“Whoever believes in Me, as the Scripture has said, streams of living water will flow from within him.” — John 7:38
Stop … Look … Listen, by Randall D. Kittle

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As I was praying the Lord said, “I will show you a sign that is for the Church in this day.” Suddenly I saw a yellow, round, railroad crossing sign. And the Lord said “The Church needs to stop, it needs to look, and it needs to listen!” With that the sign rotated forty-five degrees so that the “X” suddenly looked like a cross and the two “R”s seemed to be floating off the sign, and the Lord declared, “And if they will do that, I will bring them refreshing for the people who are weary, and I will bring them restoration of the things the enemy has taken away by applying the Cross to their lives.”

We Need To Stop
When you come to an unmarked railroad crossing, you are supposed to stop, look, and listen before proceeding. This is what the Spirit of God is saying to much of the Church in this day! We are at a spiritual crossroad. God is telling us to stop at this unmarked intersection, not slow down or coast through it.

First, we need to
stop talking. Across the land believers are speaking so many words that tear down, question, and accuse. Mouths that have been anointed to bless are instead bringing a curse. Proverbs 10:19 puts it this way, “When words are many, sin is not absent, but he who holds his tongue is wise.” Many of us need to learn the wisdom of speaking less.

We also need to
stop listening … stop listening to those who can’t seem to stop talking, those who are gossipers and talebearers. We need to stop listening to negative news programs and questionable television shows. Much that is labeled as information or entertainment in our society has a negative anointing from the enemy that will ensnare us in a thought-life of worry and frustration. The solution is simple — STOP LISTENING!

Finally, the Lord is calling us to
stop doing. Not to stop working your job or serving in the church, but to stop the busyness that our culture inflicts upon us. If we want to know God, to know His ways and His will for us individually, for our churches, and for our cities, we need to stop all of our frantic activity and wait upon the Lord. It says in Psalm 46:10, “Be still, and know that I am God.” This is very difficult for most of us whose lives are as hectic and frustrating as a hamster running on a hamster wheel.

In the New American Standard, Psalm 46:10 is translated
“Cease striving …” One of the agendas of our information-overload, stimulation-overload society is to get us all geared up, stirred up, and striving. We need to learn how to be still, and then to choose to be still. The hurried pace of our days often prevents us from entering into the very purpose for which you and I were created — to have relationship with God. It obscures our ability to see and hear God. Given the whirlwind of activity and busyness in which we live, it is truly amazing that anybody can hear the Lord. We need to learn to be still, stop striving, get off the world’s merry-go-round of busyness, and wait upon the Lord.

God is speaking clearly to those who will listen: “Stop sharing everything you’ve heard with everyone you meet. Stop listening to every new rumor that comes around. Stop doing just about anything and everything that’s possible, for I want you to know Me, to know My will, what I’m doing, and what’s on My heart.”

We Need To Look
Next, we need to look; look to see what the Lord is doing and when He is speaking. Did you know that we hear best when we are looking at the person speaking to us? When you really love someone, you look right at them when they speak to you. This is important because there is more than words being spoken, there is a deeper exchange going on. The visual aspect of active listening is important and shows we truly value the other person. When I was dating my wife, I would look so intently at her as she spoke to me that it felt as if my eyes were drinking her in. That is what God wants, and He deserves nothing less. We sing that He is our Lord, our Savior, our All-in-All, the very breath we breathe, and then we get busy with life and say “Lord, you can speak to me any time. While I’m mowing the yard, playing tennis, or doing the dishes.” That wouldn’t be accepted by a newlywed spouse, and it certainly isn’t acceptable to the Lord.

We need to be still and fix our eyes and focus our attention upon the Lord. Some of us need to hear Him speak the words my mother used to say to me:
“Randall, look at me when I’m talking to you.” We would do well to heed this exhortation as if the Lord himself was instructing each of us “Look at Me when I’m talking to you.”

Habakkuk 2:1 says this,
“I will stand on my guard post, and station myself on the rampart; and I will keep watch to see what He will speak to me, and how I may reply when I am reproved.” Never before has it been more important to station ourselves as watchmen upon the wall and look intently with purpose; not to detect the schemes of the enemy, but to see what the Lord would say to us. We must position our hearts to receive whatever the Lord desires to share, and if He challenges us, we need to see how we can respond to His reproof — in repentance, in restitution, or however He desires.

We Need To Listen
God is also calling us to listen. Recently, the Lord spoke this very clearly in a prophetic word He gave to one of the prophetic intercessors I know. This is what He said to her: “My people must listen to what I am saying. You must not sit back and let others do what I have given you to do. I say to you again, listen. Be still before me and listen. For I have much for you to do for the kingdom, but you must listen to know what and how I would have you do those things I have called you to do. If you will listen, I will tell you each step to take. There will be giant steps that will stretch your faith mightily. You must take each step as it comes. I will supply your needs for each step, but your faith will be stretched beyond anything you have dreamed of up until now. Be of good cheer, for I am with you. Know that you are my people and you will do great and mighty things when you listen to Me.”

