What Do You See? What Do You Hear?

by Christine Sine

by June Friesen

Ezekiel 33:30-32 New Living Translation
30 “Son of man, your people talk about you in their houses and whisper about you at the doors. They say to each other, ‘Come on, let’s go hear the prophet tell us what the Lord is saying!’ 31 So my people come pretending to be sincere and sit before you. They listen to your words, but they have no intention of doing what you say. Their mouths are full of lustful words, and their hearts seek only after money. 32 You are very entertaining to them, like someone who sings love songs with a beautiful voice or plays fine music on an instrument. They hear what you say, but they don’t act on it!

Mark 10:50-52
50 Bartimaeus threw aside his coat, jumped up, and came to Jesus.
51 “What do you want me to do for you?” Jesus asked.
“My Rabbi,[a]” the blind man said, “I want to see!”
52 And Jesus said to him, “Go, for your faith has healed you.” Instantly the man could see, and he followed Jesus down the road.

Matthew 13:13-15 

13 That is why I use these parables,
For they look, but they don’t really see.
    They hear, but they don’t really listen or understand.
14 This fulfills the prophecy of Isaiah that says,
‘When you hear what I say, you will not understand.
When you see what I do, you will not comprehend.
15 For the hearts of these people are hardened, and their ears cannot hear,
and they have closed their eyes—
 so their eyes cannot see,
and their ears cannot hear,
 and their hearts cannot understand,
and they cannot turn to me and let me heal them.’

 Good morning my friends! Today I want to challenge us to think about preparing our hearts to have a ‘heart to heart meeting’ with Jesus.

This week a friend of mine shared a book with me written in 1952 and it holds treasures from the past. As you know I am one who likes to observe and give pause to nature especially so this prose titled Obsession grabbed my spirit:

Our Johnny Wren moved in today
And took possession.
Not that he’s so very big or strong,
It’s his obsession
That he was made
To fill the world with song.
And so he sings and sings and sings
The whole day long!

If by Thy grace, dear God,
My life could get possession
Of Johnny Wren’s obsession,
I, too, might take a bit of song
And fling it where the days are long,
Might fling it where some heart is aching,
Might fling it where some life is breaking!
So help me, God,
To get a like possession
To Johnny Wren’s obsession.
Locust Lodge

So what does this mean for you and for me?

As the passages I read from the New Testament I am challenged that there were people who wanted to see….and there were people who came and wanted to hear… this Jesus, this teacher sent from God yet their understanding seemed to be dimmed by the world around them.

If we go to the Psalms and look at a theme that reoccurs it is about singing to God. This morning we sang some songs that encouraged us to praise God…we also used our mouths to sing praises to Him. Again during our prayer time we gave praise to God for His abundant blessings.

But when we leave here today, when we get to work later today or tomorrow and/or the next day; when we get into our vehicles to go home, when we get home, when we get into the routine of life – will those praises still be on our lips or will there be grumblings, criticism, unkind, unloving, judgmental words that will flow willingly from our lips?

Let us read Psalm 96:

Sing a new song to the Lord! Let the whole earth sing to the Lord!
Sing to the Lord; praise his name.
Each day proclaim the good news that he saves.
Publish his glorious deeds among the nations.
    Tell everyone about the amazing things he does.
Great is the Lord! He is most worthy of praise! He is to be feared above all gods.
The gods of other nations are mere idols, but the Lord made the heavens!
Honor and majesty surround him; strength and beauty fill his sanctuary.
O nations of the world, recognize the Lord;
    recognize that the Lord is glorious and strong.
Give to the Lord the glory he deserves! Bring your offering and come into his courts. Worship the Lord in all his holy splendor.
    Let all the earth tremble before him.
10 Tell all the nations, “The Lord reigns!” The world stands firm and cannot be shaken. He will judge all peoples fairly.
11 Let the heavens be glad, and the earth rejoice!
    Let the sea and everything in it shout his praise!
12 Let the fields and their crops burst out with joy! Let the trees of the forest sing for joy 13 before the Lord, for he is coming! He is coming to judge the earth.
He will judge the world with justice, and the nations with his truth.

