Day Five: Listen Like Mary

Luke 10:38-39, 42
As Jesus and his disciples were on their way, he came to a village where a woman named Martha opened her home to him. She had a sister called Mary, who sat at the Lord’s feet listening to what he said… “but few things are needed—or indeed only one. Mary has chosen what is better, and it will not be taken away from her.”

“To sit at someone’s feet meant, quite simply, to be their student. And to sit at the feet of a rabbi was what you did if you wanted to be a rabbi yourself. There is no thought here of learning for learning’s sake. Mary has quietly taken her place as a would-be teacher and preacher of the kingdom of God. Jesus affirms her right to do so.” [NT Wright, Luke for Everyone (New Testament for Everyone), 131]

According to Jesus, listening is a choice. And to listen to Jesus is to live as a student of Jesus. To listen to Jesus is to live as a disciple of Jesus. Jesus will never turn away the one who wants to listen. Even though Mary was committing so many cultural taboos, sitting among the men, Jesus received her. Likewise, Jesus will not turn us away if we desire to sit at his feet and listen. How essential the act of listening is to our calling to make disciples, for we can’t preach what we haven’t heard from Jesus himself. We must be so familiar with the voice of Jesus by drawing near and listening.

Let’s pray: Heavenly Father, help us to move away from the distractions of life and find a seat at the feet of Jesus. May we encounter you in the intimate moments of listening, and share what you say to others. In Jesus’ name, amen.

Let’s worship to the song “Over My Head” by Bethel (click here).

– ES


Day Four: The Listening Look

Acts 14:8-10
In Lystra there sat a man who was lame. He had been that way from birth and had never walked. He listened to Paul as he was speaking. Paul looked directly at him, saw that he had faith to be healed and called out, “Stand up on your feet!” At that, the man jumped up and began to walk.

In this event, there was a man who was listening to Paul as he was speaking. When Paul looked directly at him, there was something about the way this lame man was listening that exuded faith. It gave Paul the confidence to jumpstart the lame man’s healing process with a verbal instruction. How we listen matters. How we look as we listen matters. May we seize every opportunity for an encounter with God and healing by showing that we’re listening with faith.

Let’s pray: Heavenly Father, in every opportunity of hearing your word preached, help me listen with great faith. I believe that anything can change in a moment with your power. In Jesus’ name, amen.

Let’s worship to the song “Won’t Stop Now” by Elevation (click here).

– ES


Day Three: Beyond the Soundwaves

Luke 8:8 (NIV)
“Still other seed fell on good soil. It came up and yielded a crop, a hundred times more than was sown.” When he said this, he called out, “Whoever has ears to hear, let them hear.”

“Look out of the window at the people walking by. What sort of soil is the seed being sown in today? What can we do to plough up the rough ground, to remove the stones, to weed out the thorns? What can we do to sow the word more successfully? The answers will vary from place to place and time to time. But perhaps the first and most important answer is to ask ourselves how much mature growth, how much fruit, the word is producing in our own lives. If we have ears, we must learn to hear.” [NT Wright, Luke for Everyone (New Testament for Everyone), 95-96]

Not all listening is created equal. Just because we have ears, doesn’t mean we hear well. Every time Jesus speaks, his words carry the very power of life and light itself. The problem is not with the words that proceed from God’s mouth, but the manner in which the words are received by the listener. May we learn to encounter God by listening to Jesus well. In doing so, it will yield a crop to the glory of God.

Let’s pray: Heavenly Father, I thank you for your words of life that come to me every day through Scripture, through your Spirit, and through others. Help me to truly hear and receive all that you say to me that I may live and be fruitful. In Jesus’ name, amen.

Let’s worship to the song “Fire Fall” by Planetshakers (click here).

– ES


Day Two: Aftershocks of Pentecost

Acts 10:44
While Peter was still speaking these words, the Holy Spirit came on all who heard the message.

“Cornelius and his household don’t even have a chance to say, ‘We believe.’ The spirit comes upon them and they speak with tongues, just as the apostles did on the day of Pentecost.” [NT Wright, Acts for Everyone, Part 1: Chapters 1-12, 170]

In Acts 10, the pouring out of the Spirit upon Cornelius and his household caught Peter by surprise. This wasn’t even supposed to happen according to his theology at that time. What we learn is that God is not done pouring out his Spirit at Acts 2. It continued into Acts 10 and it continues all around the world today. We are living in an age where the Spirit can be powerfully poured out upon any gathering where God’s message is proclaimed. Let’s anticipate this as we speak to others, and let’s anticipate this as we listen.

Let’s pray: Heavenly Father, as an agent of your good news, let me see your Spirit poured out as I share it with others. And as I listen to your message preached to me, may I receive a fresh and powerful filling of your Holy Spirit. In Jesus’ name, amen.

Let’s worship to the song “Spirit of God” by New Life Worship (click here).

— ES


Day One: Call Close

Let’s read aloud together the following passage, creed, and prayer:

Psalm 84:1-4
How lovely is your dwelling place,
    LORD Almighty!
My soul yearns, even faints,
    for the courts of the Lord;
my heart and my flesh cry out
    for the living God.
Even the sparrow has found a home,
    and the swallow a nest for herself,
    where she may have her young—
a place near your altar,
    LORD Almighty, my King and my God.
Blessed are those who dwell in your house;
    they are ever praising you.

The Manila Manifesto
We rejoice that the living God did not abandon us to our lostness and despair. In his love he came after us in Jesus Christ to rescue and remake us. So the good news focuses on the historic person of Jesus, who came proclaiming the kingdom of God and living a life of humble service, who died for us, becoming sin and a curse in our place, and whom God vindicated by raising him from the dead. To those who repent and believe in Christ, God grants a share in the new creation. He gives us new life, which includes the forgiveness of our sins and the indwelling, transforming power of his Spirit. He welcomes us into his new community, which consists of people of all races, nations, and cultures. And he promises that one day we will enter his new world, in which evil will be abolished, nature will be redeemed, and God will reign for ever.

Prayer: Heavenly Father, we thank you for saving us and calling us near. We have found the utmost delight being in your presence. In Jesus’ name, amen.

Let’s worship to the song “Wellspring” by Leeland (click here).

— ES