Friday, 9 March 2018

Looking, Listening And Learning

Let’s think together about looking, listening and learning - looking to the Lord, listening to Him and learning from Him..
When we look to the Lord, what do we see? - We see love. We see Jesus, crucified for us. We know that God loves us.
When we listen to the Lord, what do we hear? We hear the voice of His love. From the Cross, we hear Jesus praying, "Father, forgive them ... " (Luke 23:34). We know that God loves us.
When we learn from the Lord, what do we learn? - We learn of His love. At the Cross of Christ, we learn that God's love is the best love. We learn that there is no love like the love of Jesus.
* How do we know that God loves us?
Without Jesus, we were lost. With Jesus, we are found.
Lost - It's going round in circles. Life feels like a wild goose chase. You're trying to get somewhere - but you're going nowhere! You're trying to find your way home and you keep on ending up somewhere else. Every way you turn – it’s a dead-end street!
There’s no way to heaven which begins with the word ‘I’. We must begin with God: ‘God so loved the world...’ (John 3:16). No sinner can open the door of heaven: ‘Christ only could unlock the gate of heaven, and let us in’.
Found – It’s never, “I found Jesus.” It’s always, “Jesus found me.” Do you sometimes feel like you’re a hopeless case? You keep on getting it wrong. You keep on losing your way. You try hard – but it doesn’t work! Failure, failure, failure … Is there a way out of the vicious circle that keeps on ending in failure? Is there another way – forgiveness, forgiveness, forgiveness? Where does forgiveness come from? – It comes from Jesus: “Father, forgive them...” We can’t escape failure – but we can receive forgiveness! Do we achieve forgiveness? Is it something that we do for ourselves? No – it’s not! Forgiveness is God’s gift. Jesus comes to us. We look to Him. We listen to Him. We learn from Him. We say, “I once was lost, but now am found.”
* Why – on earth – does God keep on loving us?
“On earth” – What does this mean? It means that we’re comparing God with other people – “Anybody else would have given up on me a long time ago.” God isn’t just “anybody else”! He’s “the everlasting God” (Isaiah 40:28) – and He loves us with “an everlasting love” (Jeremiah 31:3). He doesn’t give up on us. He keeps on loving us. He doesn’t say, “You’re just a hopeless waste of My time.” He gives us much more than just a few minutes of His time. He gives to us “eternal life” (John 10:28). Sometimes, we may think, “God’s love is too good to be true.” Let’s turn that around – God’s love is true. That’s why it’s so good. Go to the Cross of Christ. Look to Jesus. Listen to Him. Learn from Him. What do you see? What do you hear? What do you learn? – God isn’t all set to stop loving you the moment you step out of line. Christ suffered for us. He died for us. This is what we need to hear when we step out of line. This is God’s way of saying, “I’m not going to stop loving you.” He also says to us, “What about you? Are you going to keep on loving Me?”
* How does God show us that He loves us?
Look - “Who put the lights out? – If you had looked where you were going, you wouldn’t have walked into the door!!” If you’re not looking, you won’t see where you’re going. If we don’t keep our eyes on Jesus, the lights will go out – and we’ll run into one problem after another! Looking to Jesus – Does this mean that we won’t have any more problems? No! It doesn’t mean that at all. It means that, when the problems come, we won’t be stumbling around in the darkness. We’ll be walking in the light with Jesus. We’ll be walking in the light of His love. When the hard times come, we’ll be ready for them. We’ll face our problems – and we’ll say, “The steadfast love of the Lord never ceases” (Lamentations 3:22).
Listen – “I didn’t catch that. That’s because you weren’t listening!” God has something to say to us. He asks us, “Are you listening?” Jesus is God’s “Word” (John 1:1,14). When we listen to Jesus, we’re listening to God’s Word. We hear plenty of bad news. Sometimes, it seems like there’s nothing but bad news. Do you want to hear Good News? Listen to Jesus. He speaks to us of love, the greatest love of all – the love of God. Without His love, we have no hope for the future. Without His love, nothing makes sense. We feel like we’re wandering around – with no idea where we’re going. It’s His love that makes the difference. It’s His love that changes everything. Whenever you feel that you’re starting to drift away from the Lord, remember this – Jesus has “the words of eternal life” (John 6:66-69). Start listening to His “words of eternal life.” Let His love reach you. Let His love change you.
Learn – “It’s a long time since I was at school – You can’t teach an old dog new tricks!” Who said we stop learning when we stop going to school? Don’t ever say, “I’m too old”! The Bible is full of great examples of lifelong learning. Abraham was 75 when God said to him, “Go to the land I will show you” (Genesis 12:1-4). Caleb was 85 when he spoke great words of faith to God’s people (Joshua 14:10-12). Anna was 84 – and she was still worshipping the Lord and speaking words of encouragement (Luke 2:36-38). Lifelong learning is not about getting university degrees. It’s about keeping on learning how much God loves you. It’s about learning to love the Lord more and more each day. Have you learned life’s most important lessons? It’s never too late to learn. Look to the Lord, listen to Him – and you will learn from Him.

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