O to give praise to God like the birds……
O to trust God like the birds……
O to enjoy the life that one is given like the birds…..
O to sing and sing……
And the birds each has have their own unique song to sing…
They sing it with gusto no matter if it sounds like just one or two notes over and over gain…..
When blended with the other songs of their fellow birds
It becomes a choir of praise to God.

But then there are also the times when the birds give warning –
Their tunes change… there is an urgency……
There is a calling to be on guard…..there is the time to move….
And they will tend to the matter at hand to trust their Creator
To help them find that protection once again…..
Then they may well take that time to quiet their song for a while
As they rest in the quiet, nurture of their heavenly Father
Gaining the energy, wisdom, guidance and strength
To once again begin to sing a song of praise and thanksgiving to God their Creator, Ruler, Provider and King.

My friends, today can you and I too begin to sing/speak
The praise and blessings of God who is our Creator, Savior and King?
At this springtime, Lenten time…..
Can we pause and refresh our inner spirit and tune it to a new song,
A new song that will bring glory, honor and attention to God who is our Redeemer, Savior and King?
Can we take a lesson from God and His lovely creation of birds –
Will we take to heart the blessing of the birds’ songs/chorus
As we walk through the day?
Oh, we talk about and even quote the words of Jesus
When He reminds His followers to look at the birds and take a good look –
Do they worry about what they are going to eat tomorrow as they go to sleep tonight?
Do they worry about the cat who may be stalking them tomorrow as they go to sleep tonight?
Do they worry that you may look upon their nest tomorrow as they go to sleep tonight?
No….they have had the food necessary for today.
They have found the protection necessary for today.
They have built a safe nest/resting place for their family for today.
So for today they have sung praise to God, enjoyed their nourishment and protection –
Tomorrow they will awaken to once again praise God with their song and go about the day to meet their needs as God directs their lives.

So today here is my challenge for each one of us –
And yes our challenge is different than the bird
As well as each of our challenges are unique to us –
But our God is ONE God – He is the same God for you as He is for me –
He is the same God who created you, me as well as the birds –
And WOW – if He watches over the birds in the good and the bad –
He will do even more for you and me.

You know how I struggle here in this world
And when I am reminded to trust you it is really hard
Because you see I cannot help but see what my friend and/or neighbor has,
And I cannot but want to be so much like them –
You remind me that you will provide everything I need –
Yet somehow You and I do not seem to see ‘eye to eye’ on this score.
I know that many are the times that my focus is on making another dollar,
Getting that raise, getting that overtime on my check,
And I neglect to sit with you – and say thank you for what I do have and/or get.
And as I rush around from here to there and somewhere else –
I find myself forgetting that you are even with me –
I get caught up in the frustration and furry of the moment
And often times others would never dream that I am a ‘child of Yours’ as I claim to be.
I am approaching a time of preparation right now in my spirit, O God
Where I want to learn to be more aware of you in my daily walk;
I want to be able to somehow grasp what Jesus was teaching
When He said that you are so concerned about every need of the bird
BUT you are even more concerned about me and my needs.

And so here is my prayer today:

“God, in this time as I prepare in my heart – help me become mindful of the birds that are around me. Let me hear their songs pf praise to you. Let it inspire songs of praise in my heart as I become aware of your blessings to me. Let me hear also their songs that are of concern….trying to care for those you have placed within their care…as they seek to protect, even to the giving of their life, so others may live. Let me be able to place my complete trust in You as the birds are required to do knowing that nothing will happen to me outside of your plan. And God give me a voice to sing your praise…..so that others around me will also come to know you and to also know how to sing your praise. And may it be as I walk through this world in the next few weeks that I too will have my ears attune to hear words as I meet others, “I notice your peace, I notice your smile, I notice your caring spirit…..please, I want to know how it is that you know this presence that you share with the world as you walk through or by others.”

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