Don’t Listen to the Loudest

When we moved to this home nearly 23 years ago, we lived in a semi-country setting.  Across the highway from us were farmer’s fields.  In fact, there were fields both to the west and east of us.  Things sure have changed over time.  There are several big new schools just over a mile from us, and across the highway the farmer’s field is gone.  Instead of tractors and combines there, now we see…and hear…all sorts of construction equipment as a huge housing development is being built. 

All the growth has brought lots of extra traffic.  Our property backs up to the highway.  We have a tree line that gives some privacy.  But there isn’t much that can hide the sights and the sounds of growth…progress, some would call it.  We miss the quietness, though, that we loved.

It’s now the time of year for open windows and chirping birds.  I was at my desk early this morning.  The birds were waking up, going about their early morning activities, and their various sounds were so pleasing to me. 

Yet the birds weren’t the only ones busily starting their day.  So were people.  Pretty soon I was having a hard time hearing the birds over the sound of all the cars and trucks and school buses and motorcycles. 

The birds hadn’t stopped singing, though.  I could still hear them even when a group of vehicles drove past.  I just had to concentrate on listening to them and ignoring the other sounds coming from the road. 

I’m amazed at the very loud sounds blasting us from this culture today.  Woke Disney.  Gender confusion.  Sexual dysfunction.  Open borders.  Drugs.  Violent crime.  Men in women’s sports…and the refusal of our top leaders to even define what a woman is!

And one of the saddest of all is the horror of abortion and the fight from the left to keep the murder of babies available and legal.  Yesterday the governor of Colorado signed a bill that ensured women could kill their babies at any stage of pregnancy, for any reason.  My friend who lives there, a pediatrician, said that this action is celebratory now…and she is right. 

All of this, and so much more, is just heavy and sickening to those of us who follow Christ.  And the voices who promote these lifestyles in our world today are often the loudest.  They blast at us from the news, social media, corporations, movies, music, television, classrooms…daring us to disagree and trying to silence us when we do.

A couple verses I have just studied describe this so well:

“But evil men and imposters will proceed from bad to worse, deceiving and being deceived.  You, however, continue in the things you have learned and become convinced of…”   (II Timothy 3: 13-14)

Paul told Timothy to expect evil to get worse.  Alfred Plummer says it well when he described their personal deterioration as the seducers being duped by their own deceit. 

And so the evil ones GO, but Timothy is told to CONTINUE.

Evil loudly goes from bad to worse.  Isn’t it interesting that the word ‘go’ means to progress?

 Progressives today are nothing new.  But their direction…their progress…is totally in the wrong direction. 

Unlike the progress of the wicked, we who know Christ are to continue in the things we have learned from Christ.

We learn by listening to God, for He has not been silenced.  He is still speaking, just like the birds outside were still singing.

We also need to continue in all that we know…that we have learned…in our life walks with God.

The word “continue” means to cultivate stability.

The brash noises of sin all around us being condoned and celebrated must not move us from hearing God’s voice above it all.

Now more than ever we need to be still and be stable in God’s truth and listen carefully to Him above all the noise of our ungodly culture. 

On Christ, the solid Rock, I stand;
All other ground is sinking sand.

  

I Don’t Hold My Breath

It started last week with some strange pains in my chest.  The pains didn’t seem to be heart related but they were disconcerting regardless.  I talked to my doctor’s nurse, who spoke with my doctor, and I got some advice along with an appointment to see her.

Yesterday, after conversation and an exam, I found myself being ushered to various rooms.  Labs…chest X-Ray…EKG…a CT Angiogram…and all the waiting that is an inevitable part of the whole process.

After my CT scan, I was led to another waiting area.  For a long time, I sat there by myself.  There was a small, tall table beside me.  I hadn’t paid it much attention.  I was looking at the other table across the room and for some reason wondered if the one beside me matched it.  So I leaned forward to look at the table next to me.  Then I saw it…the Bible laying on the little table. 

I felt compelled to pick it up and to open it.  I have opened my Bible often in my life at times like this…times of stress and concern.  I have never been disappointed in what God has to say to me when I look down and start reading. 

I opened the Bible.  I looked down to find myself in the book of Job.

I was a little let down.  I mean, why couldn’t it have been the Psalms?  Not that Job doesn’t have words of God’s encouragement, but the Psalms are stuffed full of really great verses that are meant for these moments of uncertainty such as I was feeling. 

 I started reading chapter 12.  Just look at these verses!  Job was speaking:

“But ask the beasts, and they will teach you;

    the birds of the heavens, and they will tell you;

 or the bushes of the earth, and they will teach you;

    and the fish of the sea will declare to you.

 Who among all these does not know

    that the hand of the Lord has done this?

 In his hand is the life of every living thing

    and the breath of all mankind.”

Job looked at his terrible suffering and could still say that the Lord’s hand had done that.  He knew, and said that even animals and nature know, that all of life is in God’s hand.

But I was blown away by that last line.  The breath of all mankind is in God’s hand. 

I had been given breathing instructions in every exam and test that morning.

 Take a deep breath.  Now let it out. 

Take a deep breath and hold it. 

You may breathe normally now.

Hold your breath.

Now breathe.

And as I sat there waiting on test results, wondering if something serious was wrong, God so gently reminded me that He was holding my very breath in HIS hand.

If something was wrong with me, could I say like Job did that God’s hand had done that?  The same hand that held my breath could do with me what He wanted, but whatever it was that He did would be good. 

Did I really believe that?

It turned out that the radiologist that we were waiting on to read the CT results was gone.  I sat there for an hour only to be told to go home and results would come in later. 

It would have been easy to be frustrated by that…to feel like I had just wasted an hour, hungry and tired and with no results.

But I look at it as a sweet gift from God, that time of opening a random Bible and listening to what God had to say to me in that dismal waiting room. 

Right now it seems like I am fine, and I’m thankful for that.

But most of all I’m thankful for God sitting with me in that waiting room.

 Thankful for the very timely reminder that every breath I take is in His hand.

And on the day I take my last breath, I’ll be holding His hand.