The Art and Skill of Listening

We often complaign that people don’t take us seriously. We say that people don’t understand us or what we are going through. But do we take others seriously? Do we understand what other people might be going through. This post hits the nail right on the head, pointing to one of the biggest problems in modern society.

Good Time Stories

Egrodziak Photo Credit: Egrodziak via CC Flickr

We all know that life in today’s world is getting faster and faster. Lifestyles are getting busier, more complicated, and less enjoyable. One of the skills that a good number of individuals have lost along the way, has been the skill or ability to actually be quiet, listen and hear to what people (or things) are saying.

How many times have you found yourself “going through the motions” responding to people in robotic, mechanical ways, and never really hearing to what is being said?

Let’s really take the time each day to stop and authentically listen and hear to what our friends, loved ones, or other things” are being said…the results may surprise you!

Today, I have included four very short stories that will illustrate the importance of listening to different things. I hope that these stories will help you in some small way…

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24 Quotes From Nancy Reagan to Honor Her Legacy

These quotes from the late Nancy Reagan has depth and we need to take time to reflect on them and the deeper meaning.

Empowerment Moments Blog

Today March 8th is being observed as International Women’s Day. However, instead of focusing directly on the specifics of the day which is to celebrate the social, economic, cultural and political achievements of women, we have chosen instead to honor the life and legacy of the late Nancy Reagan with some of her quotations.

The Former First Lady who was known for her often vocal and loyal support of her husband Ronald Reagan, the 40th U.S. President and her anti-drug campaign, “Just Say No” is reported by the ‘Ronald Reagan Presidential Library’ to have died on Sunday March 6th 2016 at her Bel Air, California home of congestive heart failure.

Her husband died in 2004 after a long battle with Alzheimer’s disease. She is survived by her two children Patti Davis and Ronald Reagan Jr.

Nancy Reagan will go down in history as iconic, and one of the most influential…

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God Will Never Leave You nor Forsake You, But You Have a Responsibility Too.

We read in Matthew19:26 and in Mark 10:27 that ‘with God all things are possible’.

God is the creator of all things and nothing is impossible to God, but there are things that God won’t do.

In nugget #41 of his book An Enemy Called Average, John L. Mason says “it is as important to know what God can’t do as to know what He can do”, and then he lists a number of things.

It might be a personal thing, and with no negative intent towards anybody, talking about Almighty God, I prefer to rather refer to things that God won’t do – because He is righteous – than referring to things God ‘can’t do’.

To see John Mason’s list you will have to read it in the book. What I would prefer to discuss is the fact that there are certain things that God won’t do, seeing that we have been given a responsibility too.

Take Responsibility.

Yes, God cannot lie because in the Kings James Version of Titus 1:1-4, the Bible says “Paul, a servant of God, and an apostle of Jesus Christ, according to the faith of God’s elect, and the acknowledging of the truth which is after godliness;In hope of eternal life, which God, that cannot lie, promised before the world began;But hath in due times manifested his word through preaching, which is committed unto me according to the commandment of God our Saviour;To Titus, mine own son after the common faith: Grace, mercy, and peace, from God the Father and the Lord Jesus Christ our Saviour”.

God cannot change because He says in Malachi 3:6 (NIV) “I the Lord do not change. So you, the descendants of Jacob, are not destroyed”.

This is where our responsibility starts. We need to read this scripture in context. Read Malachi 3:6-7 (NIV); I the Lord do not change. So you, the descendants of Jacob, are not destroyed. Ever since the time of your ancestors you have turned away from my decrees and have not kept them. Return to me, and I will return to you, “says the Lord Almighty”.

You might say ‘yes but Malachi is in the Old Testament and we are not under the Law of Moses anymore”. That is correct, but it does not take away any responsibility on our part. We need to return to the Lord. When we return to the Lord, and abide in Him, we are no longer under the law, but under grace.

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Romans 6:14 (NIV) says “14 For sin shall no longer be your master, because you are not under the law, but under grace.

Slaves to Righteousness

(Romans 6:15-16) 15 What then? Shall we sin because we are not under the law but under grace? By no means! 16 Don’t you know that when you offer yourselves to someone as obedient slaves, you are slaves of the one you obey—whether you are slaves to sin, which leads to death, or to obedience, which leads to righteousness?

Reading Malachi 3:7 again, we see that we need to return to God. It is not God who leaves us; it is us who leave God. God cannot (and will not) break His promises and He will never leave us nor forsake us (Hebrews 13:5). But when we do not abide in Him, we are moving away from His protection.

We cannot live a life of greed and corruption, give in to fear, think we can protect ourselves when we have a healthy bank account, and then blame God if things go wrong.

We also cannot become passive, and think “if it is God’s will He will make me healthy”, or “if it is God’s will, he will get me out of this financial mess”.

The fact that we are saved by grace, and not by our works, does not take away the responsibility that we have. God’s will is made known to us in His Word. We need to pray according to His Word, then speak His Word, and then apply our faith to act in the physical according to what we believe.

Yes, we will miss the point at times, but if we repent and bring it in all honesty before the Lord, He will never leave us nor forsake us.  He will not hold it against us. The price has been paid. We have His forgiveness and we are saved.

