says that he "did not many miracles there save for healing a few sick folk" because of their unbelief. They knew him too well to receive anything from him. I am no word scholar but I bet familiar has something to do with the word family. Why is it we have so little faith in the people closest to us? Is it because we know their failures and faults? Jesus didn't have any. I think it's more likely that we like to believe in some kind of magical people that are super spiritual. They hear from God, do miracles and are endued with power from on high that mere mortals never attain to. Nonsense. God uses people. The only kind of people he has. We just don't listen because we know them to well and think (like they thought of Jesus) that if they watched him grow up and knew his family, and knew him so well, that he could not possibly be anything great. The father of Leonard Bernstien was once asked why he never encouraged his son's musical interests when he was young and he replied "Who knew he was going to grow up to be Leonard Bernstien?" He should have known, he named him. But he had no faith that any child of his could be great. My children are all great. And so is the rest of my family.

3.) Wrong expectations. Naaman needs to be healed of leprosy and he goes to Elisha's house looking for a miracle in 2 Kings chapter 5. Elisha sends his servant Gehazi out to greet him telling him to go dip in the river Jordan 7 times and he will be healed. Naaman is livid. He gets angry and offended that Elisha does not even come to the door himself but sends him off with some ridiculous instructions. He says "surely I thought that the man of God would have come out and struck his hands together over the spot while calling upon the name of his God". We have these ideas about how we want God to move or speak to us and when they don't happen we can miss what God is saying to us. "I went up for prayer and the Pastor didn't even pray for me, somebody else had to come and do it. And he didn't even pray a loud pentecostal type prayer or nothing he just laid his hands on me and asked God to give me wisdom. Oh and He gave me some scriptures to read."

Next week: Believing what we hear.