Posts Tagged ‘Art of Listening’

Quick to hear, slow to speak, slow to anger

May 25, 2017

James 1-19

In the Verse of the Day for May 25, 2017 we find further directives for Godly people:

James 1:19 (AMP)

Understand this, my beloved brothers and sisters. Let everyone be quick to hear [be a careful, thoughtful listener], slow to speak [a speaker of carefully chosen words and], slow to anger [patient, reflective, forgiving];

In reflecting on this verse of the Day, I divided the instructions into three essential commands for believers and added a poem related to each topic.

Be quick to hear [a ready listener],

The first part of the verse in the Amplified Bible mentions hearing in light of being “a ready listener,” implying a difference between “hearing” and “listening” which are not synonymous. Hearing is perceiving sound waves that are received on the ear. On the other hand, listening involves interpreting and evaluating what is being said with intent to respond.  Hearing is passive, whereas listening should be active. Keith Davis comments, “Hearing is with the ears; listening is with the mind.”

This discussion also brings to mind that listening is an art that is perfected over time by conscious, consistent effort to improve, especially in a spiritual context as we learn to listen to God. As we continually place our ears near to the lips of God, we develop our proficiency in listening to hear the Master’s voice, as we practice in order to perfect this art:

The Art of Listening

God has something to say to you,

God has something to say.

Listen, Listen, Pay close attention.

God has something to say.

Children’s Song

     

The Lord GOD has given Me
the tongue of the learned,

That I should know how to speak
a word in season to him who is weary.
He awakens Me morning by morning,
He awakens My ear to hear as the learned.

The Lord GOD has opened My ear;
And I was not rebellious,
Nor did I turn away.

Isaiah 50:4-5

 

Listen, listen, and learn: hear with the inner ear.

Tune your ears to hear in the center of your heart.

Understand to listen is not same as to hear.

To listen intently and to learn is an art,

Practiced and perfected day by day.

As you hear and listen in the center of your heart,

I perform and bring to pass each word that I say.

In my unfolding Kingdom, you too have a part,

For to walk in love is the more excellent way.

Partake of my promises and consume my Word.

As precious as life-giving water, hold it dear

And do my will, proving all things that you have heard.

Listen intently and obey: Perfect this art.

Listen, listen, and learn: hear with the inner ear.

This message reinforces the Irish Proverb: “God gave us two ears and one mouth, so we ought to listen twice as much as we speak.”

Be slow to speak [a speaker of carefully chosen words . . .]

Throughout the Scriptures believers are exhorted to be mindful of the words they speak.

Ephesians 4:29 in the Message Bible states:

Watch the way you talk. Let nothing foul or dirty come out of your mouth. Say only what helps, each word a gift.

We are encouraged not only to watch what goes into the mouth but watch what comes out of the mouth

Paul further reminds us: Let your words always be seasoned with salt that they may minister grace to the hearers.

We must be very concerned about the words that we speak since “life and death” is in the power of the tongue.

The Power of the Tongue

But the tongue can no man tame;

it is an unruly evil, full of deadly poison

James 3:8

 

We know the tongue has power to generate life,

To produce seeds that will eventually take root

And will bring forth two very different kinds of fruit:

Love, joy and peace or envy, confusion and strife

Can build or destroy a brother, a friend, a wife.

With his hand, the helmsman easily turns great ships,

So we covenant to guard the gates of our lips,

For words can heal or pierce the heart as a sharp knife.

We desire life and long to see good all our days,

So we speak the truth and refrain from speaking lies.

Like Jesus, we want our tongue to speak what God says.

We seek to be wise but never in our own eyes.

Pressing toward the finish, the coming of God’s kingdom,

We seek not just a word but the spirit of wisdom.

Be slow to anger [patient, reflective, forgiving];

This last section brings to mind encouragement to change. Where we once were quick to respond angrily or impulsively, we should now strive to become more patient, reflective and forgiving. This section of the verse causes us to recall that as we change our attitude, we can change our world. We can become “change agents” who by our very presence can impact where we interact with others. As agents of change we transform our environment; we give no offense and remove every stumbling block. We have salt in ourselves, and make peace with one another. All in all, we can make a difference as we follow

A Different Approach 

2 Corinthians 5:14-17                                 

Because of Christ’s undying love, we choose to love

Based on the love of God, not on what we can see.