Six times the Lord calls us to listen in this prophetic word, and He is not desiring us to listen just to anything or anyone, but to Him! It is time for the Church to choose to whom we are listening to. Whether we realize it or not, every day we make choices as to what and who we will listen to, and God is calling us to focus upon Him.

I remember seeing an interview with a world renown tight-rope walker. The reporter commended him for his ability to block out all the open space in which he could fall. He quickly replied, “No, you’re wrong. I don’t block out the negative. I merely focus on the positive. It’s my ability to focus on the rope that allows me to perform.” One of the best ways to stop listening to negative things is to focus on listening to the Lord, for when you are listening to Him you won’t hear all the “junk.”

Take Heed What You Hear
In Mark 4:21–25 we find a parable referred to as the Parable of Revealed Light. This is an interesting parable in that it starts off talking about light, and then switches over to sound. This is what it says: “Also Jesus said to them, ‘Is a lamp brought to be put under a basket or under a bed? Is it not to be set on a lampstand? For there is nothing hidden which will not be revealed, nor has anything been kept secret but that it should come to light. If anyone has ears to hear, let him hear.’ “Then He said to them, ‘Take heed what you hear. With the same measure you use, it will be measured to you; and to you who hear, more will be given. For whoever has, to him more will be given; but whoever does not have, even what he has will be taken away from him.’”

In verse 23 Jesus proclaims,
“If anyone has ears to hear, let him hear.” This is one of the most common phrases Jesus says in the New Testament. He declares this over and again in Matthew, Mark, Luke, and Revelation. If Jesus said this so many times, it must be very important. Jesus was God in the flesh, and He was saying to the crowd “you have ears, choose to use them to listen to what I am saying.” God was speaking, but most people were not hearing what He was saying. How long they had desired to hear the voice of God, and now here He was speaking, and many were not listening.

Across America the Lord is asking the question “Are you listening?” We have ears, but there is a big difference between hearing a sound and listening to a person. Are we truly stopping from our busyness long enough to wait upon the Lord, and preparing our hearts to listen to Him? This must be a priority to God because Jesus says it over and over again in Scripture, and He is saying it once again to the Church in our day. “You’ve got ears to hear, would you listen to Me? If you will, I am going to show you the way. I am going to bring you victory.”

In this parable Jesus also instructs us to
“take heed what you hear.” He is saying “be careful, be cautious what you listen to, after all, you’re the one who chooses what you listen to.” The key to understanding this parable is found in verse 24 which says, “With the same measure you use, it will be measured to you.” This sounds like it is talking about sowing and reaping, and it is, but it’s not talking about giving, it is talking about listening. You may hate when people talk about you, but are you listening when people talk about others? With the same measure you measure out you will receive. What we choose to listen to we will have multiplied in our lives, and what we choose not to listen to we will have diminished. Why are we surprised when answers to our prayers are delayed when so often we are too busy to listen to God? Verse 24 concludes by stating this principle in the positive sense, “… to you who hear, more will be given.” This is what God is calling us to, to be those who will listen to Him, and His promise is that those who choose to listen to Him, to them He will speak to and reveal His heart even more.

If we choose not to listen to the Lord, we become a rebellious house. Ezekiel 12:2 says this,
“Son of man, you dwell in the midst of a rebellious house, which has eyes to see but does not see, and ears to hear but does not hear; for they are a rebellious house.” How did they start walking in rebellion? They stopped listening to the Lord. They were too busy and disinterested to hear what He had to say.

But as followers of Jesus, we are not to be a rebellious house, but a people of obedience. James 1:19 tells us that
“Everyone should be quick to listen, slow to speak …” Yet, the average American is quick to speak and doesn’t listen at all. James 1:22 goes on to say “…be doers of the word, and not hearers only, deceiving yourselves.” We need to be quick to listen to God. And once we have heard God, we must have a purposing in our hearts to be a doer of what it is He speaks. We must both hear and heed. If we will do this He wants to bring a season of refreshing to remove our weariness. He wants to bring a time of restoration of all the enemy has stolen. But even more important, we will be reviving our relationship with our living, loving God. As the Lord speaks, and we wait upon His every word, He will speak more and more, and draw us closer to His side.

Lord, reach down from heaven and give us listening hearts that fix their gaze upon You. We ask that the strings of our hearts would be tuned to respond to the faintest things that You would speak. Help us stop being pulled into the busyness that encompasses us, and instead wait for You to share your heart. We choose this day to hear what You would say, and heed all that we hear. Speak, Lord, your servant is listening!


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