Monday, 8 January 2018

Premier Radio Thought of the Day Mon 8 Jan 2017 on Listening

‘Robin listened’ they wrote on his gravestone.

Christian psychotherapist Robin Daniels died 5 year ago. They said when you talked with him he made you feel you were the star player. His practical wisdom is distilled into 200 pages of a book just published called Listening - hearing the heart.

It’s a great witness to the transformative power of listening. Reading it made me feel if I could engage with just a couple of his many insights I’d significantly counter my failures as a listener.

Daniels quotes Metropolitan Anthony Bloom: ‘Every meeting is a judgement, is crisis, is a situation in which we are called either to receive Christ, or to be Christ’s messenger to the other person [or both]. If only we realised that the whole of life has this intensity of meaning’.

If only we realised - indeed! People yearn to be listened to, and Christians so often fail to be Christ to their neighbour in this way. Among the qualities of a skilled listener is ‘a lack of mental chatter and a temporary detachment from one’s own concerns’ which can be seen as the self-emptying work of the Holy Spirit. Being comfortable with silence is another gift and the book has much wisdom about how we defy the assault on silence in the noisy, distracting world we inhabit.

To quote Robin Daniels, inner ‘silence brings harmony, and from harmony comes a new sense of proportion, more self-knowing, as well as more awareness of the deeper aspects of other people’.

Lord, lead us into such depths. Make us better listeners - starting today!

Sunday, 7 January 2018

Premier Radio Thought on Joy

The more you want God, the more he comes real to you.

Abide in me as I abide in you Jesus says in John 15 so that my joy may be in you.

I find there’s a battle for attention inside of me between myself and Jesus Christ - and when I’m looking away from myself to the Lord it’s a joy. Elsewhere in the Bible it says ‘in the Lord’s presence there is fullness of joy’.

There’s no greater aid to evangelism than joy: quiet, infectious joy, expressed in a smile.

God is beyond words. In Jesus Christ God comes to live in us by his Spirit. Reading his word, receiving Holy Communion, engaging with fellow believers - all these reinforce what Paul calls in Colossians 1:27 Christ in me, the hope of glory. 

The Saints are famous for their smiles - I remember Mother Teresa’s infectious smile on TV to this day - smiles that are an overflowing from the heart where Christ is dwelling.

I want to be a Saint - don’t you? I mean, there’ll be nothing sadder ultimately than to miss the mark when it comes to unending friendship with God!

It's not what we have been or are that matters so much as what we would be.

Would you be a friend of God? The more you want God, the more he’ll make himself real to you.

Abide in me as I abide in you Jesus says so that my joy may be in you.

So be it, Lord Jesus - your joy be my strength this day!