Tuesday, June 5, 2018

Reflection - Intimacy with Christ - Listening to Him

Source (book): "Finding rest for the soul", Chapter Seven, Question 1, Page 120.
By Robert M. Solomon, Bishop of the Methodist Church in Singapore from 2000 - 2012
 

Reflect on your own challenges in relating to Jesus.
PHOTO: Reflect on your own challenges in relating to Jesus.
One of the challenges - and mysteries - of knowing Jesus and having an intimate relationship with Him is the fact that we cannot see Him. We believe that He is alive and that He is present in our lives, but we know well that He remains invisible.

Because He is invisible, we tend to forget that Jesus is around. We confront our problems, meet other people, struggle through temptations, and perform our responsibilities with little thought given to His presence or reality. Only when we are in trouble, and praying as a last resort, do we try to conjure up His image in our minds, to reassure ourselves that we are not alone.

So how can we carry on a relationship with Jesus? How can we know Christ as a person, and grow our relationship with Him? How can we be sure that we are not just relating to a creation of our own mind to soothe our anxieties?

When Moses heard God, it was as if he saw the invisible. Even more importantly, he knew about God by listening to Him and learning from Him. Moses said to God: "If you are pleased with me, teach me your ways so I may know you and continue to find favor with you" (Exodus 33:13, emphasis added). Note the connection that Moses made - he wanted God to teach him so that he would know Him. This is the link between learning and relationship.

Why is God invisible to us?  "You cannot see my face, for no one may see me and live," (Exodus 33:20). God passed by Moses without showing His face - "you will see my back; but my face must not be seen" (Exodus 33:23). When God passed in front of Moses later (Exodus 34:6-7). His compassion, graciousness, patience, love, faithfulness, forgiveness, and justice were proclaimed.

We may not see Jesus physically, but we can know Him through His goodness.

Why is listening to Him so important?
Our relationship with Christ is not nurtured by sight. He may be invisible, bur He is not inaudible. We worship a God who has revealed himself by speaking through His prophets and His Son (Hebrews 1:1-2). The religion of the Bible is the religion of the ear.

Christ wants us to pay attention and listen, so that we will respond and obey. How can we listen? We listen best when we remain silent and pay full attention to the person who is speaking.

What is your experience in learning to do this (listening to Him)? Share your experience with another Christian.
One of the problems we faced during our pre-dawn walk along the Park Connector Networks (PCN) is the unpredictable tropical rainfall. We are not in the habit of carrying umbrella or raincoat. So every time when there is a sudden heavy rainfall we will be caught and drenched, because shelter is not available for certain stretches of the road.

As time passed by, we learned to inquire and request from God the status of the weather. People may argue that all these are common sense. What we discovered is not the common sense part. It is the sudden swift change of weather while we are already out in the open, and yet the rainfall started slowly. Slow enough for us to have enough time to reach a sheltered place. We were blessed by not being caught in heavy rainfall for a long time.

When He indicated at the beginning that it was safe to walk in the open although the weather changed later, the rain would be delayed. Common sense alone does not lead us to understand His actual indication of the weather but quiet listening to Him does. We discovered that God also has been protecting, guiding, correcting, providing and loving us all the time, when we have faith, listened and put our trust in Him.

We may not see Jesus physically, but we can know Him through His goodness. He is invisible to us now, but through His creations, He provides sounds, signs and other ways to inform us of the eventual outcome. I believe this is one of His ways to help us develop our faith in Him through 'listening' attentively.

When doing reflection blogs I am not able to answer all the questions by myself. I would pray to God and seek His help. Thoughts accurately related to the questions soon come to my mind. I put them in words and become the answer to the complicated questions.

Over time, with prayer and reading the Bible, our faith and trust change from "hope-so" to a "know-so", without doubt. It is a confident, assurance in believing God.
Picture posted by liveinternet.ru on Thursday, 07 November 2013 at 8:49 pm

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https://img1.liveinternet.ru/images/attach/c/8/104/683/104683143_large_01875266.jpg
https://www.liveinternet.ru/users/pippilotta/post298747036/



Reflect on your own challenges in relating to Jesus. Why is listening to Him so important? What is your experience in learning to do this? Share your experience with another Christian.

Reflect on your own challenges in relating to Jesus.
Enjoying Intimacy with the Invisible Teacher [1]
One of the challenges - and mysteries - of knowing Jesus and having an intimate relationship with Him is the fact that we cannot see Him. We do not see Him joining us at the dining table for a meal, taking a ride with us in the car, or walking alongside us on the road. We believe that He is alive and that He is present in our lives, but we know well that He remains invisible. So we put up plaques on the walls of our homes that say things like: "Christ is the Head of our home; the unseen Guest at every meal; and the silent listener to every conversation."