Though blindsided by sin with a distorted view,

Through the lens of God’s love we now have a new creation reality.

We longer know Christ or anyone from a human viewpoint

And refuse to imprison others because of their last offense.

God in Christ forgave us each time we would fail or disappoint.

Each day provides one more fresh start, another day to commence:

The old life is gone; a new life has begun so that we

Can take a different approach: To love, see, and know differently.

Indeed, James 1:19 offers sound advice for us to heed, so aptly stated in the more familiar rendering in the King James Version:

Wherefore, my beloved brethren, let every man be swift to hear, slow to speak, slow to wrath:

Taylor McCall offers a musical rendering of James 1:19-27 from which the Verse of the Day is taken.

 

The art of listening

February 1, 2017

deuteronomy-6-4-5

The Verse of the Day for February 1, 2017 is found in Deuteronomy 6:4-5 (New Living Translation):

“Listen, O Israel! The Lord is our God, the Lord alone. And you must love the Lord your God with all your heart, all your soul, and all your strength.

This passage is part of the Shema, a daily prayer spoken in the Jewish tradition. The Hebrew word Shema, which means “hear,” begins this most important request from God in verse 4. The entire prayer includes verses 4-9.  The New Living Translation renders the word shema  “Listen”:

“Listen, O Israel! The Lord is our God, the Lord alone.And you must love the Lord your God with all your heart, all your soul, and all your strength. And you must commit yourselves wholeheartedly to these commands that I am giving you today. Repeat them again and again to your children. Talk about them when you are at home and when you are on the road, when you are going to bed and when you are getting up. Tie them to your hands and wear them on your forehead as reminders. Write them on the doorposts of your house and on your gates.

The opening imperative “Listen” brings to mind a discussion in a public speaking class taught at Carolina College of Biblical Studies. Most amazingly, the textbook for the class, The Art of Public Speaking, contained a chapter on the importance of listening as an essential part of the speech communication process. The presentation called “The Art of Listening” included this poem:

The Art of Listening

God has something to say to you,

God has something to say.

Listen, Listen, Pay close attention.

God has something to say.

Children’s Song

                              

Listen, listen, my children: hear with the inner ear.

Tune your ears to hear in the center of your heart.

I will whisper cherished secrets as you come near.

To listen intently and obey is an art,

Practiced and perfected day by day.

As you hide my Word in the center of your heart,

I perform and bring to pass each word that I say.

In my unfolding Kingdom, you too have a part,

For to walk in love is the more excellent way.

Partake of my promises and consume my Word.

As precious as life-giving water, hold it dear

And do my will, proving all things that you have heard.

Listen intently and obey: Perfect this art.

Listen, listen, my children: hear with the inner ear.

This accompanying illustration further reinforces the message found in the Verse of the Day

HEART

HEAR

EAR

 ART

H*E*A*R*T

The music group Seeds Family Worship offers “Teach them” (Deuteronomy 6:4-7) to close our comments on the Shema:

To serve, to fear, to obey, to listen, and to cling

October 9, 2016

deuteronomy_13-4-nasb

Revised and re-posted below is the Verse of the Day for October 9, 2016 taken from Deuteronomy 13:4 (NLT):

Serve only the Lord your God and fear him alone. Obey his commands, listen to his voice, and cling to him.

This verse contains directives to the Children of Israel expressed in the form of five verbs:

To serve, to fear, to obey, to listen, and to cling: in a similar way these action words could be applied to our lives today as believers.

To serve:

Deuteronomy 6:13 (Amplified Bible) reiterates the same message that the people of God are to serve Him alone:

You shall fear [only] the Lord your God; and you shall serve Him [with awe-filled reverence and profound respect] and swear [oaths] by His name [alone].

When Jesus Christ was tempted of the Devil in the wilderness, the Savior’s response came from this very passage in Deuteronomy 6:13:

Matthew 4:10 (Amplified Bible)

Then Jesus said to him, “Go away, Satan! For it is written and forever remains written, ‘You shall worship the Lord your God, and serve Him only.’”

To fear:

Regarding the fear of the Lord, Job 28:28 (NLT) offers this reminder:

And this is what he says to all humanity: ‘The fear of the Lord is true wisdom; to forsake evil is real understanding.’”

The Psalmist echoes a similar sentiment in Psalm 111:10 (NLT)

Fear of the Lord is the foundation of true wisdom. All who obey his commandments will grow in wisdom. Praise him forever!

