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Friday, February 26, 2010

Journey to the Cross - Hearing Aids - Good Night God

Every night before my 2-year-old grandson, Noah, goes to sleep, he and his parents say their prayers. Noah ends this precious time by saying, “Goodnight God. Goodnight Jesus.”

The Bible tells us to talk to God evening, morning, and at noon. The hearing aid we are going to put on today is the hearing aid we need when we are tired and our defenses are down. In those last moments, before we retire for night, we have one more opportunity to hear God.

Morning Meditation

Read Psalms 55:16-17

Ps 55:16-17

As for me, I will call upon God; and the LORD shall save me. Evening, and morning, and at noon, will I pray, and cry aloud: and he shall hear my voice. KJV

Call on the name of God.

• Enjoy your salvation.

• Pray and cry aloud, knowing He shall hear your voice.

Morning Prayer

Ask God to give you the energy to spend the last few minutes of your evening, listening to His voice.

• Thank Him in advance, for what He is going to say.

• Tell God your joys, fears, and needs. Praise Him in everything.

• Pray for knowledge of God’s will for you today and the power to carry that out.

• Ask the Holy Spirit to interpret the scriptures you are about to read.

Morning Bible Study

My Bum Bum was a spry little man with a twinkling grin. No one could have had a better grandfather. He could say the alphabet backwards as quickly as he could forwards and his ability to say words backwards kept me giggling. I would sit in church and listen to his booming tenor voice, knowing no one could sing better than Bum Bum.

My cousin named our grandparents Bum Bum and Nanar and no one seems to know why. Bum Bum treasured my Nanar throughout their 55-year marriage. I have the love letters and cards they continually wrote to each other. “Thet, I’m sorry,” he wrote after an apparent argument. “I love you and didn’t mean to scold.”

On our wedding day, Bum Bum walked up and whispered, “You may not believe it now but you’re going to get mad at that man. Just make sure you never go to bed mad at him. Work out all your arguments before you go to sleep.”

At the time, I didn’t know Bum Bum was speaking the words of God. When Bob and I decided to take this advice, we had no idea how hard it would be. In those early years, when two strong willed people were trying to learn how to become one with each other and God, that commitment made for some very long nights. The advice, that I attributed to my grandfather and later learned was from God, has served us well for 35 years and I now give the same advice to newlyweds.

Read Ephesians 4:26-27.

Eph 4:26-27

Go ahead and be angry. You do well to be angry — but don't use your anger as fuel for revenge. And don't stay angry. Don't go to bed angry. Don't give the Devil that kind of foothold in your life. (THE MESSAGE)

Does God say not to be angry?

• What does God warn us about our anger?

• What happens if we go to bed angry?

After God tells us “don’t go to bed angry” in Ephesians 4:26-27, He continues with some questions and instructions. Read Ephesians 4:28-32.

Eph 4:28-32

Did you used to make ends meet by stealing? Well, no more! Get an honest job so that you can help others who can't work.

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

Don't grieve God. Don't break his heart. His Holy Spirit, moving and breathing in you, is the most intimate part of your life, making you fit for himself. Don't take such a gift for granted.

Make a clean break with all cutting, backbiting, profane talk.

Be gentle with one another, sensitive. Forgive one another as quickly and thoroughly as God in Christ forgave you. THE MESSAGE

What are the instructions for the dishonest?

• What are the instructions about how we are supposed to talk to one another?

• How are we supposed to feel about God?

• What does God have to say about mean behavior?

• How are we supposed to treat one another?

• Why do you think these questions are right after God tells us not to go to bed angry?

Read David’s evening prayer in Psalms 141-1-4.

Ps 141:1-4

O LORD, I call upon You; hasten to me! Give ear to my voice when I call to You! May my prayer be counted as incense before You; The lifting up of my hands as the evening offering. Set a guard, O LORD, over my mouth; Keep watch over the door of my lips. Do not incline my heart to any evil thing, To practice deeds of wickedness with men who do iniquity; And do not let me eat of their delicacies. NASU

Note how much of this evening prayer revolves around David’s longing for God to help him refrain from sin.

How do we know this is an evening prayer.

• What is David asking of God?

And finally, read Daniel’s evening prayer.

Dan 9:20-23

Now while I was speaking and praying, and confessing my sin and the sin of my people Israel, and presenting my supplication before the LORD my God in behalf of the holy mountain of my God, while I was still speaking in prayer, then the man Gabriel, whom I had seen in the vision previously, came to me in my extreme weariness about the time of the evening offering.

He gave me instruction and talked with me and said, "O Daniel, I have now come forth to give you insight with understanding. At the beginning of your supplications the command was issued, and I have come to tell you, for you are highly esteemed; so give heed to the message and gain understanding of the vision.” NASU

What does Daniel say about his physical state when he had a visit from Gabriel?

• What elements of confession do you see in this prayer?

• Do you think Daniel’s weariness made him more open to hearing the message of God?

As we close this series on hearing aids, I urge you to turn up the volume on your hearing aid. Open your ears and listen. Listen in the morning, throughout your day, and at night. Listen to the Still Small Voice as He gently urges. Listen to the God of Fire as He speaks through mighty acts. Listen as you pray without ceasing. Finally, listen when you are tired. Confess before you lay your head down at night and sleep the deep sleep of the innocent. Read Acts 28:27. Hear with your ears and understand with your heart so God can heal you.

Acts 28:27

For the heart of this people is waxed gross, and their ears are dull of hearing, and their eyes have they closed; lest they should see with their eyes, and hear with their ears, and understand with their heart, and should be converted, and I should heal them. KJV


The 12 Step program of Alcoholics Anonymous has a step that encourages daily prayer and meditation. It also has a step that suggests taking daily inventory, promptly admitting where they have been wrong.

The book Alcoholics Anonymoussuggests that alcoholics constructively review their day nightly, looking for places where they had been resentful, selfish, dishonest, or afraid. It goes on to ask a series of questions like:

Do we owe and apology?

• Have we kept something to ourselves which should be discussed with another person at once?

• Were we kind and loving towards all?

• What could we have done better?

• Were we thinking of ourselves most of the time? Or were we thinking of what we could do for others?

The book suggests that after reviewing the day, we ask God’s forgiveness and inquire what corrective measures should be taken. (p 86 Alcoholics Anonymous, 4th Addition)

What members of Alcoholics Anonymous have discovered is that at night, when they are tired and their defenses down, they are more likely to get honest with themselves. They’ve also discovered that sin puts a barrier between them and God and makes them more likely to drink again. For them, nightly confession of sins makes the difference between life and death.

Tonight, before you go to bed, review your day. Use the above questions from Alcoholics Anonymous or use Ephesians 4:26-32. Put on the hearing aid of nightly confession and listen to God in the openness of weariness. Say, “Goodnight God, Goodnight Jesus,” with a clean conscience.

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