Listening, Prayer for Sago Baptist Church

Today I listened! (as we discussed yesterday .) It was exciting! I began to listen! I gained respect for my coworkers. I helped influence students to improve their lives. I picked up on body language that allowed me to better relate to my students. I learned about the 67 cent present. (more later)

As I pondered the amazing results of my wonderful day of listening — this is what came to me:

“So many people spend their time trying to get their point across that they miss the point!”

I was showing a video on Monday about John Foppe , an amazing man with no arms who has excelled in this world and is a protege of Zig Ziglar . He said something profound:

“It is not about just about your contributions in this life, it is about how you live it!”

Again — if we are so busy making a point of achieving this or that — we miss the point! I think of Donald Trump . I love the Apprentice and enjoy the show. However, I’ve heard him interviewed and say that he’s a success at everything but has been a lousy husband and a lousy father. He admits that he hasn’t had time to focus on that part of his life.

I believe that he’s missing out on the best part of life. The best things in life cannot be bought.

Acts 8:20
But Peter replied, “May your money perish with you for thinking God’s gift can be bought!

The best things are like the 67 cent present. The 67 cent present is the most coveted present received in a nearby neighborhood this past Christmas. This child had an idea. He received $7 in his stocking and he took it down to the home improvement store. He asked for the cheapest wood he could get and was told they had some they’d give him for free if he’d haul it off. He then proceeded to buy 67 cents worth of nails.

He took this wood home and along with some tools and a little elbow grease he proceeded to nail small pieces of wood up the side of his huge oak tree in the back yard. This wood made a ladder into the tree. He then pulled the trampoline up to the oak tree. The steps are now labeled with the names of the neighborhood kids who are willing to jump from that rung onto the trampoline. As they move higher, they erase their name and move it higher. It is the most popular, best present in the that neighborhood. (Although they are taking bets on the first kid to have an injury and I’m secretly relieved my own children do not know about this pristine example of childhood dangers masquerading as fun!)

The neatest thing is that my best present was made of cheap wood and 67 cents of nails along with the priceless life of my Savior.

So today, I received a priceless gift. The gift of learning from others. The gift of being quiet and hearing what others had to say. I heard a coworker tell me about the 67 cent present. I heard a student make plans that will change his life. I heard one excited about his increasing grades. And do you know what — I had fun!

Relationships are the key. Although most marriages say the reason for break up is money — that would mean that poor people can’t have good marriages. There’s no correlation of income and divorce rate! The rich would stay married if that were the case! (The Donald is on the third wife.) No, the reasonmarriages break up is because of a poor relationship.

Will you commit to listen this year? How many people did you listen to today? (See yesterday.)

Prayer Point: The Families of the Miners Today, I’d like us to pray for the families involved in the mining disaster in West Virginia. I was so saddened as I learned of the church that was praying for the miners . One moment they were praising God and when they heard of the mistake and the deaths, the next moment they were cursing and swearing. (New York Daily News ) As the pastor tried to comfort them, a man yelled out “What the hell has God ever done for us?” The heart wrenching agony must be almost unbearable! I am thankful that people in despair who question God’s providence can be forgiven just like Peter was for his betrayal and I have been for mine.

I am more stunned at Job who lost all of his children, his job, his wealth, and all he had. We see his response in Job 1:20-22

20 Then Job arose, tore his robe, and shaved his head; and he fell to the ground and worshiped. 21 And he said:

“ Naked I came from my mother’s womb,
And naked shall I return there.
The LORD gave, and the LORD has taken away;
Blessed be the name of the LORD.”
22 In all this Job did not sin nor charge God with wrong.

Job was a indeed an admirable man! Anyone can praise God in the good times.

Nonetheless, there are people in agony that have lived a roller coaster of hope and despair. Now they have to move on with mourning their loved ones. I cannot judge anyone for their despair must be so great! I am so heartbroken! But I remember, God knows what its like to watch a Son die in agony. Jesus knows what it is like to die in agony. They can identify. We must pray for this church!

Dear Lord, thank you for the gift of relationships. Thank you for blessing me far beyond I could ask or imagine and in giving me hope that I and all readers of this blog can learn to listen. Thank you for the students and coworkers who shared themselves with me. Thank you for the cheap wood and 67 cents of nails that saved my very soul! Thank you for helping me become more like Jesus! Lord, we are in agony for the families and friends of the miners. We don’t understand the tragedies of this fallen world. Forgive us for praising you when times are good and failing you when we are disappointed. But I thank you that you see into our souls and loved us while we were still sinners. I thank you that you forgive us when we question your love and providence. Take us and those who are hurting into your loving arms. Show them that you never will leave them nor forsake them. Love them and fill them with your love as they are in agony. Teach us how to minister and how to pray. We are so sorry for their loss and for the loss of so many loved ones around the world as the vile death takes people from us. But we know that you will conquer death and turn our mourning into dancing one day. We anxiously await for you to wipe every tear from our eyes. Come, Lord Jesus! Amen.

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