January 22, 2020
Are You Listening?
I was brought up in church, but it was a church that did not believe that God spoke to people anymore. O, He spoke to the prophets, to Adam and Eve, to the disciples, but then the Bible was written so God had given us a love letter and didn’t need to speak to us anymore. When I first accepted Jesus into my life, I used to beg God to talk to me. But, I had been taught He wouldn’t. WRONG! God is speaking to us all the time – we just don’t listen!
My words are based on John 10:3. Jesus, Who is God in the flesh, says “my sheep HEAR MY VOICE. If Jesus is the Good Shepherd, who are the sheep? We are, and especially if He lives inside of us as the Holy Spirit. My late husband was an emigrant from Russia. He lived in Leningrad in a communal apartment building before coming to the United States. It was very small, and he wanted a larger apartment but they were always filled up. One day as he walked past a certain building that he would like to live in, he heard a voice say to him, “your apartment is in there”. He was not a Christian, but a Jew and not even a practicing Jew. He knew little about God, but he knew the voice was not his so he applied to get an apartment in that building. At that time in Russia, it was difficult to move or to go anywhere and apartments were just not available. However, shortly after he applied, the apartment was his in the building he wanted. We read in the Bible that God spoke to Nebuchnezzar often. He was not a Christian or a Jew but a king of Babylon who had taken God’s people captive. God wanted him to repent (change his mind) and follow Him. God even told him what would happen to him if he didn’t start giving God more credit for his accomplishments. You can read for yourself in Daniel 4 how many times God tried to get Nebbie to follow Him and what it finally took to get his full attention.
God speaks to everyone who will listen. Those of us who have Jesus living inside of us have the best chance and means to hear him, but God just keeps trying to reach ALL people and to bring them to Himself. He is our Creator, our Father, the One Who loves us passionately. That’s why He wrote the love letter. But that doesn’t mean He quit speaking. How can you have an intimate personal relationship with someone that you don’t speak to or who doesn’t speak to you? You can’t, and God wants an intimate personal relationship with you. So, listen to Him. Share your deepest heart with Him. Most of our prayers are just a ‘to-do” list and there is no heart in them. Be still and know that He is God, that He loves you, that He wants to share your life with you, that He has plans for you that you cannot imagine which He tells us in both the old and new covenants. Read His love letter and let it speak to you as well. Sometimes I read and know that God is speaking just to me in that particular passage. If you don’t understand something, ask Jesus to help you understand, the Bible interprets itself so use the Bible to interpret the Bible – not what other people say or humans write. You are beloved of God.
Rev. Joyce Kaplan, M.Div, Retired United Church of Christ Pastor