Enjoying Intimacy with the Invisible Teacher
PHOTO: Enjoying Intimacy with the Invisible Teacher
One of the challenges - and mysteries - of knowing Jesus and having an intimate relationship with Him is the fact that we cannot see Him. We believe that He is alive and that He is present in our lives, but we know well that He remains invisible.
Picture posted by Jan Čepelka in Harmony, Motivation, Satisfaction, Everything on 29 June 2014

https://4.bp.blogspot.com/-RfrGnu9-6b0/WxYvwG6lJEI/AAAAAAAAqWs/C2bDazMGP_Y1FTkqyynxwkQ_I6qfNT6AACLcBGAs/s1600/bigstock-Image-of-businesswoman-in-blin-43995325.jpg
http://www.cilevedome.cz/wp-content/uploads/bigstock-Image-of-businesswoman-in-blin-43995325.jpg
http://www.cilevedome.cz/zijeme-v-zajeti-vlastnich-smyslu/



Because He is invisible, however, we tend to forget that Jesus is around. We confront our problems, meet other people, struggle through temptations, and perform our responsibilities with little thought given to His presence or reality. Only when we are in trouble, and praying as a last resort, do we try to conjure up His image in our minds, to reassure ourselves that we are not alone.



Because He is invisible, however, we tend to forget that Jesus is around.
PHOTO: Because He is invisible, however, we tend to forget that Jesus is around. Only when we are in trouble, and praying as a last resort, do we try to conjure up His image in our minds, to reassure ourselves that we are not alone.
Picture posted by AZWallpapers on 06 November 2016

https://4.bp.blogspot.com/-7qy0wGUWQlg/WxYvtYzMyhI/AAAAAAAAqWM/F7l9YAftiycxEsZLVrpYywcBcsIrbDtaQCLcBGAs/s1600/750214_download-free-jesus-4k-wallpapers_3840x2160_h.jpg
https://www.desktopbackground.org/download/o/2014/04/20/750214_download-free-jesus-4k-wallpapers_3840x2160_h.jpg
https://www.desktopbackground.org/wallpaper/download-free-jesus-4k-wallpapers-750214



So how can you carry on a relationship with Jesus? How can you know Christ as a person, and grow your relationship with Him? How can you be sure that you are not just relating to a creation of your own mind to soothe your anxieties?

We can learn a lesson or two from the example of Moses, who is called a friend of God and is said to have "persevered because he saw him who is invisible" (Hebrews 11:27). Moses was first approached by God as an 80-year-old shepherd, when he passed a bush that was burning. Perhaps that was a common sight in the hot, dry wilderness. But what caught Moses' attention was the fact that though the bush was burning, "it did not burn up" (Exodus 3:2). As he drew near, the shepherd heard God calling to him. An extended conversation then took place between the two.



Moses, who is called a friend of God and is said to have 'persevered because he saw him who is invisible' (Hebrews 11:27).
PHOTO: Moses, who is called a friend of God and is said to have "persevered because he saw him who is invisible" (Hebrews 11:27). Moses was first approached by God as an 80-year-old shepherd, when he passed a bush that was burning.
Picture posted by J.S on 18 March 2011 at 9:00 PM
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https://lh6.googleusercontent.com/-NArtD61Kb2s/TYB3Kkd_DmI/AAAAAAAAJ-I/rfvF5BOldzY/s1600/storyofmoses_18.jpg
http://www.vector-clip-art.com/2011/03/story-of-moses-031811.html



When Moses heard God, it was as if he saw the invisible. Even more importantly, he knew about God by listening to Him and learning from Him. We can see this in another conversation he had with God, recorded in Exodus 33:12-23. Moses said to God: "If you are pleased with me, teach me your ways so I may know you and continue to find favor with you" (Exodus 33:13, emphasis added). Note the connection that Moses made - he wanted God to teach him so that he would know Him. This is the link between learning and relationship.

 

When Moses heard God, it was as if he saw the invisible.
PHOTO: When Moses heard God, it was as if he saw the invisible. Even more importantly, he knew about God by listening to Him and learning from Him. Moses said to God: "If you are pleased with me, teach me your ways so I may know you and continue to find favor with you" (Exodus 33:13). Moses wanted God to teach him so that he would know Him. This is the link between learning and relationship.
Artwork by Joseph Brickey - Moses Seeing Jehovah, 1998
Picture posted by Celebrations Cake Decorating

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Replying God assured Moses of His presence: "My Presence will go with you, and I will give you rest" (Exodus 33:14). Don't these words sound familiar? Christ, too, promises us His presence and rest in Matthew 11:28-30.

