Wednesday, December 12, 2012

Snapper Stick The Crocodile

A Devotional by Margot Cioccio

Proverbs 19:20
Listen to advice and accept instruction, and in the end you will be wise.

Todays Cinnamon Bear link 

Listen very carefully and follow the instructions exactly." Says Queen Melissa and as the children start to open the envelope they are told no you can't open it here. "You can only read the instructions in total darkness"
So off they go to find total darkness and meet Snapper Stick the singing crocodile in his bath. He seems nice enough but he snaps and swallows their instructions. We will have to wait till tomorrow to find out how they get out of this pickle.

Listening is my topic for today.  Listening to anyone requires we stop talking.  Rather than spinning our response while the other person is talking, we actually listen to what they are saying - then we respond. Seems simple enough but good listeners are hard to find. Often even when people ask your opinion or advice they are not really listening but looking for someone who will agree with their point of view.

I was talking to a coaching client yesterday who wanted to know about listening to God. She is a new believer and its a good question. The main thing that I told her was that we become better able to hear God the better we know his word. There can be a lot of voices but the Lord's voice will always be in agreement with His Word the Bible.  A good place to start if you want to hear God is in His word. I shared with her that its not necessary to read exhaustive amounts. We are not reading our Bibles so we can be good enough Christians to earn Gods favor or acceptance. We are reading because we want to know Him more. Relax no one is holding you to a quota of words that must be read each day to be good enough. If thats how you are approaching your life of faith - you have missed the beauty and simplicity of the Good News. Jesus paid it all! His sacrifice was enough. You don't have to keep trying to be good enough - it does not work like that. Your job is to believe that the price Jesus paid to redeem you from your sin was and is enough. You did not ever earn or deserve what he has done on your behalf. Too often I find believers who view their relationship with the Lord as if they have to some how tip the scales of justice in their favor. If they do enough good stuff it will out weigh or cancel out the bad.

  • Psalm 85:8
    I will listen to what God the LORD will say; he promises peace to his people, his saints— but let them not return to folly.

    You could have his peace once and for all. You could walk in the peace of knowing that you can be right with the Father. Not because you are good enough but because Jesus is. 
  • Ecclesiastes 5:1
    [ Stand in Awe of God ] Guard your steps when you go to the house of God. Go near to listen rather than to offer the sacrifice of fools, who do not know that they do wrong.

    So that says to me - stop with the long litany of stuff you want God to do, or to fix. We too offen approach prayer as if we are children with a really long list to Santa. The Lord is not your Gumball Genie that you put in a prayer and out pops your wish. I know that too often I chatter on endlessly and about the time I am going to listen to hear what the Lord might say - oops I get distracted. Sometimes I am not really ready to hear. I can be afraid that the Lord will want something that I'm not ready to give up or not ready to do. So I can pretend to be listening but its more of a smile and nod rather than really taking the time to hear. I can be guilty of perpetuation a selective hearing disorder. Where I only hear the stuff that I want to hear. 

    Ezekiel 12:2
    “Son of man, you are living among a rebellious people. They have eyes to see but do not see and ears to hear but do not hear, for they are a rebellious people.

    Stubborn and rebellious is not how I want to be. I have started to realize that the fault that I see in others are often the very faults I am unwilling to see in my self. Before I start criticizing or correcting others I need to be willing to allow the Lord to examine me. 

    In searching steps or tips for better listening I found articles with as many as 16 steps - I opted for and article with just 4 steps. I need simple if I'm going to remember any of it. Heres a link to the article I found

    The 4 steps were 
    • Stay in the Moment
    • Quiet your inner Voice
    • Stop Rehearsing 
    • Listen to the Music (liked this one) "When someone speaks to you listen to the music, the tone of his or her voice. Do the words and tone agree? It's similar to looking at a fake smile. When someone really smiles her eyes sparkle and her face lights up. When the smile is fake only the corners of her mouth turn up."

    Found this quote in another article. 
    "Being a good listener also involves drawing out important information from others to help them brainstorm and uncover fresh ideas and solutions. In other words, good listeners don't jump in with answers or give lectures about what was done wrong; they actively listen and then ask respectful questions that will ultimately help uncover solutions or plans of action." Dr. Sherrie Bourg Carter, Psy.D

    Hope this has given you some things to think about. Take a moment to pray and ask the Lord to help you to become a better listener, not just with Him but with the people around you. 

    A quick Christmas gift idea: I have found in working with the homeless that one of the greatest gifts I can give is to take the time to really listen. Everyone has a story - you might be surprised at the things people will share with you if you are willing to stop talking and listen. 

  • A Card

    A Key Chain
    Snappy Key Chain
    Snappy Key Chain by MargotsDesigns
    See another Key chain at Zazzle

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