Amplified Bible also connects the fear of the Lord with obedience:

The [reverent] fear of the Lord [that leads to obedience and worship] is a fountain of life, So that one may avoid the snares of death.

To obey:

Regarding this verb, Deuteronomy 11:22 offers these words of wisdom:

“Be careful to obey all these commands I am giving you. Show love to the Lord your God by walking in his ways and holding tightly to him.

To listen:

In addition, the people of God are to “listen to His voice:

Deuteronomy 13:18 tells us:

“The Lord your God will be merciful only if you listen to his voice and keep all his commands that I am giving you today, doing what pleases him.

The expression “listen to his voice” brings to mind the following poem which encourages believers to perfect listening as a highly developed art:

The Art of Listening

God has something to say to you,

God has something to say.

Listen, Listen, Pay close attention.

God has something to say.

Children’s Song

 

The Lord GOD has given me

The tongue of the learned

That I should know how to speak

A word in season to him who is weary.

He awakens me morning by morning,

He awakens my ear

To hear as the learned.

The Lord GOD has opened my ear;    

And I was not rebellious,

Nor did I turn away.

Isaiah 50:4-5

 

Listen, listen, children: hear with the inner ear.

Tune your ears to hear in the center of your heart.

I will whisper cherished secrets as you come near.

To listen intently and obey is an art,

Practiced and perfected day by day.

As you hide my Word in the center of your heart,

I perform and bring to pass every word I say.

In my unfolding Kingdom, you too have a part,

For to walk in love is the more excellent way.

Partake of my promises and consume my Word.

As precious as life-giving water, hold it dear

And do my will, proving all things that you have heard.

Listen intently and obey: Perfect this art.

Listen, listen, children: hear with the inner ear.

To cling:

The final verb means to stick to or to stick with, stay close, cleave, and keep close.  It has also been translated to follow closely, join to, overtake, and catch. As believers, all of our energy and efforts should be toward pursuing and adhering to the precepts of the Lord, our God.

Deuteronomy 10:20 provides another directive to fear and to cling:

You must fear the Lord your God and worship him and cling to him. Your oaths must be in his name alone.

The Psalmist makes this statement:

Psalm 119:31 (NLT):

I cling to your laws. Lord, don’t let me be put to shame!

We conclude our discussion with a musical reference to the final verb:

“Cling to Christ” by Sovereign Grace Music

 

 

 

To serve, to fear, to obey, to listen, and to cling.

October 9, 2015

Deuteronomy_13-4Verse of the Day for October 9, 2015 is found in Deuteronomy 13:4 (NLT):

Serve only the Lord your God and fear him alone. Obey his commands, listen to his voice, and cling to him.

This verse contains directives to the Children of Israel expressed in the form of five verbs:To serve, to fear, to obey, to listen, and to cling. In a similar way these action words could be applied to our lives today.

The first verb is “serve.”

Deuteronomy 6:13 (Amplified Bible) reiterates the same message that the people of God are to serve Him alone:

You shall fear [only] the Lord your God; and you shall serve Him [with awe-filled reverence and profound respect] and swear [oaths] by His name [alone].

When Jesus Christ was tempted of the Devil in the wilderness, the Savior’s response came from Deuteronomy 6:13:

Matthew 4:10 (Amplified Bible)

Then Jesus said to him, “Go away, Satan! For it is written and forever remains written, ‘You shall worship the Lord your God, and serve Him only.’”

Regarding to fear, as in to have the fear of the Lord, Job 28:28 (NLT) offers this reminder:

And this is what he says to all humanity: ‘The fear of the Lord is true wisdom; to forsake evil is real understanding.’”

The Psalmist echoes a similar sentiment in Psalm 111:10 (NLT)

Fear of the Lord is the foundation of true wisdom. All who obey his commandments will grow in wisdom. Praise him forever!

Amplified Bible also connects the fear of the Lord with obedience:

The [reverent] fear of the Lord [that leads to obedience and worship] is a fountain of life, So that one may avoid the snares of death.

Regarding the verb to obey, Deuteronomy 11:22 offers these words of wisdom:

“Be careful to obey all these commands I am giving you. Show love to the Lord your God by walking in his ways and holding tightly to him.