Moses then, quite boldly, asked God to show Him His glory (Exodus 33:18). God replied that He would "cause all my goodness to pass in front of you" (Exodus 33:19). But Moses was kept from seeing God's face. "You cannot see my face, for no one may see me and live," He told the prophet (Exodus 33:20). So God passed by Moses without showing His face - "you will see my back; but my face must not be seen" (Exodus 33:23).



Moses asked God to show Him His glory (Exodus 33:18).
PHOTO: Moses asked God to show Him His glory (Exodus 33:18). But Moses was kept from seeing God's face. "You cannot see my face, for no one may see me and live," He told the prophet (Exodus 33:20). So God passed by Moses without showing His face.
Picture posted by Jacob Chanikuzhy, Sathyadeepam on 30 June 2017
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http://lightoftruth.in/gods-own-words/seeing-gods-face-meek/



What was the "goodness" that Moses saw? It was God's character - His mercy and compassion (
Exodus 33:19). When God passed in front of Moses later (Exodus 34:6-7). His compassion, graciousness, patience, love, faithfulness, forgiveness, and justice were proclaimed.
You may not see Jesus physically, but you can know Him through His goodness.

 

Moses saw  God's character -  His mercy, compassion, graciousness, patience, love, faithfulness, forgiveness, and justice.
PHOTO: Moses saw  God's character -  His mercy, compassion, graciousness, patience, love, faithfulness, forgiveness, and justice.
Picture posted in Pinterest

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Why is listening to Him so important?
Learning to Listen to Jesus [1]
Our relationship with Christ is not nurtured by sight. He may be invisible, bur He is not inaudible. We worship a God who has revealed himself by speaking through His prophets and His Son (Hebrews 1:1-2). Though Moses did not see God in the burning bush, he heard Him speak and could converse with Him (Exodus 3:1-6). Moses made it a habit to relate to God with his ears. That is why he was so angry when, on coming down form Mount Sinai with God's Ten Commandments, he saw the Israelites worshopping a golden calf they had built. They had chosen to create a religion of the eye, and worship something they could see.



Why is listening to Him so important?
PHOTO: Why is listening to Him so important?
Our relationship with Christ is not nurtured by sight. He may be invisible, bur He is not inaudible. We worship a God who has revealed himself by speaking through His prophets and His Son
(
Hebrews 1:1-2). Though Moses did not see God in the burning bush, he heard Him speak and could converse with Him (
Exodus 3:1-6). Moses made it a habit to relate to God with his ears.
Picture posted by Henry Davenport Northrop, D.D., Treasures of the Bible on 07 October 2011 at 05:43
https://1.bp.blogspot.com/-j0xE5OIGJ1U/WxYvvPI4UdI/AAAAAAAAqWg/B_IjHoWVRtsyvEdTlX51UYjJwrMru76ZwCLcBGAs/s1600/God_Speaks_to_Moses_From_a_Burning_Bush_-_Exodus_3_1-6.jpg
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http://www.marysrosaries.com/collaboration/index.php?title=File:God_Speaks_to_Moses_From_a_Burning_Bush_-_Exodus_3_1-6.jpg



The religion of the Bible, in contrast, is the religion of the ear. Israel's faith was centred on God's call to listen, to pay attention, to consider what He was saying, and to respond - "Hear, O Israel" (Deuteronomy 6:4). In the New Testament, we also read that "faith, comes from hearing" (Romans 10:17) and that "we live by faith, not by sight" (2 Corinthians 5:7). That is why Jesus kept saying "Whoever has ears, let him hear" (Luke 8:8; Matthew 11:15; Revelation 2:7; 11, 17, 29; 3:6, 13, 22). He also urges His listeners to "consider carefully how you listen" (Luke 8:18). Christ wants us to pay attention and listen, so that we will respond and obey.

