How to Truly Listen with Hearts That Hear

Tainted by our own feelings of self-worth; often, we listen without truly hearing the truth.  We see this played out every day in nearly every situation we face.  It is the screaming rhetoric surrounding the news talk shows; because, everyone is so busy talking they cannot hear or seek truth.  Furthermore, this is the problem blocking our human hearts from seeking God as He truly is.  We want to change the story to fit our own narrative.  Because we want to put our Creator, Almighty Sovereign God into a box of our own making, we fail to hear or spread the beautiful truth of the gospel story of Grace.

Even, those who follow Jesus want to change the story. That was true in the Old Testament.  It was true when Jesus walked upon the earth. And it remains true today. So, how do we get past our own self exalting, humanistic ideas to find and live at peace with the truth?  To help answer that question, let us turn to Matthew 26.

MATTHEW 26:1-2

 And it came to pass, when Jesus had finished all these sayings, he said unto his disciples, Ye know that after two days is the feast of the passover, and the Son of man is betrayed to be crucified.

Continue reading How to Truly Listen with Hearts That Hear

Encounters of Life as Opportunities of Grace and Truth

Life is filled with encounters!  Some encounters are very brief; while, others intermingle with us for our entire lifetime.   Our encounters are varied and wide from finances to illnesses we must battle.  Then there are those encounters with other people that weave in and out of our lives.  The lady selling tacos on the corner stand in Mexico.  Co-workers, friends, family, taxi drivers, the young man at the checkout stand, the drive through attendant, law enforcement, and church groups all are people with whom we may encounter in our life time.  Jesus said that we are salt and light to the world.  But what could that possibly mean? How should that affect the way we see encounters in our life.

Paul advised the church at Colossae to beware of false doctrine seeping into their community.  He, then asked them for prayer that God open doors for Paul to continue teaching the truth of the gospel; that others might come to know Jesus Christ.  Furthermore, immediately after asking that the church pray continually; he then wrote:

Colossians 4:5-6

 Walk in wisdom toward them that are without, redeeming the time.  Let your speech be always with grace, seasoned with salt, that ye may know how ye ought to answer every man.

WALKING IN WISDOM-ENCOUNTERS THAT MAKE A DIFFERENCE

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Out of the Ashes: From Sorrow to Abounding Joy

One thing that life has taught me: God loves me with an everlasting love and every trial or sorrow I face is an act of His Mighty Grace.  It has been through the darkest valleys that I have found peace, joy and love; because, pain forced me to lay aside all my foolish desires and pride. There I came to know God, who is my greatest treasure.  He indwells me with His presence like an overflowing spring of joy, hope, peace, and love. So, out of the Ashes; I found Joy Abounding with hope, love, and peace within.

 Psalm 30:5,10-12

weeping may endure for a night, but joy cometh in the morning.  Hear, O Lord, and have mercy upon me: Lord, be thou my helper. Thou hast turned for me my mourning into dancing: thou hast put off my sackcloth, and girded me with gladness To the end that my glory may sing praise to thee, and not be silent. O Lord my God, I will give thanks unto thee forever.

POEM: OUT OF THE ASHES

Out of the Ashes

By Effie Darlene Barba

I Cried to You, Lord; my heart broken in two

Why did he leave? My love tried and true

Had left me there rejected that day

With never a thought or pardon to say

Didn’t You hear my pleas and my prayer

Or maybe in truth, You don’t even care!

Chorus

Then, Gently, so gently you reached out Your hand

To cradle me there to help me to stand

Your Love did allow my pain and despair

That I might see You ARE my answered prayer

If I had not walked through the darkest of night

Then, would I have longed for Your glorious light

Until I was broken, my life undone

I loved from afar Your Precious Dear Son

There in my darkness Your love drew me in

A humbled and broken heart you did win

And then you unveiled this great mystery

The Love I had sought was inside of me

Out of the ashes to my heart’s surprise

A joyous love song began then to rise

Alone in the dark, the words did resound

No solace for me, the fear did surround

“It’s Cancer” he said, I heard him quite clear

“The best you can hope is maybe one year”

I Cried out to You, I don’t understand

How could this be a part of Your Plan

Didn’t I love You enough, Can’t You see

How could You let this happen to me?

