The Making of a Man: Who You Listen To

Who is the person you listen to more than anyone else?  Bob Kesling (UT Radio Voice)?  Brad Nessler (ESPN)? Shepard Smith (FoxNews)? Your children?  Your wife?  Your boss?  Your co-workers?  Men, the voice you listen to more than anyone else is . . . your own; your own heart.  Throughout a day, no matter what anyone says to you, you always respond to it from your heart.  See, right now, you are already responding to what I have written!  This begs us as men to consider two truths.

You must not listen to your heart.

Jeremiah 17:9 says, The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately wicked: who can know it?  Just taking this passage at face value, what does it say about your heart?  Do you want to listen to that which is deceitful, full of lies, and desperately wicked?  Do you want to listen to a heart that you cannot fathom, understand, or explain?  Then, why do you listen to yourself?  I listen to myself because I like myself.  I am selfish.  I think I have it all figured out.  See there, I am deceived.  So that leads me to the next principle that is so needed.

You must speak the truth to your heart.

Proverbs 23:7 says, For as he thinks in his heart, so is he.   Instead of listening to myself, I must speak the truth to myself.  There are so many wonderful, life-changing, “keeping me on the right track,” truths from God’s Word that need to be uppermost in my mind and heart.  Here a few right out of Ephesians 1 and based upon my position in Christ:

  • Since Christ is the eternal expression of God’s greatest blessing, I am blessed forever in Christ with all spiritual blessings (3).
  • Since Christ is the Father’s eternally Chosen One, I am chosen in Christ; His forever (4).
  • Since Christ is the accepted and beloved Son of God, I am accepted in the beloved (6).
  • Since Christ is the full payment for my sin, I am redeemed through His blood (7).
  • Since Christ is the access into God’s grace, I am graced forever (7).
  • Since Christ took the wrath of God for my sin, I am reconciled to God (10).

Men, to overcome the deceitfulness of our hearts, we must constantly speak the truth to our hearts.  Stop listening to yourself and start preaching the Truth to yourself today—that’s what we need to hear!

Lessons From a Hernia: Day 3

After being in somewhat of a zombie state over the weekend due to the pain meds, I decided that Sunday night was my last round of “every four hours.”  These pain-numbing, body altering meds were going to have to go! Don’t get me wrong, I am grateful for the help with pain and sleep, but the side effects were weird.  In particular, these meds altered my ability to concentrate, listen, and stay awake. Some folks would say that I’m on meds all the time. J  Nevertheless, I was grateful that last Monday I could finally listen to preaching on my phone and jot down some notes in my journal.  Hence, the lesson from this hernia surgery that I am sharing today is as follows:

Lesson #3 – One of best responses to and blessings in a crisis is to listen.

That Monday morning, I heard and recorded the following statements from one of my favorite preachers, Tony Evans.

  • God brings crisis for you to know that God is real!
  • Nothing will make you seek God like a crisis.
  • Crisis make you stop praying cute prayers and makes you call out to God!
  • A truth to remember in a crisis: Heaven rules; earth never has the final word.
  • Never let your feelings sit in judgment over your faith.
  • Our God is the God of all the nations. When you have a “nation-sized” problem, you don’t want a “street-sized” God!
  • Name your crisis “Goliath” to remind you what will happen to it.

How grateful I was to be able to listen to the preaching of God’s Word and to be challenged, edified and encouraged.  You see, as a parallel to Day 1 and Day 2, a crisis, “a hernia time,” will be much more beneficial if you just make opportunities to listen.  I used my ear-buds with my phone and listened to sermons, music, and the Scripture.  How soothing, encouraging, challenging, and calming were the words of eternal Truth.  All I had to do was listen.  Times of worship occurred; tears flowed; my heart rejoiced; conversation took place between my Lord and me; and . . .  sometimes I would drift off to sleep.  But, what a way to rest!  That chair in the family room where I spent most of my time holds special meaning to me now; it is and was a place of rich communion.

So in a crisis, be still and listen.  Just be careful who or what you are listening to.  Therefore Eli said unto Samuel, Go, lie down: and it shall be, if he call thee, that thou shalt say, Speak, Lord; for thy servant heareth. So Samuel went and lay down in his place. And the Lord came, and stood, and called as at other times, Samuel, Samuel. Then Samuel answered, Speak; for thy servant heareth (1 Samuel 3:9-10).

Here are two YouTube links of one of the many songs we love to sing at our church that sums up my post for today.

Speak, O Lord – 1  (A vast congregation of men only)

Speak, O Lord – 2 (Kristyn Getty; with lyrics)

I’m Glad I Did!

One of the joys of moving to our new neighborhood is getting to know all the folks who live around us!  Yesterday, we met a neighbor in a special way.

We are blessed this week to be hosting a Vacation Bible Club at our home.  The children are meeting in our garage and playing their games in the front yard.  As I was standing nearby, I noticed a vehicle slowly drive by.  I thought they were going to stop but moved on.  Shortly thereafter, I noticed them coming back this way, so I walked out toward our road.  The truck stopped and a well-dressed gentlemen got out and asked about the kids meeting at our home.  I explained what was happening, and he said, “Well, I have a gift for each of them.”  With that, he reached in the back seat of his truck and counted out insulated lunch bags for the kids.  Then he carried a box of insulated cups to the garage for every child.   The kids, of course, were so excited to receive this man’s generosity!

I followed my neighbor back to his truck and he said, “I have wanted to stop here several times and have always made an excuse.  Today, I said, I am going to do what I believe the Lord is prompting me to do, and I’m glad I did!”

To hear God’s voice we must belong to God. Jesus said, “My sheep listen to my voice; I know them, and they follow me” (John 10:27). Those who hear God’s voice are those who belong to Him—those who have been saved by His grace through faith in the Lord Jesus. These are the sheep who hear and recognize His voice, because they know Him as their Shepherd. If we are to recognize God’s voice, we must belong to Him.

We hear His voice when we spend time in Bible study and quiet contemplation of His Word. The more time we spend intimately with God and His Word, the easier it is to recognize His voice and His leading in our lives. Employees at a bank are trained to recognize counterfeits by studying genuine money so closely that it is easy to spot a fake. We should be so familiar with God’s Word that when someone speaks error to us, it is clear that it is not of God.

While God could speak audibly to people today, He speaks primarily through His written Word. Sometimes God’s leading can come through the Holy Spirit, through our consciences, through circumstances, and through the exhortations of other people. By comparing what we hear to the truth of Scripture, we can learn to recognize God’s voice.  (

How often have you been prompted by the Holy Spirit to do something, and you have turned away with an excuse which left you knowing you were disobedient and lacked faith in God?  How often have you been prompted by the Holy Spirit and you responded in obedience and your heart was refreshed, renewed, and blessed?  I saw the latter today.

Just a simple encouragement for all of us today.  When the Spirit of God speaks to us through His Word or that still small voice that matches up with God’s Word, obey.  You  will then say just like my neighbor, “I’m glad I did!”