Selah: Listen


It was one of my favorite stories as a child. Young Samuel has just gone to bed when he hears a voice call his name. He runs to Eli, who has also turned in for the night. Eli assures Samuel he didn’t call for him and sends the lad back to bed. (See 1 Samuel 3)

The second time Eli might have been a bit peeved, but responds kindly—this was a new situation for the boy. Mumbling under his breath something about not being a nurse maid, he instructs Samuel to get back in bed.

When Samuel appears the third time, I imagine Eli’s immediate response was about to be less than kind—when it suddenly dawns on him Who is calling the young child’s name…God!

Words get sucked back, and Eli wakes up enough to tell Samuel exactly what he should do if the voice calls his name again, say this, “Speak, Lord. I’m ready to listen.”

Are you ready? Being ready isn’t always convenient, or easy, or even welcome. But I believe it’s important to listen…and obey.

I believe the voice of God can come as silently as a nudge, a gut check, or a hug around your heart.

I also believe the voice of God can sound like the voice of a friend, a spouse, or maybe even a pastoral leader.

Sometimes I’m listening hard, sometimes I’m asleep, sometimes I’m not even paying attention.

At times I try to pretend I’m too busy to be bothered. While other times I’m afraid so I fill my ears with other noise—like a child covering her ears and singing loudly: Lalalalalalala.

But I need to listen, especially if I identify myself as a servant.

And I need listen, to hear and obey.

”Go ahead Master. I’m listening. What do you have for me today?”

I’m ready.

Do No Harm

First, do no harm.

Quick! Where’s that from?


Hippocratic Oath? That’s what I thought.

Nope. After doing a little online reading, I found it’s not in the original Greek version. There’s a phrase in the Latin that might come close. It is believed the phrase came into acceptance somewhere in the 17th century.

Why does this matter? What drove me to even look?

I’m glad you asked.

Yesterday, on my drive to visit some folks who are completing a drug rehab program, I had a heart to heart with God.

At first I was trying to anticipate conversations and how I would respond. Okay, I confess I think these kinds of thing through for all kinds of encounters. I’m an old Girl Scout: I tried to always be prepared.

But the rehearsals in my mind were going nowhere.

So I stopped—talking not driving.

And I confessed how foolish I felt and I asked God what I needed to do.

Yes, I’m a trained pastor (two different Masters degrees for that) and a trained counselor (Masters degree and all kinds of continuing education), but we’re facing a giant of an enemy in this heroin epidemic.

This must be how David felt when he faced Goliath. (Okay, go ahead think current Pepsi commercials. See video below if you’re unfamiliar.)

God, I don’t know what to say. I want to offer your kind of lasting, life-changing, life-giving help. How do I do that?

 I know, not a very eloquent prayer—didn’t even say Amen at the end.

But God heard. And God spoke: Do No Harm.


This is a huge request for an ESFP with ADD. I am not like my introverted friends who think and then overthink and maybe think some more before they open their mouths to speak. I think out loud. Words tumble out of my mouth faster than I can check them.

How do I do that?

Here’s what I did:

I listened. A challenging thing for an ESFP with ADD.

Listening requires intentional focus. Trust me: this requires more energy than a 30 minute workout at CURVES.

But I did it.

And I shared what I knew to be true.

This included some of my own struggle, but also a couple of my foundation scripture promises and fundamental counseling truths.

I’m not sure if we slayed the giant…but we did some serious damage. I left those appointments whoopin’ and hollerin’ for Jesus.

These were divine appointments and I was just along for the ride.

Check back for the next post where I’ll share one of those fundamental counseling truths.  (How’s that for a teaser?!)


**ESFP is a Myers-Brigs Trait Inventory designation (MBTI). When I take the inventory I identify as an Extrovert who takes in my surroundings through my Senses, makes judgments through my Feelings, and organizes Perceptively (which is kind of like no organization at all—think scattered).

If you want to check out the test just google it. You can take it online and receive your information.

**ADD is a psychiatric identification, Attention Deficit Disorder. My brain typically runs in scatter mode. I act before thinking. I get overwhelmed by too many instructions. I am highly distracted…squirrel!



Advent 5: Stop Talking

On a recent flight to Arizona to visit my mom, I sat behind two twenty something men. For the entire two hour flight they spent the time talking. Well, not just talking. They were talking loudly, but it wasn’t just the volume that was annoying. No. Their conversation consisted of a continuous one-up-man-ship. I finally put my headphones on so I wouldn’t have to listen.

Have you been around people who just talk to talk? They say very little that seems important, but they have such a need to say it.

One of the parts of the Christmas story that has always intrigued me involves Zechariah and the Angel. The Angel comes with some really good news and instead of accepting it, Zechariah choses to question the Angel: How? And for that he is silenced until after the baby is born.

There obviously is a time to speak and a time to listen. Did you know the word “listen” occurs 506 times in the Bible (according to and the NIV)? Jesus made several of those references: Let the one who has ears hear.

Last time I checked, that’s just about everybody.

We have helped raise our grandson. I find myself often telling him to stop talking. His constant jibber or rebuttle during correction is not good. Often if he would just stop talking he would avoid trouble. The only times he has moved down on the behavior scale at school have been because he was talking when he shouldn’t.

Picture with me what it would be like if we did less talking this Advent. What would it be like if we listened more? Listened to each other…to God.

We might actually understand why God through the Psalmist instructed us to: Be still and know that I am God. (Psalm 46:10)

How ’bout you go first. I’m all ears.

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