Close
  • CONNECT WITH US
Print pagePDF pageEmail page

Improving Your Observation Skills

Improving Your Observation SkillsWe live in a world of screens that compete for our attention. Though it’s easy to be attracted to the things competing for our attention on our phone, television, or computer screen, it takes a little more work to really notice things that are going on all around us. The same can be said for the way we approach the Bible. We often have a superficial understanding of a given passage because we rarely take the time to really observe what the text is saying.

On this program, Michael Horton discusses this issue with Jim Gilmore, author of Look: A Practical Guide to Improving Your Observation Skills. Join us for this special edition of the White Horse Inn.

Host Quote:

“If we consider reflection, I think at one level, the difference between, let’s say, watching a video and reading a book is you seldom stop the film to say I’m going to think about this scene right now. You’ll do that with a book but there’s even a further step away as to not have anything that’s in between and observing your surroundings. I think we’re losing our sense of reflection.

“We’re losing a sense of quietness. Sometimes you put those ear buds on because it’s noisy, so you’d rather listen to your own music than the street noise, not a bad decision. So part of it is a call not just for more reflection but for more quietness. I think what’s happening with social media particularly is just making the world increasingly noisy, noisy being the lowest form of intelligence that exists. It’s not even data or information. It’s just this random stream of just blah, blah, blah. It all to me sounds like what the adult sounds like to the kids on Peanuts. It’s the getaway from that world.” – Jim Gilmore

Term to Learn:

“Therapeutic Culture”

The move to the therapeutic in society has been induced by several cultural developments. The intense psychologization of men’s attitudes and feelings as the primary subconscious level of “who we are,” the altering definitions of justice as primarily the accommodation of society to remove all barriers from self-expression and empowering fulfillment of the self, and the movement to the individual subject as the arbiter of that freedom to happiness apart from external structures and forces. The good life of justice, freedom, happiness have been internalized to such a degree that boredom and the external forces which upset that interior life are now seen as the greatest of evils. Justice has been re-defined in the last century as the removal of external barriers and the material empowerment of the individual towards the good life perceived to be desirable.

Men’s attitudes and feelings have come to arbitrate justice and goodness in the late modern society. Safety and security have been held out as the primary good of Western culture above what previous generations saw as essential to promoting the good life, namely liberty, self-reliance, and responsibility. Conventional ideals of moral responsibility have gradually become subordinated to state interpreted therapeutic ideals. “Modern culture is unique in having given birth to such elaborately argued anti-religions, all aiming to confirm us in our devastating illusions of individuality and freedom,” writes Philip Rieff in his magisterial, The Triumph of the Therapeutic. Jacques Ellul argued in the mid-century that whenever a culture’s ethical outlook could not keep a pace with its technological developments, propaganda was the fated result – the subconscious alteration of men’s attitudes and feelings through technological means of domination. Modern cultural production has moved into the business and technique of manipulating a sense of well­being under what Jürgen Habermas has called a “therapeutocracy.” (Timothy W. Massaro, “Therapeutic Culture,” WHI [blog], October 05, 2015)

(This podcast is by White Horse Inn. Discovered by Christian Podcast Central and our community — copyright is owned by the publisher, not Christian Podcast Central, and audio is streamed directly from their servers.)

OUR SUPPORTERS

  • NCMC Logo12
  • cwd_link
    Over 18,000 wholesome, family friendly, Christian websites.
  • WM-ad-web-v2-489x486
  • RdR Large ad
  • Danny Avila
  • Talking Bibles Sidebar Ad
  •  Good News, Etc
Print pagePDF pageEmail page

Reflections of Grace Slider

I felt as if I was going through the motions of life, but without the joy.  “Lord, where is my joy today…. I was walking along a river, and my surroundings were beautiful, but I just wasn’t feeling it.  I knew Jesus was there, but I was yearning for something more this day and wasn’t sure what. I felt cantankerous and out of sorts.  I just kept walking.  All at once, Jesus was on the scene.  Activity was going on all around me, but it was as if I was encapsulated in the sweetest air that was almost palpable.  I stopped, took a deep breath, and looked up.  There, above my head on a bare tree branch, was a lone sparrow.  He was hopping around and just stopped when I looked at him, and he looked right back at me.  At that moment, I remembered Jesus’ Words in the Sermon on the Mount:

