Listen to God

September 13, 2015    Deuteronomy 30:17 – 20Listen 


    There is an international competition know as Wacky Warning Label Contest.  The point of the contest reveals the fears that companies have of law suits so they spend millions of dollars to avoid law suits.  They put warnings on their products to avoid law suits.  The 2009 winner was put on a portable toilet called the Off Road Commode”.   The seat was designed for outdoors men complete with camouflage padding and attaches to the vehicle trailer hitch.  Just get a picture of that in your mind. The warning reads not for use on moving vehicles.   That might be a tough ride.  A small tractor reads danger avoid death.  A hair dryer reads do not use while sleeping.  An iron on T shirt transfer warns; do not iron on while wearing the shirt.  Really?   On the package of bread pudding it reads, product will be hot after heating.

    A sleep aid alerts the insomniac Warning may cause drowsiness.  On a child’s super hero costume are found the words, wearing the garment does not enable you to fly.  And finally one over the top.  On a Swedish chain saw a critical reminder, do not attempt to stop the chain with your hands or genitals.  What a great idea.  Wow   You just cut a solid chunk of oak and now you want to stop the chain with your hand.   Do we really need such labels?

    It is pretty silly to grab a chain saw chain that is moving with your hand but if we do not walk in the spirit of God we are likely to do the same thing spiritually.   Satan is smarter than any human being and many Christians think they can outsmart the devil.  One man of God said if you play around in the devil back yard he will tap you on the shoulder and say your it.  Many times we think we have all the answers and what we know is right on and that can be just the time when we are way off track.  We would be smart to ask God what do you think about that?   Many Christians are lax in their bible reading and many perhaps think they do not need to know this book.  That idea is wrong.   That is the beginning of being deceived.  They are already deceived. 

    Ephesians 6 tells us to put on the full armor of God so that we can stand against the schemes of the devil.  The Holy Spirit wants us to stand against the wiles the trickery the schemes and deceit of Satan.   Put on the whole armor of God.  What do you think the first piece of armor is?   The bible says put on the belt of truth.   Many Christians think they can get by without reading the bible.  They are in a war with Satan with limited knowledge. How would like to be in a battle and not know your enemy?   To be in battle and not know your enemy strategy and many think they are OK.   Jesus is truth.  Jesus said I am the way the truth and the life.  Jesus said the Holy Spirit will lead you into all truth for he will speak of me. Jesus said the Spirit will bring to their remembrance the things that Jesus taught them.   David was a man after God’s heart and David prayed Lord show me where I am wrong.  Show me those hidden sins.  Show me those secret things in my life. 

     As we think about these warning labels are we a generation does not think?  There are times we like to go brain dead but we cannot afford to live there.   There are a lot of folks out there that want to do your thinking for you.  I sometimes get angry at the advertising.  I get tired of folks who say thing s like think snow.  Let me tell you what – you think snow!  There is sign in Chichester that says you need ice cream now or you need more ice cream.  Really?   I do not need more ice cream.  I would like more ice cream but I really do not need any more.   That can be as much sin as anything else.    I want a lot more of Jesus and lot less of other stuff.  What a crazy world we live in.  I suppose as a pastor I try to influence people thoughts and actions.  The Holy Spirit in I Peter 5 tells us to be alert and to be self controlled.  It can be a problem if we are not alert spiritually.  Moses tells God’s people here to listen to God.  Are we listening?   Is God speaking to you?  

    I would suggest today that we take times to just listen to God.  God what do you think about the world today?  We have isolated ourselves from our neighbors and many have isolated themselves from others.  One gal said I would like to take his phone and paste it on my fore head so that he would at least have to look in my direction.  Today we seem to be so involved with lots of things going on around us that we lose sight of the world.  One of my goals in this message was to talk about the world.  I think we need to lift up our eyes and see beyond us.  Life is bigger than America and bigger than New Hampshire.     

   I want to share a couple of comments on the world and these statistics are from the 2010 book operation world which is the latest publication for that book.    The world population is 7.3 billion people.  God is concerned about each person.  God has each hair of each person counted.  I saw a 10 day old baby yesterday with a full head of dark hair.  My 2009 Rand McNally map says New Hampshire has a population of 1.3 million people.  There are 487 cities in the world with a population of over 1 million people in them.  There are 21 cities with over 10 million people.  That is about the population of Vermont, New Hampshire, Maine, and Massachusetts in one city.  That is a lot of people folks.   There are 6,909 languages spoken and 2,582 languages that the bible has been translated in and not a complete bible in all languages.  There are 2.2 billion Christians in the world with a growth rate of 1.2% and there are 1.5 billion Muslins with a growth rate of 1.9%.  The most global religion in the world is Christianity.  There are 14 countries that are less than 1 % Christian and another 23 countries that are less than 5% Christian.  Speaking of such I have just heard that the exodus of Christians from the Middle East will leave that area of the world with almost no Christian witness.   I think that is tough.  The news has said it is the biggest movement of people in that area of the world since WWII.   We have lots to pray about and much work to do.  Have we listened to the Fathers heart beat for the world?   Do we listen?  We need to listen when there is danger and sometimes we need to move quickly. 

