Listening Up Close and Personal

Did you listen?

The video. Did you listen? If you didn’t take time to listen to the video, will you? Please?

What did you hear?

The surf. As you listen to the surf, what are your impressions bubbled to the surface?

Did you listen for the full 28 seconds? Or did you quickly move on because you’ve heard the ocean surf before?

Did you hear me say, “Yet will the rocks cry out!”?

If you were able to hear it, you might wonder why that was my very first comment as I stood for the first time on the California coastline.

Here… Listen again. Let me zoom in close.

The distinction in the sounds of the waves crashing on the shoreline versus the soothing, even tinkling sound of the water running through the rocks was immediate for me. I grew up on the east coast of the US, and my beach experience involves shells rather than rocks piled along the sandy shore.

Also, I was present. I was listening in person. The sounds were 3D and involved all of my senses. I could walk along the sand and distinguish the sounds of the waves from the sounds of the rocks and birds and the voices of people and the wind blowing.

In short, I was listening – up close & personal.

While there in California I wanted to capture the unique sounds of the surf in the rocks, which caused my first response to be…

“Yet will the rocks cry out!”

Fortunately, I listened to the first video before we left the beach, and realized the sound of the rocks was not distinguishable. Determined to bring the sound home with me, I decided I needed to hold my phone (on video) down close to the rocks and the surf. It was risky, but worth it to me to be able to play it back now and remember.

This morning I read the passage of Scripture in Matthew 17, which recounts the transfiguration of Jesus up on the high mountain. Interestingly, Jesus selected only three of His disciples to journey with Him that day. Jesus took them up close & personal to experience Him in communion with His Father.

The experience involved all the senses. They saw Jesus’ face shine like the sun and His clothes become as white as light. Suddenly, they realized their congregation had increased as they witnessed Moses and Elijah speaking to Jesus.

Could they even comprehend what was happening? It was a unique experience. I’m pretty sure if cell phones had been invented Peter would have attempted to take a selfie and possibly record the conversations to play for the others later. Instead, Peter began talking and tried to make a plan for how to preserve the moment the old fashioned way – by setting up tents.

However, Father God broke in with an up close & personal message for all present. A bright cloud enveloped the group and a voice from the cloud said, “This is my Son, whom I love; with Him I am well pleased. Listen to Him!”

The in person experience caused the three men to fall facedown to the ground. They were terrified as their senses took in this up close listening experience. But Jesus touched them and told them to get up. He assured them in His regular earthly skin that they did not need to be afraid. Moses and Elijah were gone. The cloud was no longer surrounding them.

Yet, would they ever forget the time Jesus took them up close & personal to listen? I doubt they needed a recording.

And, I doubt I will forget the lesson I learned about listening in real life with all my senses rather than through the distractions of media. I’m determined more and more to listen up close & personal, especially tuning in for the quieter voice of Holy Spirit.

That’s the way I see it. What do you think?

Eyes on Jesus and SHINE,


Day 10: My daughter, will you {listen} to me?

So Boaz said to Ruth, “My daughter, listen to me.  Don’t go and glean in another field and don’t go away from here.  Stay here with my servant girls.  Watch the field where the men are harvesting, and follow along after the girls.  I have told the men not to touch you.  And whenever you are thirsty, go and get a drink from the water jars the men have filled.”  Ruth 2:8-9 niv

Then Ruth the Moabitess said, “He even said to me, ‘Stay with my workers until they finish harvesting all my grain.'”  …So Ruth stayed close to the servant girls of Boaz to glean until the barley and wheat harvests were finished.  And she lived with her mother-in-law.  Ruth 2:21 & 23 niv

31 days gleaning bushel of wheatRuth listened.  She listened with her heart and she listened with a desire to glean wisdom.

Ruth listened to Naomi and learned the ways of God’s people.  Better yet, she put into action all she had gleaned from Naomi.  Ruth’s behavior is evidence of her listening.

When Ruth found herself in the private audience of Boaz with whom she found favor, she listened.  His instructions (as were Naomi’s) were for her welfare.  Ruth couldn’t afford to be arrogant or dismissive or distracted from Boaz’s instructions.  Listening to him and obeying his directions could mean her safe dwelling – even her life.

{Listen}  Do I listen?

Maybe the better question is this:  Do I listen to instruction?  Do I take heed?

I am reminded of many memories of my childhood.  I could give you a number of examples of the ‘young me’ choosing not to listen to instructions.  However, I am inclined to relate a time I chose to really listen.  The stakes were high, and I knew it.

I was 6 years old when we moved to the house on 93rd Court in Perrine, Florida.  In those days children walked or rode their bikes to school, and I wanted to walk to Whispering Pines Elementary like the others.

My Dad, wise, was not going to send his little girl off walking to school without knowing the correct path.  I thought I could just follow the other kids and get there, but that was not a wise plan according to my Dad.  I needed to know the path for myself.  I needed landmarks, and I needed the assurance and confidence of knowing I was on the right path in case someone might try to lead me elsewhere.

So, we walked from our house toward the school, me and my Dad.  At each turn, we stopped…we looked around.  He asked me questions.  What do you see at this corner so you know to turn right?  What do you see here so you will know to turn left?  The one I remember best is the yellow house with the black shutters.  Turn left. Go up to the crosswalk and there it is – Whispering Pines Elementary School.

We practiced.  I listened.  I walked out all the steps I practiced with my Dad.  And on that first day when I arrived safely at school – all by myself – I was so proud and excited!  I didn’t get lost.  I was safe.  I had walked with all the other kids, but not following.  I walked confidently knowing the way.

me and dad

I was completely unaware my Dad was following a distance behind me in our VW bug… just to make sure his little girl made it safely on the way he taught her.


Blessed is the one who listens to me,
    watching daily at my gates,
    waiting beside my doors.
For whoever finds me finds life
    and obtains favor from the Lord, Proverbs 8:34-35 esv


Here I am this morning, finding myself wanting to glean with Ruth under the direction of my trustworthy Redeemer.

I need to listen, Lord Jesus.  I need to really stop and listen to Your instructions for my life.  Walk with me today in this uncharted territory.  Help me to stop with You and look around.  Show me the landmarks of Your Word and teach me Your way – Everlasting.  Thank You Holy Spirit, I never walk alone!

  • How about you, friend?  Would you like to glean with me in this field today?
  • As you ponder the two Scriptures below, what is Holy Spirit highlighting for you?  What does the Lord want you to know about your life journey?  Finding His way?  Following His directions?
  • Will you share your gleanings with the rest of us in the comments?

Serve only the Lord your God and fear him alone. Obey his commands, listen to his voice, and cling to him.  Deuteronomy 13:4 nlt

(As Jesus was transfigured before his 3 disciples they experienced this)  And a cloud overshadowed them, and a voice came out of the cloud, “This is my beloved Son; listen to him.”  And suddenly, looking around, they no longer saw anyone with them but Jesus only.  Mark 9:6-8 esv