Chorus

Then, Gently, so gently you reached out your hand

To cradle me there to help me to stand

Your Love did allow my pain and despair

That I might see You ARE my answered prayer

If I had not walked through the darkest of night

Then, would I have longed for Your glorious light

Until I was broken, my life undone

I loved from afar Your Precious Dear Son

There in my darkness Your love drew me in

A humbled and broken heart you did win

And then you unveiled this great mystery

The Love I had sought was inside of me

Out of the ashes to my heart’s surprise

A joyous love song began then to rise

How foolish to not have thought of Your Loss

When Your Son did die on that old rugged cross

Silly to think my life on this earth

Should be filled with only laughter and mirth

I see now my trials have been Your act of Grace

That I may turn from myself to seek Your Wondrous Face

Only then can true love fill all my heart

For Your love in me will never depart.

Chorus

Then, Gently, so gently you reached out your hand

To cradle me there to help me to stand

Your Love did allow my pain and despair

That I might see You ARE my answered prayer

If I had not walked through the darkest of night

Then, would I have longed for Your glorious light

Until I was broken, my life undone

I loved from afar Your Precious Dear Son

There in my darkness Your love drew me in

A humbled and broken heart you did win

And then you unveiled this great mystery

The Love I had sought was inside of me

Out of the ashes to my heart’s surprise

A joyous love song began then to rise

cONCLUDING TWEETS
When all is gone & God is all that is left; then, you find you are the richest of all Click To Tweet

 

 

©Effie Darlene Barba, 2017

Disclosure of Material Connection: I have not received any compensation for writing this post.  I have no material connection to the brands, products, or services that I have mentioned.  I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.

 

One Simple Prayer Request: Enormous Results from God

Have you ever requested prayer from people you don’t really know?  Because we are afraid to admit our own frailty or to suggest we are in need of prayer; we  don’t make a prayer request. If we do, we say it more as a catch phrase than with a genuine heart.  We might take the chance to call in to a prayer hotline; because, we think at least then we are reaching people with more faith than our own.  Yet, do we ask someone whom we disciple to pray for us; admitting our own need for prayer? That is exactly what Paul, the great Apostle, did in His letter to the church at Colossae. Watch what happens with one simple prayer request!

 Continue in prayer, and watch in the same with thanksgiving; Withal praying also for us, that God would open unto us a door of utterance, to speak the mystery of Christ, for which I am also in bonds: That I may make it manifest, as I ought to speak. Colossians 4:1-3

SETTING the SCENE

Paul wrote the letter to the Church at Colossae to address the dangerous theological errors that were surrounding and invading this young church.  At the time of his writing this letter, Paul had never been to Colossae.  He heard of the church and their struggles from Epaphras. When he wrote this letter, Paul was imprisoned in Rome under guarded house arrest. Despite being surrounded by guards;  he, by permission, had visitors and wrote letters.  At one point, Paul referred to Epaphras as a fellow prisoner in Christ Jesus (Philemon 1:23).  I am not certain if that was the case at the time that this letter was written or not; although, this is most likely the case since Paul sends salutations on behalf of Epaphras to this early church.  (Colossians 4:12). Continue reading One Simple Prayer Request: Enormous Results from God

How Can Power Really Be Found in The World?

It would probably surprise you if I said, “A position of true power is found through humility, grace, and a heart of servitude to those around you” You might be offended by the suggestion; however, please indulge me and consider the reasoning herein laid out. A position of emotional and spiritual strength comes first from knowing the truth of the gospel message, relying on those truths, and standing firm in the foundation of those truths. Once we know who God is and understand that everything He does is for our ultimate good; then, we can demonstrate genuine grace and love toward others whom we meet from a place of strength and power. We can forgive outrageous atrocities against our person; because, we know that those atrocities do not alter our position in Christ.

True kindness, love, and forgiveness toward others comes from a position of greater strength. Indeed, my need to defend or retaliate against another is symbolic of my own weakness, frailty and fears. It takes a true act of strength to always approach your spouse from a position of true love, desiring to bring them pleasure. If our relationship becomes about; “What can you do to make me happy?”; then, our relationship is doomed from the beginning. On the Contrary, if my first goal is to be a positive force which considers the emotions and needs of my partner over my own; then, I stand strong and so does the relationship. This cannot be as a manipulation tool in which I demand a certain response to continue to serve you.

EXAMPLE OF POWER IN GIVING

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