Our Responsibility

In Mark 7 Jesus gave an explanation about the fact that it is not what goes into the mouth that defiles a person, but rather that what comes out of his mouth. Whatever enters a person from outside, goes to his stomach, not to his heart. He then continued to declare all foods clean (verse 19).

Does that mean that all foods are healthy now? No, if you continue eating junk food there will be consequences. In Leviticus 11 you can read all about clean and unclean (healthy and unhealthy) food. So, does this mean if you eat unclean food, you can’t go to heaven? No, you are saved; it has nothing to do with your salvation. But you cannot say ‘it must be God’s will’ for you to be sickly and you don’t know why, if you continue eating unhealthy foods. There will be consequences here on earth. So you have the responsibility to determine what the quality of your life will be here on earth.

The same goes for when we have sinned. There is no need to start tormenting yourself. The ultimate sacrifice has been made. Repent and sin no more. Rejoice and enjoy life.

When there is only one set of footprints in the sand, it is not because God has left you; it is because He was carrying you.

Don’t Be Passive.

Above HowtownGod created the universe by speaking His Word. The Word became flesh (John 1:1-18). If God doesn’t change, neither does His Word. We have been given dominion over this earth. Dominion is a great responsibility. When you reign over anything, it is pro-active. It is not a guessing game.

God’s will is being made known to us in His Word – the Holy Bible. We are His ambassadors here on earth. We need to speak his Word according to what is written, and then take the appropriate actions that need to be taken in the physical. After that we need to stand in faith. After you have done in the physical what you could do, then leave the rest of the results in the hands of God. But once you have prayed, do not doubt (James 1:6).

An ambassador to a country, speaks with authority. When He speaks, he represents his country and he is speaking on behalf of his country. In order to that, he must be very familiar with what his government is standing for. We are ambassadors for God and His Kingdom here on earth.

This sequence is important though:

  1. You first have to know God’s will (He made it available to us in His Word – the Bible)
  2. You have to speak His Word.
  3. You have to take action according to what you believe.
  4. Have faith in God and do not doubt.

What We Cannot Do

  1. We cannot keep the Law of Moses. We all have sinned. Jesus is the only man who is completely without sin. (Hebrews 4:15; Hebrews 9:28)
  2. We cannot earn righteousness or our salvation through our own works. We are saved by Grace. It is a gift from God. (Ephesians 2:7-9)

What God Won’t Do.

  1. God will never leave us and He will never forsake us (Hebrews 13:5).
  2. God will never break His promises because He is faithful (Numbers 23:19; Deuteronomy 7:9; 1 Corinthians 1:9).
  3. God made a blood covenant with Abraham (Genesis 17:8-10). The fact that Abraham was willing to offer his only son, having faith in God, opened the way for God to give His only son as a sacrifice for our sins (Hebrews 13:19-21). Through the sacrifice of Jesus, the devil was defeated and the blessing was restored into the earth. We now have legal right again to speak God’s Word and have dominion over the earth. But because that responsibility has been given to us, as ambassadors of the Kingdom of heaven, God will not overrule what we say in this earth. That is why it is so important to think carefully about what you say (Mark 11:22-26).

What Do You Mean – Divine Protection?

Many people are living in constant fear today. There are no guarantees for your safety. Or are there?

When we turn to God’s Word we find that there are protection available to us indeed. Divine protection from God is available to everyone who abides in Him.

I have done a guest post on this topic at Empowerment Moments Blog. you can read the full post here.

The Power of Retreating

We often under-estimate the power of silence. Silence is often even used as a strategy in marketing. When the sales person has done his pitch, he would often just keep silent on purpose. Maybe he’ll ask a question, but after that…….silence.

Without being rude or ‘pushy’, he is actually putting the prospect under pressure. The silence becomes uncomfortable, and the potential customer would rather break the silence, often with a positive response (if the sales person knows what he is doing).

We also refer to the ‘silence before the storm’. During times of war, there would often be a time of such silence that it’s actually scary, and then….the next moment….it’s all chaos.

‘Recharge’ Yourself.take-a-brake-1573434-639x426

That brings us to nugget #40 in John L. Mason’s book An Enemy Called Average. It says “retreat to advance”.

Yes, there is another side to silence as well. We often get so caught up in the ‘rat race’ and we don’t allow ourselves enough time for rest and recovery. We think we are on the go and while we have the momentum we should just keep going.

But often we can do better by taking a break. When writing, I would hardly ever publish an article immediately after I’ve written it. Sometimes you work against deadlines and you don’t have an option, but as a rule, I don’t do it. It’s amazing how many changes I would make to an article after leaving it for a day. Yet, when I completed it the day before, it seemed to be in order.

When you need to be focused, silence can be powerful. You might be working on an important project and you need the silence to concentrate.

Taking time to retreat will be the best decision you have made in a long time. By taking a week to just isolate yourself from all the ‘busyness’ around you, you might even be able to finish that project faster as you remove all the distractions around you.

Retreat and Be Victorioushuts-in-jungle-1-1217350-639x636

While you find yourself surrounded with activity, it will often take courage and will power to step away and take some time to retreat. Being ‘busy’, gives you the feeling of being productive, but it is not always the case.

All the activity and noises also often prevents us from hearing from God.

Build up that courage and take some time to retreat. Just allow yourself some space – some quiet time. Retreat and be victorious.