 

The religion of the Bible is the religion of the ear.
PHOTO: The religion of the Bible is the religion of the ear. Israel's faith was centred on God's call to listen, to pay attention, to consider what He was saying, and to respond. "We live by faith, not by sight" (2 Corinthians 5:7). Christ wants us to pay attention and listen, so that we will respond and obey.
Picture saved by Iracy Marcedo to Animação
Picture posted by Valkery Reyes on Wattpad Covers

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https://veryfatoldman.blogspot.com/2018/05/reflection-doing-his-will-christian.html



How can we listen? If you re-arrange the letters of the word, "iisten", you will get  . . . "silent"! We listen best when we remain silent and pay full attention to the person who is speaking. Seventeenth-century writer Francois Fenelon observes in Christian Perfection that interior silence is as important as exterior silence; "It comes from quietening our idle, restless, wondering imaginations, keeping in check the desires of our worldly mind and suppressing the countless unhelpful thoughts which excite and disturb the soul." [28]

 

How can we listen?
PHOTO: How can we listen?
We listen best when we remain silent and pay full attention to the person who is speaking. "It comes from quietening our idle, restless, wondering imaginations, keeping in check the desires of our worldly mind and suppressing the countless unhelpful thoughts which excite and disturb the soul." - Seventeenth-century writer Francois Fenelon
Picture posted by Reshmi Sahadevan, Head of Psychological Services at Silver Oak Health, Reshmi Sahadevan is an expert in the field of psychotherapy and cognitive behavioral therapy.

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http://blog.stresscontrolonline.com/the-futile-pursuit-of-happiness/



What is your experience in learning to do this (listening to Him)? Share your experience with another Christian.
One of the problems we faced during our pre-dawn walk along the Park Connector Networks (PCN) is the unpredictable tropical rainfall. We are not in the habit of carrying umbrella or raincoat. So every time when there is a sudden heavy rainfall we will be caught and drenched, because shelter is not available for certain stretches of the road. If it is raining before we move out, we could use the link-way around our neighbourhood and would not have that problem. However, we are not keen to walk along the link-way because we prefer the refreshing environment along the PCN which is in the open.



One of the problems we faced during our pre-dawn walk along the Park Connector Networks (PCN) is the unpredictable tropical rainfall.
PHOTO: One of the problems we faced during our pre-dawn walk along the Park Connector Networks (PCN) is the unpredictable tropical rainfall. We are not in the habit of carrying umbrella or raincoat. So every time when there is a sudden heavy rainfall we will be caught and drenched, because shelter is not available for certain stretches of the road.
Picture posted by hasayang on 01 December 2013 - Rain at Punggol PCN
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https://hasayang.files.wordpress.com/2013/12/p1100481_2c-small.jpg
https://hasayang.wordpress.com/tag/punggol-promenade-pcn/



As time passed by, we learned to inquire and request from God the status of the weather. If the weather forecast did not indicate any rainfall, and the sky appeared clear, we would set out towards the PCN, and walked for the next 2 hours. However if the weather forecast showed otherwise and the sky became cloudy with lightning and thunders, we would select to walk along the link-way around our neighbourhood. That was how we learned to 'listen' to Jesus about these unpredictable weather.

People may argue that all these are common sense. What we discovered is not the common sense part. It is the sudden swift change of weather while we are already out in the open, and yet the rainfall started slowly. Slow enough for us to have enough time to reach a sheltered place. We were blessed by not being caught in heavy rainfall for a long time. Most of the time the heavy rainfall would start only after we had reached back home. At most we would be caught in some light rain. When He indicated at the beginning that it was safe to walk in the open although the weather changed later, the rain would be delayed. Common sense alone does not lead us to understand His actual indication of the weather but quiet listening to Him does. We discovered that God also has been protecting, guiding, correcting, providing and loving us all the time, when we have faith, listened and put our trust in Him.



We learned to inquire and request from God the status of the weather.
PHOTO:  We learned to inquire and request from God the status of the weather. When He indicated at the beginning that it was safe to walk in the open although the weather changed later, the rain would be delayed. Common sense alone does not lead us to understand His actual indication of the weather but quiet listening to Him does.
Picture posted by Tanya Feygin on 11 February 2015
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https://i1.wp.com/www.renewedandtransformed.com/wp-content/uploads/2015/02/sunset-5853341.jpg
http://www.renewedandtransformed.com/breaking-free-how-i-stopped-obsessing-over-my-body-part-2/



We may not see Jesus physically, but we can know Him through His goodness. He is invisible to us now, but through His creations, He provides sounds, signs and other ways to inform us of the eventual outcome. I believe this is one of His ways to help us develop our faith in Him through 'listening' attentively, and by observing (sight?) our natural environment we can double confirm our faith. God knows how difficult it is for us to believe in Him through faith without any physical evidence for us to see. Sometime He would provide these evidences in some forms that help increases our faith and trust in Him (John 20:27).