    We are seeing a lot of fires out west again.  California has another big fire going that tripled in size Thursday.  I remember when I lived in San Diego that the climate was semi arid with just 14 inches of rain a year.  The biology class I took I learned that it takes 100 years for the chaparral or the brush to grow back after a fire.  The chaparral only grows to 10 or 15 feet as I remember it.  There are many people who ignore warnings to evacuate these fires just as many ignore warnings to go over flooded roads.  In 2003 20 people lost their lives in a series of fires where the flames moved faster than the people could leave.  The people complained and Sergeant Conrad Grayson responded, we were begging people to leave and they don’t take us seriously.  They want to pack clothes or fight it out in the back yard with a garden hose.  He said they do not seem to understand that this is not like any fire we have seen.  If people do not move fast they become charcoal briquettes he said.  One resident tried to warn his neighbors to escape, but a number of them responded casually or ignored his warnings.  He said they looked like they were packing for a trip.  The ones who listened to me and left lived.   The ones who didn’t died.  I guess it could be tough to figure out what you wanted to grab from your house in a hurry.  I remember visiting Mount St. Helens area in Washington State and some folks were warned and did not heed it and they did not live through that eruption. 

    There is a warning in this passage of scripture that we read today.  Moses tells them if you forget God and go in other directions and if you seek and worship other gods you will not live long in the land.   Moses tells them of blessings and cursings.  Are Americans listening today?   Is the church listening today?   Are people teachable today?  I think some folks are teachable until they do not agree or they do not want to change.  Those that have all the answers are not listening.   It does not matter if they are 18 years old or 80 years old. 

    One person said listening is wanting to hear.”   If you don’t want to hear I am sure it impacts your listening attention.     If I am in a discussion with someone on a topic or subject that I feel strong about and I feel the other person is wrong my tendency is not to listen and be teachable.    That can be good and that can be bad.   It can be bad if I am wrong and they are right.  It can be bad if you are arguing with the Lord.   If you go out and share the gospel most folks think they are right on.  They do not want to change.  They are not teachable.  Those who chose to ignore God and do not listen to him are lost.  Moses tells them listen to God’s voice and hold fast to him.  Hold fast to God.  Moses says the Lord Is your life.      

   A businessman who needed several million dollars to clinch an important deal and sensing the need for divine help, he went to church to pray for money.   By chance, he knelt next to a man who was praying for $100 to pay an urgent debt. The businessman took out his wallet and pressed $100 into the other man’s hand and, overjoyed, the man got up and left the church.  The businessman then closed his eyes and prayed, "Now, Lord. Now that I have your undivided attention...."    That businessman wanted God’s undivided attention.  But frankly it isn’t God who has the problem … it’s us. We really don’t have to work that hard to get God to hear our prayers.  He’s promised He would listen.  God listens and we are the ones who are bad listeners at times.  It is not a good idea by the way to try and buy God or think my money can move God.  God does bless our giving when done with the right motives. 

     Distractions can hinder a person from paying attention and listening.    I read recently that one state was thinking of making new restrictions on young drivers.  It seems that having a teenager drive can be a scary thing.   But they’ve found that when a teen has a friend in the car, the situation gets even worse and if that teen has several friends in the car… that was a recipe for disaster.  So someone has suggested that for the first year or so driving – no friends in the car.   Now, why would a teen be a danger because of his friends being in the car with him?   Because the teen would get distracted by his friends and not pay attention.   They have ears to hear… but they’d just not be listening to the things they need to listen to.

    Another good example of that are Mary and Martha that is in Luke 10.  Martha is busy in the kitchen getting dinner ready and Mary is taking it easy sitting at the feet of Jesus.  Martha goes to the Lord and tells him look I am doing all the work around here.  I am busy and my sister Mary is not doing anything to help with dinner.  Jesus is so kind and He does not rebuke her.  Jesus tells her you are worried about many things probably dinner and you are upset about many things probably Mary.  Mary has chosen that which is better and she gets to keep that.  Now Martha could probably hear Jesus teach.  I mean Jesus spoke to crowds of thousands and most likely it is not a 3 or 4 thousand square foot house.   Probably at times Martha could have stepped out of the kitchen and just enjoyed the company but Martha was not only concerned about eating and feeding folks she was stewing about her sister.  It is probably safe to say if we are stewing about something we are not listening.  The enemy will go to great lengths to keep you from listening to God.  Satan would like to keep us busy, to keep us stewing about something, to keep us from the bible. 

    Coe Brown where Sally works had a number of activities yesterday and I went in the morning.  We talked to one of the volunteer parents for awhile and she commented on a student who was a trouble maker.   He had to go in and see Mr. Smith the head master who told him I hope this year that we do not have to have a great deal of close personal time as we have had in the past.  If we all listen carefully to the Lord it could save us from those times that are not so pleasant.  Moses tells the Children of Israel to love God and to listen to him.  Good words of advice.  One of the verses I thought about preaching on today was in Psalm 46 which says be still and know that I am God.  Jesus said he that has ears to hear let him hear.   Are you listening to the Father’s heart concerning the things on your heart?   Do we listen to the heart beat of the father for that person we are praying for?  God what do you think about this situation?  God is speaking are we hearing?  Listen to God.