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Stop! Look? Listen!

First, winter slips away…then spring comes
and goes…and then summer is upon us.

I think sometimes we fail to appreciate
this beautiful change of seasons. The
wonder of God’s creation becomes commonplace
and we take it for granted. How long has it
been since you really stopped and took time
to look and listen to everything around you?

Several weeks ago, my husband, Jack,
and I were on an airliner flying home from
California. For weeks we’d been extremely
busy working on our television programs
and completing the TV studio and
production center in our new World Outreach
Center. I’d planned to use the time on the
plane to catch up on some of my reading.

My Father’s world

After a while, I glanced out the
window — and the beautiful panorama I saw
nearly took my breath away. It happened
to be an unusually clear day, and as I looked
down, I could see the Grand Canyon. It
was spectacular! I stopped what I was
doing and just drank in the grandeur unfolding
below me.

In a little while, the plane was soaring
over the majestic Rocky Mountains of Colorado.
Oh, what a magnificent sight! I
started smiling — I even laughed out loud! I
thought, My Father created all of this — and
more! I’m only seeing one small part of one
little planet in God’s great cosmos
. And my
heart was thrilled.

It occurred to me that this was the first
time in a long while — perhaps months — that
I’d stopped and really looked at my Father’s
world. I was only sorry that I couldn’t hear
the glorious sounds of nature below me
instead of the steady roar of the jet engines.

But that experience on the plane was a
good reminder for me. Since then I’ve been
making an effort to go outside and Stop!
Look! and Listen! every day. And what a
refreshing, rejuvenating, healing experience
it is for me!

Wonders all around us

When Jack and I go for a walk or take a
break out in our backyard, we make it a
point to look and listen to the wonders
around us. There are some rabbits that
visit us, and some chipmunks that live in a
hole under one of our large trees. They are
so active — so happy and full of life. It’s a
joy to watch them.

Sometimes it even seems to me that all
of God’s creation around me is rejoicing.
Not long ago, Isaw a mother robin building
her nest. She was gathering tiny pieces of
grass, twigs, and string and weaving them
all together. She worked so diligently,
chirping happily all the while. I found myself
caught up in that beautiful creature’s joy.

But recently I’ve detected something else,
too. At times I can almost hear the voices
of nature saying, “Release us from the
pollution that is surrounding us right now.
Restore us, Creator, come back to us!” The
Apostle Paul declared, For we know that the
whole creation groaneth and travaileth in
pain together until now
(Romans 8:22).

It’s heartbreaking to see what man is
doing to the environment — our cities are
filled with smog, litter, and trash. And even
in the wilderness remaining, man’s callous
carelessness causes disasters like the
terrible oil spill in Alaska.

God created nature perfect. It wants to
be perfect again. He created a world where
the animals, birds, and sea otters were safe.
They want to be safe again.

Despite the best efforts of scientists and
environmentalists to clean up pollution like
the oil spill, the bulk of the restoration will
have to be left to nature. And in time,
nature will cleanse itself — perhaps nearly
as pure and perfect as before.

In addition to what we’re doing to our
natural world, it seems to me there’s a lot
of pollution in our lives — the sights and
sounds around us…the visual pollution of
pornographic publications and TV programs,
the commotion and clamor that fill our daily
activities.

Surely we need to get away from all that
and let our minds be washed and rejuvenated
from Satan’s assault on our senses.
We need to focus our attention on the good
things of God. It’s time to tune in to “íwhatsoever
thingsí” are true, honest, just, pure, lovely,
and of good report (see Philippians 4:8).

Get closer to God’s creation and it will
direct you back to God.

There’s something about getting out
among the sights and sounds of nature that
helps clear away our concerns and confusion
and puts things back into perspective. No
wonder God spoke through the psalmist and
said, Be still, and know that I am God (Psalm
46:10).

“Slow me down, Lord”

I can identify with the plaintive prayer of
the poet who cried, “Slow me down, Lord,
I’m goin’ too fast!” How often we jam our
lives so full of projects and duties that we
grow weary and disheartened. We lose our
enthusiasm and zest for living. Each day
becomes an endurance contest, which we
survive only to collapse in bed for a few
hours, then get up to start the rat race all
over again.

We may even be convinced that what
we’re doing is important — we can even be in
the midst of serving God, doing His work.
But if our good works cause us to lose
personal contact with Him — if we don’t take
time, individually, to communicate with
Him — we’re missing it.

Has this ever happened to you?

Then it’s time to STOP! Make time in
your day to look and listen to God’s handiwork
around you. Take time to let God
speak to you through the wonders of His
creation. Don’t forget that Jesus himself
often took time to go away from the
multitudes. He would walk out along the
seashore or go up onto a mountain to pray and
commune with God. And I’m just sure He
took time to look and listen to what was
around Him!

If Jesus needed to spend time alone in
God’s presence, how much more you and I
need to do so. Yet, how easy it is to put off
our Bible study and cut back on our prayer
time until it becomes an empty ritual — or
we lose daily contact with the Lord
altogether. God has provided everything we
need to fulfill and enrich our lives…and if
we’re not careful, we can rush right past it
all every day.

Summer is vacation season for many
people — perhaps you’re planning some time
away. Don’t make the mistake of scheduling
your vacation so full of travel and activities
that you come back home needing to rest
from your rest! Take time to relax — be still
for a while. Stop! Look! Listen!…and let
God recharge your batteries and rejuvenate
your mind and spirit.

Hear and obey the words of our Lord in
Mark 6:31: And he said unto them, Come
ye yourselves apart into a desert place, and
rest a while.

But don’t wait until your vacation to get
started. Right now is a good time to re-open
the lines of communication with God. Take
time every day to enjoy the beautiful things
the Lord has placed all around you. Read
the Word. Talk to God. Listen for His
voice.

I promise you — when you Stop! Look!
and Listen! you will see God as you’ve never
seen Him before. You will hear the voice of
the precious Holy Spirit within you who
speaks so tenderly and gives such strength!
It will change your whole world and make
your life a rich and glorious experience
again.

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