In addition the people of God are to “listen to His voice:

Deuteronomy 13:18 tells us:

“The Lord your God will be merciful only if you listen to his voice and keep all his commands that I am giving you today, doing what pleases him.

The expression “listen to his voice” brings to mind the following poem which encourages believers to perfect listening as a highly developed art:

The Art of Listening                          

God has something to say to you,

God has something to say.

Listen, Listen, Pay close attention.

God has something to say.

Children’s Song

 

 

The Lord GOD has given me

The tongue of the learned

That I should know how to speak

A word in season to him who is weary.

He awakens me morning by morning,

He awakens my ear

To hear as the learned.

The Lord GOD has opened my ear;    

And I was not rebellious,

Nor did I turn away.

Isaiah 50:4-5

Listen, listen, my son: hear with the inner ear.

Tune your ears to hear in the center of your heart.

I will whisper cherished secrets as you come near.

To listen intently and obey is an art,

Practiced and perfected day by day.

As you hide my Word in the center of your heart,

I perform and bring to pass each word that I say.

In my unfolding Kingdom, you too have a part,

For to walk in love is the more excellent way.

Partake of my promises and consume my Word.

As precious as life-giving water, hold it dear

And do my will, proving all things that you have heard.

Listen intently and obey: Perfect this art.

Listen, listen, my son: hear with the inner ear.

The final verb is cling where Deuteronomy 10:20 provides another directive to fear and to cling:

You must fear the Lord your God and worship him and cling to him. Your oaths must be in his name alone.

The Psalmist also  makes this statement:

Psalm 119:31(NLT):

I cling to your laws. Lord, don’t let me be put to shame!

In summary, the Verse of the Day encompasses five powerful verbs that God commands His people to apply to their lives: To serve, to fear, to obey, to listen, and to cling.

We conclude with Geoff Moore and Steven Curtis Chapman offering a song about listening to the voice of God: “Listen to our Hearts”:

Hearing vs. listening: The art of listening

August 2, 2013

The Verse of the Day for August 2, 2014 is found in James 1:22. The same verse was the basis for a previous blog entry which I have re-posted below with the addition of a contemporary Bible Memory Song from JumpStart3 based on that verse.

James 1 22

The Verse for the Day from James 1:22 brought to mind a number of thoughts regarding the distinction between hearing and listening, as I thought of a discussion on “listening” in the public speaking class that I am currently teaching.

In discussing the communication process, we noted the difference between “hearing” and “listening.” Hearing and listening are not synonymous. Hearing is “the process by which sound waves are received on the ear; it is the sense by which sound is perceived.” We hear the ambient sounds that surround us without really paying any attention to the fan on the computer or the air conditioning or the ticking of the clock. On the other hand, listening is the act of interpreting and evaluating what is being said; it is an active activity that involves receiving, deciphering, and perceiving a message with intent to respond.  Hearing is passive, whereas listening should be active. Keith Davis comments, “Hearing is with the ears; listening is with the mind.”

In Chinese calligraphy, the character for “listen” consists of pictures of the ear, the eye, and the heart, illustrated in this way:

listen

The discussion regarding hearing and listening also brought to mind that listening is an art that is perfected over time by conscious, consistent effort to improve. This is especially true in a spiritual context whereby believers must learn to listen to God. We find that God is always speaking; indeed, God is never not speaking. As we continually place our ears near to the lips of God, we develop our proficiency in listening to hear the Master’s voice, as we practice in order to perfect this art:

The Art of Listening         

God has something to say to you,

 God has something to say.

 Listen, Listen, Pay close attention.                                                                                                

 God has something to say.

 Children’s Song

 

The Lord GOD has given Me

 The tongue of the learned,

 That I should know how to speak

A word in season to him who is weary. 

He awakens Me morning by morning,

He awakens My ear

To hear as the learned.

 

The Lord GOD has opened My ear;

And I was not rebellious,

Nor did I turn away.

Isaiah 50:4-5

 

Listen, listen, my son: hear with the inner ear.

Tune your ears to hear in the center of your heart.

I will whisper cherished secrets as you come near.

To listen intently and obey is an art,

Practiced and perfected day by day.

As you hide my Word in the center of your heart,

I perform and bring to pass each word that I say.

In my unfolding Kingdom, you too have a part,

For to walk in love is the more excellent way.

Partake of my promises and consume my Word.

As precious as life-giving water, hold it dear

And do my will, proving all things that you have heard.

