A Lost Art: Part Three by Ps Michael Podhaczky
In some previous blogs, I spoke about how we need to listen more than we talk and not be overcome with the chattering world around us. One aspect of this is that the discipline known as solitude as an art has, for the most part, been lost. It has been said that solitude is “A state of being alone without being lonely and can lead to self-awareness.”  I would add to this definition that it is having an awareness of the presence of the Holy Spirit.

This was something that was part of Jesus’ lifestyle. He would go alone  somewhere to be with His Father.  Jesus was “led by the Spirit into the wilderness” (Matt 4:1); He “went out to a desolate place” (Mk 1:35; Lk 4:42); and He “went up on the mountain by Himself to pray...alone” (Matt 14:23). If Jesus needed to do this continually, then how much more do we need to do the same.

On this matter, it has correctly been said that,
“Silence and solitude are not ideal states, but rhythms of life to steady us for a fruitful return to people and noise… In fact, it is for increased engagement with God’s word and prayer that is at the heart of good silence and solitude… You may not know how bad you needed silence and solitude until you get to know them.”

Pause in His presence for a moment and think this over… 
A Lost Art: Part Two by Ps Michael Podhaczky
In the previous blog, I spoke about how we can tend to talk too much instead of listening.Then I mentioned how we could get lost in the noise of the world around us. Sometimes we can be overwhelmed by the amount of babble that comes our way in a given day. A study conducted in 2008 has suggested that an average person devours as much as 100,000 words every day. However, if we now include a study from 2013 , things like social media and other electronic mediums have added another 54,000 words a day. This has become so bad that a phrase has been coined to refer to it:. “infobesity”. That is,
“The condition of continually consuming large amounts of information, especially when this has a negative effect on a person's well-being and ability to concentrate.”[1]
It has even been called the Gen Y infobesity epidemic.

Now do not get me wrong, I am not advocating for a ban on technology. I am simply asking in this day and age of electronic voices assaulting us, how we can rediscover the lost art of listening to God? That is, how do we as David says,
“For God alone, O my soul, wait in silence, for my hope is from Him” (Ps 62:5 ESV).

Pause in His presence for a moment and think this over…

A Lost Art: Part One by Ps Michael Podhaczky
I don’t know about you, but sometimes I can tend to love the sound of my own voice and talk too much instead of listening. Then there are times when I simply get lost in the noise of the world around me. There are times when I cannot hear God’s voice or the voice of the one that is speaking to me because either the world or I am just too noisy.

Being quiet and just listening seems to be a lost art these days. That is, just zipping our mouth and letting our ears do all of the work. I recently read about a man who did not speak for 17 years, wow that is a long time. John Francis though that the problem was with his voice, not his soul. He said,
“I used words to hide from people and from myself… I decided not to speak for one day, as a kind of gift to my community. My girlfriend thought I was doing a nice thing. When I woke the next day, I didn’t see any reason to speak, so I didn’t… I liked not speaking. It gave me peace… After 17 years of not speaking, I felt I had something to say.”
Now I am not saying that we need to go to this extreme, but sometimes we need just to stop talking and listen. It is also essential to healthy relationships with God and each other. I like what James had to say on this matter,
“Post this at all the intersections, dear friends: Lead with your ears, follow up with your tongue” (Jas 1:19 The Message).

Pause in His presence for a moment and think this over… 
Listen More by Ps Michael Podhaczky
Last week I read an article by Eugene Peterson, a pastor, and writer of the Message translation of the Bible. In it he made a confronting comment (relating to preaching) which I thought was an important spiritual outlook. He said:
“My approach to preaching was developed by reversing what was so common in American Protestantism: Trying to treat God as an answer-person. And we don’t know enough about God to know what to ask. So we listen, and we listen, and we listen.”[1]

His words are quite challenging.  Although speaking within the context of American Protestantism, it also relates to us here in Australia.  How many times have we treated God as an answer-person?  If we are honest, we only want the answers that suit us and our comfortable lifestyles. If He gives us an answer that we don’t like or we’re uncomfortable with, then we say that it’s not from God.