God knows how difficult it is for us to believe in Him through faith without any physical evidence for us to see.
PHOTO: God knows how difficult it is for us to believe in Him through faith without any physical evidence for us to see. Sometime He would provide these evidences in some forms that help increases our faith and trust in Him (John 20:27).
Picture posted by Fr. George Smiga on 30 March 2008
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http://buildingontheword.org/wp-content/uploads/2014/04/Doubting-Thomas.jpg
http://buildingontheword.org/a-body-to-touch/



When doing reflection blogs I am not able to answer all the questions by myself. I would pray to God and seek His help. Thoughts accurately related to the questions soon come to my mind. I put them in words and become the answer to the complicated questions.

Over time, with prayer and reading the Bible, our faith and trust change from "hope-so" to a "know-so", without doubt. It is a confident, assurance in believing God. [2]

 

When doing reflection blogs I am not able to answer all the questions by myself. I would pray to God and seek His help.
PHOTO: When doing reflection blogs I am not able to answer all the questions by myself. I would pray to God and seek His help. Thoughts accurately related to the questions soon come to my mind. I put them in words and become the answer to the complicated questions.
Picture posted by Dr. Jockers
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https://drjockers.com/14-ways-reduce-anxiety-naturally/

 

Dear Lord, Please help us not to forget that Jesus is around although He is invisible to us. We may not see Jesus physically, but help us to know Him through His goodness. Increase our faith in you and teach us how ro listen to you effectively. Help us to pray and read the Bible so that our faith and trust in you change from 'hope-so' to a 'know-so' with confident and assurance, without doubt.<br>You know how difficult it is for us to believe in you through faith without any physical evidence for us to see. We ask that you would provide these evidences in some forms that help us increases our faith and trust in You.<br>Through Lord Jesus Christ we pray. Amen!
PHOTO: "Dear Lord, Please help us not to forget that Jesus is around although He is invisible to us. We may not see Jesus physically, but help us to know Him through His goodness. Increase our faith in you and teach us how to listen to you effectively. Help us to pray and read the Bible so that our faith and trust in you change from 'hope-so' to a 'know-so' with confident and assurance, without doubt.
You know how difficult it is for us to believe in you through faith without any physical evidence for us to see. We ask that you would provide these evidences in some forms that help us increases our faith and trust in You.
Through Lord Jesus Christ we pray. Amen!
"
Picture posted by Marie Roche Taux on Tuesday, 02 August 2016 at 20:52
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http://deusdevivos.blogspot.com/2016/08/sobre-o-mar-e-terra.html


Reflection - Intimacy with Christ - Listening to Him
Question fron Source (book): "Finding rest for the soul", Chapter Seven, Question 1, Page 120.
By Robert M. Solomon, Bishop of the Methodist Church in Singapore from 2000 - 2012




Reference
[1] From "Finding rest for the soul" Responding to Jesus' Invitation in Matthew 11:28-29, Copyright © 2016 by Robert M. Solomon, ISBN 978-1-62707-709-5, Part III: LEARN FROM ME, Chapter Seven "Learning from Jesus: Intimacy with Christ", Page 110-113.

[2] Jack Wellman, How to Increase Your Faith, https://www.whatchristianswanttoknow.com/how-to-increase-your-faith/

[28] Francois Fenelon, Christian Perfection: Devotional Reflections on the Christian Life (Bloomington, Ml: Bethany House Publishers, 1976).


New International Version (NIV), Holy Bible, New International Version®, NIV® Copyright ©1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc.® Used by permission. All rights reserved worldwide.


Exodus 33:18 - https://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=Exodus+33%3A18&version=NIV


Exodus 33:19 - https://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=Exodus+33%3A19&version=NIV

Exodus 33:20 - https://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=Exodus+33%3A20&version=NIV

Exodus 33:23 - https://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=Exodus+33%3A23&version=NIV

Exodus 34:6-7 - https://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=Exodus+34%3A6-7&version=NIV

Hebrews 1:1-2 - https://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=Hebrews+1%3A1-2&version=NIV

Hebrews 11:27 - https://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=Hebrews+11%3A27&version=NIV

John 20:27 - https://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=John+20%3A27&version=NIV

Luke 8:8 - https://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=Luke+8%3A8&version=NIV

Luke 8:18 - https://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=Luke+8%3A18&version=NIV

Matthew 11:15 - https://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=Matthew+11%3A15&version=NIV

Matthew 11:28-29 - https://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=Matthew+11%3A28-29&version=NIV

Matthew 11:28-30 - https://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=Matthew+11%3A28-30&version=NIV

Revelation 2:7; 11, 17, 29; 3:6, 13, 22 - https://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=Revelation+2%3A7%3B+11%2C+17%2C+29%3B+3%3A6%2C+13%2C+22&version=NIV

Romans 10:17 - https://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=Romans+10%3A17&version=NIV