Listen intently and obey: Perfect this art.

Listen, listen, my son: hear with the inner ear.

Although I use this poem when I teach the section on listening in the oral communication classes that I teach, quite providentially,  I wrote the poem years before I started teaching these classes. When I first read the poem at a Bible study, someone pointed out that at the center of the piece is the word “heart” which encompasses hear, ear, and art, all of which reinforce the message, as illustrated in this way:

Hear with the heart

Without a doubt we must strive each day to become more proficient at developing the “art of listening.”

Listen to a contemporary Scripture Memory Song of James 1:22 offered by JumpStart3:

 

The Art of Listening

January 6, 2012

Without question, there is a difference between "hearing" and "listening." Ask any parent, including God, the ultimate Father.

Recently while teaching an oral communication class, I recognized the application of the principles of “listening” in a spiritual context. Part of the discussion centered on “hearing” vs. “listening,” which are not synonymous. According to author Hamilton Gregory, hearing is the process by which sound waves are received on the ear; the sense by which sound is perceived. Hearing is passive. In contrast, listening should be active. “Hearing is with the ears; listening is with the mind,” says Keith Davis.

Listening is defined as the act of interpreting and evaluating what is being said. Author and coach George Hendley, notes that research has shown we spend 70-85% of our business day communicating in one form or another.  Out of that time we usually spend 45% listening; 30% speaking; 16% reading and 9% writing.  Most people believe that they are good listeners. Hendley points out that one of the biggest challenges with listening is the illusion that it is being accomplished, but unfortunately most of us listen at only 25% of our potential.

An interesting piece of information regarding listening is found with Chinese calligraphy and the characters for the verb “to listen” which consists of pictures of the ear, the eye, and the heart.

In Chinese calligraphy the verb "to listen" involves more than just the ear but the eyes and most importantly, the heart.

As Christian believers we are very much concerned about hearing the voice of God and listening to hear what He has to say to us, both by the revealed Word of God or the Bible and by our personal relationship God via the Holy Spirit whereby we commune with God. We place our ears near to the lips of God and listen attentively as He speaks. Our desire is to perfect the art of listening when it comes to God. An art involves performing something over and over until you master whatever you are attempting to do. You practice until you excel to become an “artist” in whatever area you choose to develop. I poetically express my personal desire for more intimate communication with God and see God’s desire that I perfect “the art of listening” in this way:

The Art of Listening                           

God has something to say to you,

 God has something to say.

 Listen, Listen, Pay close attention.

 God has something to say.

                     Children’s Song

 

      The Lord GOD has given Me
   The tongue of the learned,

   That I should know how to speak
   A word in season to him who is weary.
   He awakens Me morning by morning,
   He awakens My ear
   To hear as the learned.


   The Lord GOD has opened My ear;
   And I was not rebellious,
   Nor did I turn away.

                        Isaiah 50:4-5

                                   

Listen, listen, my son: hear with the inner ear.

Tune your ears to hear in the center of your heart.

I will whisper cherished secrets as you come near.

To listen intently and obey is an art,

Practiced and perfected day by day.

As you hide my Word in the center of your heart,

I perform and bring to pass each word that I say.

In my unfolding Kingdom, you too have a part,

For to walk in love is the more excellent way.

Partake of my promises and consume my Word.

As precious as life-giving water, hold it dear

And do my will, proving all things that you have heard.

Listen intently and obey: Perfect this art.

Listen, listen, my son: hear with the inner ear.

 

After completing the poem, I wrote the word “heart” on the board and asked what is in the center. The response was “ear” and then someone pointed out that the first four letters of heart is the word “hear.” Someone also pointed out that “heart” ends with the word “art,” indicating that when consistently hear with the inner ear of your heart, the end is an art. What an incredible epiphany at about 9 o’clock in the morning! Click on the following to see what I mean.

HEART

To read other articles related to the “art of listening” click below:

http://www.examiner.com/examiner/x-20264-Columbus-Christian-Spirituality-Examiner~y2009m11d25-National-day-of-listening-and-the-art-of-listening

http://www.georgehendleypresents.com/general/articles.html

Inspired by I Samuel 3:9 “Speak, Lord. I am your servant and I am listening,”  this moving song makes a request: “Speak, Lord, Thy Servant Hears” in the following YouTube video:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wWuXTQDNKwE