“Look at the birds. They don’t plant or harvest or store food in barns, for your Heavenly Father feeds them. And aren’t you far more valuable to him than they are? Can all your worries add a single moment to your life? But not a single sparrow can fall to the ground without your Father knowing it.  And the very hairs on your head are all numbered.  So don’t be afraid; you are more valuable to God than a whole flock of sparrows.” (Matthew 6:28 & 10:29)

Honestly, at that moment I had this profound sense that Jesus knew what kind of day I was having, and He was letting me know through this little sparrow just how important I was to Him.  Interesting, too, that I was having a woman kind of day. You know, one of those days when you feel totally unattractive. Then He shows me this unattractive little brown bird.  And at that moment I saw the sparrow through His eyes, and I actually felt love and was delighted with the little guy.   Jesus cared that I was having an out-of-touch kind of day, and He was walking with me through it by sharing this little bird with me.

Image: R.F. Hadley

Image: R.F. Hadley

The way I see it, we have three choices each day, to experience Jesus in this way, in our every-day, get-up, wash-face, eat-breakfast, do-laundry, clean-house kind of day:

♥ Choice 1: When you rise in the morning, at that moment, make a conscious, determined decision that He is present no matter how you “feel.”   Don’t assume that because you are feeling a negative emotion, that He isn’t right there.  He didn’t say, “I will be with you only on good days,” He said, “I will be with you always.”

♥ Choice 2: Start talking. Yes, acknowledge His presence and start talking to Him.   This takes effort.  We are so in tune to having a visible person in our presence when we are talking, that it is hard to just start talking to Jesus about just anything.  You see, I believe that God created us for His pleasure and companionship.  Didn’t He walk and talk with Adam and Eve before the fall?  When sin entered in, it cut them off from enjoying God’s daily tangible presence in their lives.  So tragic.  But then Jesus came to restore the fellowship with God that we were created for.  He paid the price for our sins long ago, so that we now have direct access to God through His Son–who is perfect in every way, and He says, “When you have seen Me, you have seen the Father.”   We can walk and talk with Him now, just like Adam and Eve did.   I know this to be true because I do it.  So, as an act of your will, start talking.  Tell Him how you feel that day.  Tell Him your concerns, joys, and about the things you need to surrender to Him and are struggling with.  Don’t forget to be thankful and tell Him of your love for Him.

♥ Choice 3:  Exercise your faith.  Believe He is there, because He is.  (In Him we live, and move, and have our very being.)   Remember, faith is something you can’t see or feel, but simply must believe because He says it is so.  So, keep talking and believing, and this will move you into the realm of His Spirit.

You will be rewarded with a tangible presence of Jesus Himself.  This kind of walk doesn’t come overnight.  It takes time to develop.  But why on earth, if we know this kind of relationship with Him is possible, don’t we want to take the time to press into it?  And keep pressing into it until we begin to hear His voice.   Yes, He will talk back.  You will become more and more able to know it is really Him speaking.  You will be conversing with God!   He will not let you down.

Most people I know who struggle with this, have a hard time believing it is His voice they hear.  He is always talking, we just don’t believe it is Him.  Have wildly abandoned faith, friends.  Be willing to get outside the box of your doubt and unbelief, and just write down what He says that you think you are making up.  That is His voice.   It comes as a thought you know you didn’t think.

The Lord constantly speaks to us and gives us His direction. It’s never the Lord who is not speaking, but it’s us who are not hearing. Jesus made some radical statements about hearing His voice in John 10:3-5. He was speaking about Himself as the Shepherd of the sheep and the only way to enter the sheepfold.

The gatekeeper opens the gate for him, and the sheep listen to his voice. He calls his own sheep by name and leads them out. When he has brought out all his own, he goes on ahead of them, and his sheep follow him because they know his voice. But they will never follow a stranger; in fact, they will run away from him because they do not recognize a stranger’s voice.” (John 10:3-5)

 

Notice that He said in verse three: His sheep hear His voice. He didn’t say His sheep CAN hear His voice or SHOULD hear His voice. He made the emphatic statement that His sheep DO hear His voice. Most Christians would question the accuracy of that statement since their experiences don’t line up. But it’s not what Jesus said that is wrong; all true believers can and do hear the voice of God; they just don’t recognize what they are hearing as being God’s voice.

OUR SUPPORTERS

  • NCMC Logo12
  • cwd_link
    Over 18,000 wholesome, family friendly, Christian websites.
  • WM-ad-web-v2-489x486
  • RdR Large ad
  • Danny Avila
  • Talking Bibles Sidebar Ad
  •  Good News, Etc
Print pagePDF pageEmail page

Suzanne Lederer leads us in connecting with God through Lectio Divina.

