Category Archives: Listening

Fortify the Gates

Multiethnicity

The following words awoke me from my nap: Fortify the gates. Before my eyes were fully opened, again I heard: Fortify the gates; strengthen the walls. Which gates, Lord? Which walls?

My first order of business would be to pray, but first, I would play some worship music for just a few minutes to bring my mind into focus. I opened the music cabinet and selected a CD from the worship section at random, which happened to be one I hadn’t listened to in quite some time, but one that seemed quite fitting.

As I listened to the first few moments of the traditional hymns, presented by the London Philharmonic Orchestra and Choir, I lifted my voice in praise. Then, as I intended to pray, I found I couldn’t; all I could do was listen to the soul-stirring hymns. Sometimes you need to speak, said the Lord, and sometimes you need only to listen.

I stretched-out on the floor and allowed the words of those glorious old hymns to saturate my spirit until I heard the Lord say Rise. As I did so, the Lord spoke quietly to my heart. He had already revealed that the gates that needed fortified were my own children and the walls that needed strengthened were the youth of our nation.

To fortify something usually means to impart strength to it. That was certainly applicable to what the Lord was speaking to me. He reminded me, though, that this word can also be applied to nutrition. The youth of this nation, including my own children, need more of the Word, He said, for they are greatly lacking. Most are starving for truth. The walls have been broken down.

Dear reader, the truth of matter is that our youth do not have anywhere near the same opportunity to hear the Word of the Lord as did the former generations —not even in church! They are so very hungry for truth and righteousness, even if they do not realize it. The secular world will do everything in its power to keep the Word of truth from them. It is all the more imperative, then, that those of us who call upon the name of the Lord impart the Word to those who need it most, those who are most vulnerable to deception, our youth.

The Lord spoke through the prophet Isaiah: thou shalt raise up the foundations of many generations; and thou shalt be called, The repairer of the breach, The restorer of paths to dwell in. (vs 12). These words are very relevant for today’s world. But  who will stand in the gap to raise up the foundations, and where do we begin? As the Lord spoke to me earlier, sometimes we need to speak, and sometimes we need to listen.  Doing the right thing at the right time is very important, and the Lord will surely guide us in our endeavors is we ask His guidance; and for the sake of our youth, I pray we do!

Blessings.

He That Answereth a Matter

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So what’s on my mind today? The words of Stephen R. Covey: “Most people do not listen with the intent to understand; they listen with the intent to reply.”

Yesterday I was involved in a back-and-forth email discussion. My own submission would, I knew, challenge a few people, but I also felt it was okay to share. The discussion was going well enough until I checked on today’s responses to see how the conversation had progressed. Not surprisingly, a few folks decided to offer their rebuke both in the group discussion and by private email as well.

Show of hands, how many of you have had a similar experience? I see that hand, God bless you.

The sad thing is that those who chose to rebuff me had not actually taken the time to check their facts. I had been examining the topic in the article I shared for well over a year and am quite certain the information is valid; they, on the other hand, simply went to one of those  “Ask a Question” websites and found an opposing answer from someone who was hardly qualified to give it, someone who was clearly not knowledgeable about the subject; then proceeded to copy it and paste it into the discussion thread to “prove” that I had presented heresy.

Am I angry? No, at least not any more. As the old saying goes, “Let the ignorant be ignorant still.” (which by the way, is a saying that is rooted in I Corinthians).

However, the incident was a timely reminder to myself to heed, and to practice, the words of Proverbs 18:13: He that answereth a matter before he heareth it, it is folly and shame unto him.

Dear reader, if you didn’t raise your hand earlier, you will almost certainly have occasion to do so at some point. How will you react? You and I cannot stop others from rebuffing us unjustly, but we certainly have control over how we engage with others. Thus, we have the responsibility to not only choose our own words wisely, but also to dismiss the words of a scoffer like water off a duck’s back — I ask you, how often have you seen a disgruntled duck?

water off a ducky