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Sometimes "little" things reveal more than we think about what is going on inside us. In fact, it may be that little things are the more accurate indicators of our condition, because these are so often unpremeditated and unplanned. To the trained eye and ear of a physician, for example, much information is conveyed about our physical status by the "little" symptoms that we may think are insignificant.
In spiritual matters, a seemingly little thing like our listening habits during the worship service can be a significant indicator of what is in our hearts. The truth is, we show our interest in God by the way we listen to gospel preaching. If the sermon seems dry and unappealing, it may be because we have no thirst for righteousness!
How we choose to hear God's word is a serious matter. On one occasion, Jesus said to His listeners, "Take care then how you hear, for to the one who has, more will be given, and from the one who has not, even what he thinks that he has will be taken away" (Lk. 8:18). We need to be like certain ones who heard Jesus teach in the temple, about whom it was said that they "heard him gladly" (Mk. 12:37).
When Cornelius, the Gentile centurion, was instructed by an angel to send for Peter, who would tell him what God wanted him to do, Cornelius eagerly did exactly what the angel said. A few days later, when Peter and his companions arrived, Cornelius was not only ready to hear God's word, but he had gathered together many of his friends and relatives. He told Peter about the angel's words to him, and said, "So I sent for you at once, and you have been kind enough to come. Now therefore we are all here in the presence of God to hear all that you have been commanded by the Lord" (Ac. 10:33). Today, we need to have the same kind of readiness to hear God's word!
This week, let's take the time to consider improving the attitude and manner in which we listen when God's word is being presented. Not only for our own sakes, but for the sake of our example to others, let's listen with true interest to everything that is said in our assemblies.
Monday: Deuteronomy 31:9-13
Key Idea: God wants us to listen with interest when His word is being presented.
Questions for Family Growth: What did Moses command to be done every seven years in Israel? Who all was to be involved in this activity? How long do you think this might have taken? Why was there a need for this to be done?
Wisdom for the Day: Proverbs 16:26.
Tuesday: Acts 20:7-12
Key Idea: If we are interested, we will want to hear more than just a little of God's word.
Questions for Family Growth: What special gathering took place on the first day of the week in Troas? What did Paul do during this assembly? How long did the thing last that Paul did? Why do you think people would object to such a thing today?
Wisdom for the Day: Proverbs 16:27-30.
Wednesday: Acts 10:1-23
Key Idea: God knows whether our hearts are interested in His word or not.
Questions for Family Growth: Who was Cornelius? What kind of man was he? What message from God did an angel bring to Cornelius? What kind of attitude do you think Cornelius had toward hearing God's word?
Wisdom for the Day: Proverbs 16:31.
Thursday: Acts 10:24-33
Key Idea: The person who pleases God is the person who is eager to hear His word.
Questions for Family Growth: What did Cornelius do when Peter arrived? What did Cornelius say when Peter asked why he had been sent for? What does v.33 say about Cornelius and his attitude toward God's word?
Wisdom for the Day: Proverbs 16:32.
Friday: Acts 10:34-48
Key Idea: If our hearts are right, we will apply what we hear from God's word to ourselves.
Questions for Family Growth: How did Cornelius' family learn what they needed to do to be saved? How do we today learn the plan of salvation? Will God's word do us any good if we do not apply it to ourselves? Why is it important to obey God promptly?
Wisdom for the Day: Proverbs 16:33.