Slow Down and Listen

Sharon Jaynes A Sudden Glory 25 Comments

Summer is the perfect time to slow down and listen. I pray that you will have some time to relax, recharge, and allow God to restore your soul in the next few weeks. Today’s blog is what God showed me one day about what I miss when I’m in a constant state of hectivity.  (That’s my new made up word for today!)

One summer I went to a famous art museum. I recall strolling down the aisles, quickly glancing at first one masterpiece and then another. Finally, I decided to stop and look at one particular painting. I don’t even remember which one it was.

The more I looked at the painting, the more I began to see. It was dark on one side and grew lighter on the other. I noticed the expressions on the faces, the longing of a child, the pain of a man, the approaching cloud in the sky, the hues of the clothes, a barefoot, a torn robe, a clenched fist. A story began to unfold before my eyes and it was if I were beginning to see into the heart of the artist.

This reminded me of reading the Bible. It’s like perusing an art gallery. Sometimes I do it quickly, never really stopping to see what the artist intended. And…I miss the story. Like walking briskly through an art gallery, sometimes I grab the Bible and read a few verses before running out the door in the morning or closing my eyes at night. I wonder if I’m the only one. Do you ever do the same?

But God’s Word is a masterpiece, and He speaks to us through every stroke of the writer’s pen. Oh the treasures stored on each page just waiting to be discovered…if we’ll just slow down enough to hear Him speak.

The Hebrew word for Bible is mikra, which means “the calling out of God.” He calls out to us from the pages and speaks to us through the words. The Bible is amazingly profound and yet simple enough for a child to understand. The more time we spend in the Scriptures, the more God will reveal the truths within.

The Bible tells us that the Scriptures are alive. John calls Scripture “the word of life” (I John 1:1). Peter calls Scripture the “living and enduring word of God” (I Peter 1:23).  “For the word of God is living and active. Sharper than any double-edge sword, it penetrates even to dividing soul and spirit, joints and marrow; it judges the thoughts and attitudes of the heart”   (Hebrews 4:12).

No matter how long we live, no matter how many times we read through the Bible, God will continue to speak to us through the pages of His Word. His Words are living and bring us life!

So here’s my summer challenge to us all. Slow down. Let’s not read the Bible to just check something off of our to-do list or to stick to a reading plan. Ponder one verse if you need to. Discover the story. Listen to the Artist speak through the pages.

Dear Lord, I pray that You will give us the Spirit of wisdom and revelation, so that we may know You better and so that the eyes of our hearts may be enlightened in order that we may know the hope to which You have called us, the riches of Your glorious inheritance in the saints, and Your incomparably great power for us who believe” (Ephesians 1:17-19). I pray that the eyes of our hearts will be open to see You through the pages of the Bible and hear Your voice in each and every word. In Jesus’ Name, Amen

What is one thing you have sensed God speak to your heart over the past few weeks? (I treasure your comments. It makes me feel that I’m not sitting here alone!)

 

A-Sudden-Glory_Sharon-JaynesI want to hear God, to see God, to experience His presence in my daily life. Don’t you? That’s why I wrote A Sudden Glory: God’s Lavish Response to Your Ache for Something More. For one year I pondered the verse, “In Him we live and move and have our being” (Acts 17:28). What does that mean? How can my life be a fluid movement of living and moving in Christ? How can I experience the majestic in the middle of the mundane? If you want to learn more about how to experience God’s presence, not as a once in a lifetime occurrence, but on a daily basis, then this book is for you! It also comes with a Bible study guide for those who want to go deeper.

 

And for you married or hope to be married, check out the new The Praying Wives Club! Join women all around the world as we learn, grow, and pray for our husbands.

Comments 25

  1. My church has gone through a huge crisis with then entire pastoral and ministry staff being let go. The elders are in search for a new senior pastor and the ministry staff. We do have a temporary one and he is wonderful.The old staff have started a new ministry and I love parts of it but believe that God has told me to remain in my church, that He has a plan for us. It is hard as so many of the people I love have left. I remind myself each day to really listen for and to God, not my heart.

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  2. Life has a way of piling on numerous things that require our attention at seemingly inconvenient times. I was in one of those times while volunteering to share Bible stories with preschoolers during VBS. Every day was a mad dash to get supplies set-up and myself prepared at the last minute. Not a mode of operation with which I’m comfortable! One day, I had a tiny bit of available time and read ahead to the next story. That night at VBS I inadvertently added an activity from the next day’s lesson that put me in a time crunch all evening long. The lesson? God supplying manna to the Israelites in the wilderness, providing just what was needed for that day! I laughed at myself for my arrogance in thinking that I was the one responsible for what these dear little hearts came to understand about God. He was the One speaking to their hearts, as well as mine.

  3. Dear Sharon, you are not sitting there alone. I too am hearing our Lord say that the hectivity of my life has got to cease. When life goes from full to hectic I begin the worry and fret and fail to see how He is working. God is always doing so much more than we can see especially if I don’t take time to be still before Him. Thanks for the reminder.

  4. Oh friend, indeed you are not alone. I go so fast and make myself so busy- what I’m busy doing …I have no idea really. Today I am going to slow down and try to sit with God and just be.
    He has been reminding me lately that when people die they are often buried in special suits with no pockets. Hmmm. What we value here on earth – our stuff. It’s all just stuff…

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  5. Such a timely word! As a wife, mother of 2 toddlers, a full-time high school job, a part-time job, a part- time student, I often feel overwhelmed! I’m always trying to stay ahead of all of the responsibilities! What a great reminder to slow down and listen!! Thank you for sharing!!

