Shut Up and Listen to ME!!

Good morning. (Well, it was morning when I started.) Happy day after Thanksgiving! It is Friday, November 29, 2013.

Today is “Electronic Greetings Day.” I get the idea, here, but how many of us are “gun-shy” about opening e-cards? There have been a lot of virus scams perpetrated by those things. That being said, I can’t remember the last time I used an actual stamp to mail something. I pay most of my bills through my credit union’s web site now. The few that don’t go through there are withdrawn automatically, electronically, each month. My “Forever” stamps may very well last that long. 😀

Yesterday was totes amazeballs a really wonderful day! We had a great time visiting with my parents, along with Rachel and Justin. The food was amazing, and everything just went very well. We had a nice, easy trip both ways, and then just relaxed when we got home, watched some TV and ate some leftover ham and stuff. In a little while, we plan to cook breakfast for lunch today. I guess that would officially be “brunch,” wouldn’t it?

Today is the day that we decorate our house for Christmas. It’s a Bickleyhouse family tradition. We decorate the day after Thanksgiving. Never before. Occasionally, it winds up being a day or two later, especially if it is too cold and windy outside to put the outside lights up. But today is shaping up to be quite the beautiful day, I believe. So we should be getting that done later. I might even post some pictures.

Today’s birthdays are Amos Bronson Alcott, 1799, Christian Doppler, 1803, Louisa May Alcott (yes, Amos’s daughter), 1832, C.S. Lewis, 1898, Madeleine L’Engle, 1918, Minnie Minoso, 1922, Vin Scully, 1927, Diane Ladd, 1932, John Mayall, 1933, Chuck Mangione, 1940, Dennis Doherty, 1941, Felix Cavaliere, 1942, Ronnie Montrose, 1947, Garry Shandling, 1949, Howard Johnson (the baseball player), 1960, Andrew McCarthy, 1962, Don Cheadle, 1964, and Mariano Rivera, 1969.

A lot of good ones today. Madeleine L’Engle was an author, perhaps most famous for the series which brought us A Wrinkle In Time. She was also known for having great faith. I found this You Tube clip of her talking for a minute on prayer. It brought tears to my eyes. Check it out.


Ascribe to the LORD the glory due his name; bring an offering, and come into his courts! Psalm 96:8
Make your face shine upon your servant, and teach me your statutes. Psalm 119:135
I will give thanks to the LORD with my whole heart; I will recount all of your wonderful deeds. Psalm 9:1
There is none like you among the gods, O Lord, nor are there any works like yours. Psalm 86:8
The end of all things is at hand; therefore be self-controlled and sober-minded for the sake of your prayers. Above all, keep loving one another earnestly, since love covers a multitude of sins. 1 Peter 4:7-8

Today’s reading in A Year With God is “Listen Carefully to My Words.” The scripture reading is Job 13:1-6, 17.

“Behold, my eye has seen all this, my ear has heard and understood it. What you know, I also know; I am not inferior to you. But I would speak to the Almighty, and I desire to argue my case with God. As for you, you whitewash with lies; worthless physicians are you all. Oh that you would keep silent, and it would be your wisdom! Hear now my argument and listen to the pleadings of my lips. Keep listening to my words, and let my declaration be in your ears.”

Please note that the title of the reading is taken from the version quoted in the book, which is the NRSV. I quote from the ESV in my blog. The title of the reading came from verse 17, which says “Keep listening to my words” in the ESV.

Here we have a classic case of several people talking, but none listening to the other. Job is speaking again in chapter 13, once again answering the accusations of his “friends.” God has been silent the entire time. In fact, he doesn’t speak up until chapter 38. And when he speaks, he lets it roll! But, perhaps we can assume that, since these guys weren’t listening to each other, why bother interrupting them? Another thing to consider, though, is that there is a process here. A process of grieving, of working through pain. “Something about pain requires it to be fully expressed before healing occurs.” Job expresses this, but his “friends” do a pretty sorry job of listening. They are all full of their own importance, and quick to offer advice. In verse 5, Job essentially tells them to “shut up!” He chastises them for not listening. But, then, is he truly listening to what they are saying? God addresses all of them, once he starts talking.

The point here, thought, is that we need to be better listeners. I need to work on that. How many times have I, instead of listening to a person in conversation, been planning what I’m going to say next and completely miss what they say? We need to concentrate more on listening and less on talking. This can be applied to our prayers, as well. All too often I talk and talk and talk, telling God what I desire for him to do, and then, when I’m done talking, I just go on about my business, prayer time over. There should be some listening in there, too.

Father, I pray that you keep teaching me in this discipline of silence and listening. Make me a better listener, not only to other people, but to you, as well. When someone I know and love is in pain, keep my mouth shut until something needs to be spoken. May I simply be there for support, not trying to offer up advice that probably won’t be helpful, anyway. When I’m conversing with people, teach me to be quiet and listen. Once again, this comes back to my belief that what I have to say is more important than what anyone else might want to say. Help me to utterly dispense with that nonsense.

Lord, on this “black Friday,” I pray for humanity. I’ve witnessed videos of fights over televisions at Wal-Mart. I’ve seen stampedes of people when a store opened up. Lord, we need your help. I can’t say much else about that, I’m so disturbed. What have we done to the celebration of the birth of your Son?

I pray for the rest of this day. May we get some good rest today, as we really don’t have much planned. I pray for safety as we put up decorations on our house. May we remember, as we put up our Christmas tree later, what we are truly celebrating during this time. We aren’t just putting up pretty lights and garland and sparkly things. We are celebrating Jesus and family. As we place our ornaments on the tree tonight, we look back on 28 Christmases together. May we celebrate your grace and mercy today.

Know that the title of this blog contains sarcasm. It’s the way we think too often. I’m encouraging myself (along with the rest of us) to think differently. May I be the one to shut up and listen.

Grace and peace, friends.