Matthew 6:9-13 “The Lord’s Prayer”

“This, then, is how you should pray:

“‘Our Father in heaven,
hallowed be your name,
10 your kingdom come,
your will be done,
on earth as it is in heaven.
11 Give us today our daily bread.
12 And forgive us our debts,
as we also have forgiven our debtors.
13 And lead us not into temptation,
but deliver us from the evil one.’

Check out suzannelederer.com for a deeper look into the age-old worship practice.

OUR SUPPORTERS

  • NCMC Logo12
  • cwd_link
    Over 18,000 wholesome, family friendly, Christian websites.
  • WM-ad-web-v2-489x486
  • RdR Large ad
  • Danny Avila
  • Talking Bibles Sidebar Ad
  •  Good News, Etc
Print pagePDF pageEmail page

Suzanne Lederer leads us in connecting with God through Lectio Divina.

Luke 12:25-28 “Do Not Worry”

25-28 “Has anyone by fussing before the mirror ever gotten taller by so much as an inch? If fussing can’t even do that, why fuss at all? Walk into the fields and look at the wildflowers. They don’t fuss with their appearance—but have you ever seen color and design quite like it? The ten best-dressed men and women in the country look shabby alongside them. If God gives such attention to the wildflowers, most of them never even seen, don’t you think he’ll attend to you, take pride in you, do his best for you?

Check out suzannelederer.com for a deeper look into the age-old worship practice.

 

OUR SUPPORTERS

  • NCMC Logo12
  • cwd_link
    Over 18,000 wholesome, family friendly, Christian websites.
  • WM-ad-web-v2-489x486
  • RdR Large ad
  • Danny Avila
  • Talking Bibles Sidebar Ad
  •  Good News, Etc
Print pagePDF pageEmail page

Suzanne Lederer leads us in connecting with God through Lectio Divina.

Romans 8:31-38 (MSG)

So, what do you think? With God on our side like this, how can we lose? If God didn’t hesitate to put everything on the line for us, embracing our condition and exposing himself to the worst by sending his own Son, is there anything else he wouldn’t gladly and freely do for us? And who would dare tangle with God by messing with one of God’s chosen? Who would dare even to point a finger? The One who died for us—who was raised to life for us!—is in the presence of God at this very moment sticking up for us. Do you think anyone is going to be able to drive a wedge between us and Christ’s love for us? There is no way! Not trouble, not hard times, not hatred, not hunger, not homelessness, not bullying threats, not backstabbing, not even the worst sins listed in Scripture.

Check out suzannelederer.com for a deeper look into the age-old worship practice.

OUR SUPPORTERS

  • NCMC Logo12
  • cwd_link
    Over 18,000 wholesome, family friendly, Christian websites.
  • WM-ad-web-v2-489x486
  • RdR Large ad
  • Danny Avila
  • Talking Bibles Sidebar Ad
  •  Good News, Etc
Print pagePDF pageEmail page

Suzanne Lederer leads us in connecting with God through Lectio Divina.

Zephaniah 3:17 (NIV)

The Lord your God is with you,
the Mighty Warrior who saves.
He will take great delight in you;
in His love He will no longer rebuke you,
but will rejoice over you with singing.

Check out suzannelederer.com for a deeper look into the age-old worship practice.

OUR SUPPORTERS

  • NCMC Logo12
  • cwd_link
    Over 18,000 wholesome, family friendly, Christian websites.
  • WM-ad-web-v2-489x486
  • RdR Large ad
  • Danny Avila
  • Talking Bibles Sidebar Ad
  •  Good News, Etc
Print pagePDF pageEmail page

Suzanne Lederer leads us in connecting with God through Lectio Divina.

Psalm 131

A song for pilgrims ascending to Jerusalem. A psalm of David.

My heart is not proud, Lord,
my eyes are not haughty;
I do not concern myself with great matters
or things too wonderful for me.
But I have calmed and quieted myself,
I am like a weaned child with its mother;
like a weaned child I am content.

Israel, put your hope in the Lord
both now and forevermore.

Check out http://suzannelederer.com for a deeper look into the age old worship practice.

OUR SUPPORTERS

  • NCMC Logo12
  • cwd_link
    Over 18,000 wholesome, family friendly, Christian websites.
  • WM-ad-web-v2-489x486
  • RdR Large ad
  • Danny Avila
  • Talking Bibles Sidebar Ad
  •  Good News, Etc