  6. Love the encouragement to slow down and study God the great artist. Thank you for being so transparent. Many times while reading the Bible I am reading through not really taking the time to meditate. This fall our ladies group in precepts will be studying Hebrews. So timely for the verse Hebrews 4:12. God is a good good Father.

  7. He is faithful. Thats what this whole year has been about. His faithfulness. I’ve seen it many times this year. Praise God He is faithful.

  8. God is saying- thoughts- heart- words of my mouth. How the Bible can shape our thought life- which shapes the posture of our hearts which in turn shapes the words of our mouth. Lord Jesus- please help me “take every thought captive” to you.

  9. Dear Sharon, the words used, written the way they were had me stop, in my hectivity. I sense God drawing me to receive more oil to be ready and yet what I read, I haven’t retained . So, it is clear, time is the precious factor. Truly seeing, sensing, listening. I am thankful for even the time it took to be honest enough to write to you. We are in this together and isn’t He good to be so patient. God bless you today and always! Keep writing for Him and all of us!

  10. Thank you Sharon for that timely devotion. I am, at times reading the Word because I must and not spending the time listening to what God is saying to ME through it. Thank you for the reminder. I have to slow down and listen.

  11. A great article. I love the way you compared scripture to studying a fine piece of art as opposed to glancing at it and passing by. Wonderfully said!!!

  12. Thank you Sharon for this today. Summer is a tough season for me and right now I’m struggling with reading my Bible. I’m really missing those loved ones who have gone to be with the Lord – my son, my sister, my mother. I’m trying to rest in God’s love for me but at times I feel like I’m walking around with a gaping hole in my heart. I look forward to receiving these emails from you as they always come at a time when I need them the most. Thank you so much!! God Bless You!!

    Sharon

  13. The thing I’ve been hearing centers on Heb. 4:12 the parting of soul and spirit. I was struggling with my internal emotional reaction to a couple situations and how un-Christlike they were. It took a day or two to come to terms with them and gain control. It just frustrates and bothers me when I react like that and the things I’d like to say or do. The Holy Spirit brought that scripture to mind and gave me the mental picture of a flag on a pole. The pole being my spirit/heart strengthened by His Spirit and firmly cemented in Christ unmoved. My thoughts, emotions etc are the flag. He very pointedly said I know the difference between your flag flapping in whatever wind is blowing and where your heart/spirit stand firm. It gave me great peace to realize this, that He knows my initial reaction(flag flapping) is not the same as my final response(pole unmoved) and I neither surprise or distress Him.

  14. Thank you for sharing this today! It was just what I needed to read! I have been constantly going for the past 3 weeks and have fleetingly read the word and truly meditated on its message.

  15. It seems as if God is intentionally pointing something out to me, Sharon. Through your blog today, a radio program I heard during my lunch drive and even my own thoughts, God is impressing something on me. I’ve been so looking forward to the day when I retire (I’m 62, but it could be anytime now) so that I can truly spend time studying His Word. Don’t get me wrong – I’m reading through His Word this year again – this time with the help of my Read Scripture and YouVersion apps. I open His Word every morning. But as you said above, sometimes I think my mind is intent on getting it done more than truly listening. One thing I do think I’ll do when I retire is study Greek so that I can understand more of the nuances. But for right now, I think God is saying – “Don’t wait for ‘then’ to get the most out of My Word to you, Debbie. Pour yourself into NOW as you read.” Thank you, Sharon!

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      When God really wants me to get something, it seems like I hear it 3 times in 3 different ways. Sounds like He’s doing that with you too!

  16. I’m not sure where I ever even received the notion that sitting still was a bad thing. It’s something I have battled for years- especially being a stay at home mom. I worry about anyone thinking I’m lazy. I never want to be caught by my kids or husband, sitting, when they come home. The funny thing is, my husband has told me numerous times he would rather see that, and for me to have energy to enjoy his company in the evening, than to see me running around like a chicken with my head cut off trying to check things off my to-do list. I’m slowly learning to implement quiet time and meditation in my life as I’m getting older. The benefits have been amazing. I’m tired of the “hectivity” (awesome new word!) and desire a more peaceful life focused on the Lord and what is truly important. I love your emails Sharon. I always look forward to reading them.💗

  17. God has been urging me to APPRECIATE and ACKNOWLEDGE. I’m learning to better appreciate my husband, children, mom, siblings, extended family, friends, home, ministry, work, nature and surroundings in this beautiful world, and to verbally acknowledge my love for family, friends, God and His creation. This journey inspires and encourages me!

  18. I love your word “hectivity”! I somehow read this devotion through “Girlfriends” first. Both good. … It’s not as personal there.
    I love your ministry, and I love that you are a human taking us with you on your journey with God. We get to go to DC this summer: first time for our family: and I will remember this devotion, of taking in the story of the images I see. The people bustling on the sidewalk, the couple in the gift shop speaking to each other in another language, the relics from our country’s history.
    Hebrews 4 was a verse you mentioned. That was the main point God had wanted me to get out of the Girlfriends devotion. I am searching helplessly for direction, and knowing God’s word can separate truth from feelings is exactly what I needed. Then, I saw your friendly email. I had slowed down enough to enjoy and soak in the lesson of slowing and soaking in the midst of (because of, in spite of, instead of) the hectivity that I’ve tangled myself in.
    God bless you, Sharon!

  19. Goodmorning every one. Amen ephesians 1:17-19. Say it 🙏 pray it drink it up soak it up God bless u all!

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