As Peterson said, “We don’t know enough about God to know what to ask.”  I see two reasons for this. Firstly, He is God, infinitely immense in every way - even His will - and we are finitely human in our understanding.  Secondly, sin has totally corrupted us in every way, and we need transformation, which is slowly taking place (the work of sanctification).

The answer that Peterson has suggested is really hard for most of us actually to accept. That is, we are to “Listen, and we listen, and we listen.”   I don’t know about you, but while I think I m a good listener, I bet that I am a lousy one.  We all want action now, not to stop and listen for Him or to Him either by ourselves or with others. Peterson in his Bible translation said,
6 “Listen for God’s voice in everything you do, everywhere you go; He’s the One who will keep you on track. 7 Don’t assume that you know it all. Run to God! Run from evil!” (Prov 3:6-7 The Message Bible).

Pause in His presence for a moment and think this over…

[1] “Eugene Peterson: What Most Pastors Don’t Know about Pastoring.” http://churchleaders.com/podcast/305503-eugene-peterson-pastors-dont-know-pastoring.html(10th July 2017).
Your Last Week on Earth by Ps Michael Podhaczky
What would you do if an angel appeared to you and told you that you had one week left to live here on earth?  What would you change about how you have been living?  What would you do or stop doing before you met God?

This whole incident of an angel appearing to us with this news would be quite sobering. We do not know how much time we have left.  We all live on borrowed time, i.e. borrowed from God. He has gifted each of us with an amount of time that varies from person to person.  We can all tend to lose track of how our life is going and what are our priorities. Would you need change anything?

The more I thought about this scenario, the more I realised that I would not change a thing.  I would keep doing what I have been doing. The reason for this is that I believe that I am living right in the will of God.  If I were doing things that are not in the will of God, then I need to ask why?

This does not only affect my life but also those around me, even those who are not Christ-followers.  If I claim to be a Christ-follower, then I need to live like one, otherwise my life is a lie. Paul, in writing to the Colossians, pointed out how to live as a
Christ-follower and then summarised by saying:
“Live wisely among those who are not believers, and make the most of every opportunity” (Col 4:5 NLT).

We will all have a last week here on earth.  When it will be only God knows. So why wait for our last week, day or hours to change the way we live?  What is stopping us living like this now, today, right this minute?  It is never too late to start.

Pause in His presence for a moment and think this over… 
Time a Gift to Waste or Use it’s Your choice! By Ps Michael Podhaczky
We are all given 24 hours each day, and it’s ours to do with as we choose. For example, yesterday is gone and never coming back, so, how did you use itIn this day and agetime has almost become the new currency. Either people are said, to be time poor or time richThere are things like job pressures, life pressures and home pressures, etcThese and other pressures place a great demand on our families and us.

The Bible encourages us to “redeem” the time, cf. Eph 5:16; Col 4:5. It has been said that “Time is like money; the less you have of it to spare the further we make it go.” Our life is too short to waste. So it may help to remember that,
Time is a resource that is non-renewable and non-transferable. You cannot store it, slow it up, hold it up, divide it up or give it up. You can’t hoard it up or save it for a rainy day when it’s lost it is unrecoverable. When you kill time, remember that it has no resurrection.”
So, we need to be good stewards, especially in this time-pressured world. We need to work out our prioritiesand need to stick to them while enjoying life. A Kingdom solution here could be,
“Those who donated time, doing tasks for others, felt more time affluent than those who wasted time, gained a sudden windfall of free time, or lavished extra time on themselves, reading a book or getting a pedicure.”
Andrew Murray a well know Christian author has said, 
“Time is a quality that accommodates itself to our will; we will soon succeed in finding time for.”
Pause in His presence for a moment and think this over