Tuesday, July 31, 2012


Years ago I attended a small college in Upstate New York near Buffalo. That year, New York Christian Institute consisted of 22 students and a handful of faculty. I was fortunate enough to be able to sing with the traveling ensemble for the year.

Eli Reyes was our faithful and talented leader and I must add, a patient man. We didn’t have recorded music, sheet music, or the internet. Just Eli and his ability to teach us a piece of music. Upon arrival to ensemble practice, Eli would begin the process of teaching the song, harmonies, and how the music would be presented.

Decal - borrowed image from Nate
On many occasions I was thankful for my previous years of sightseeing and ear training classes. These skills proved to be valuable during rehearsals.

While this particular skill was fine tuned to help with this particular learning experience, I’ve been able to use the concepts in other areas of my life.

Listening was extremely important during these sessions and it’s turned out, that listening has become even more important in my day-to-day life. It makes a difference in my spiritual life as well. This is what I’ve learned about listening.

Israel was given the choice between life or death and listening to God. Putting His words into practice was the key. In Deuteronomy 30:19-20a (NIV), Moses shared their choices with Israel. “This day I call heaven and earth as witnesses against you that I have set before you life and death, blessings and curses. Now choose life, so that you and your children may live and you may love the Lord your God, listen to his voice and hold fast to him. For the Lord is your life…”

For Israel, listening was part of living. Holding onto what they heard was even more important. It is the same for us.

James reminds us, “Do not merely listen to the word, and so deceive yourselves. Do what it says.” (James 1:22 – NIV) We must implement what we’ve heard and learned in order to gain the life God is so willing to lavish upon us.

So what are we listening for? Peter spoke of the One who fulfilled this prophecy from Deuteronomy 18:18-19 (NIV) “For Moses said, ‘The Lord your God will raise up for you a prophet like me from among your own people; you must listen to everything he tells you. Anyone who does not listen to him will be completely cut off from among his people.’”

We are listening to all that Jesus had to say. We are reading Scripture to hear the words Jesus spoke. And why not listen to His words? I find that when I listen to God’s Word being read, I hear ideas and concepts that I do not read. It has been a great tool for me.

I love Jesus’ words in John 10:27-28 (NIV). “My sheep listen to my voice; I know them, and they follow me. I give them eternal life, and they shall never perish; no one can snatch them out of my hand.”

We must know Jesus’ voice so well, that even in the darkest places of our lives, we hear His voice and area able to follow Him. When everything else is blurred, blackened, or faded, His voice can be heard.

Again, reading, studying, and knowing God’s Scripture is how we listen to Jesus’ voice. How we know His voice and are able to follow Him.

Those days at NYCI are etched in my memory. I am thankful for the professors and faculty who gave so much of their lives to teach a small handful of young people in Upstate New York.

Repeating what Eli taught during those rehearsals prepared me to be able to repeat other thoughts, facts, and ideas I’ve learned through the years, especially from God’s Word.

What are you able to repeat? Are you able to share Jesus’ words with others? I pray that you are. We are called to do so. But, we can only share what we’ve learned as we listen. Are you listening?

Grace and peace be yours in abundance,


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