Psalm 85:8, "I will listen to what God the Lord will say..."
It seems there are many things I want to share from my time in Colorado ~ so, I'm going to dive in!
On Sunday, our pastor spoke from John 10: 1-10. There were several things that jumped out - but here is the first one:
John 10:3-5, "The watchman opens the gate for him, and the sheep listen to his voice. He calls his own sheep by name and leads them out. When he has brought out all his own, he goes on ahead of them, and his sheep follow him because they know his voice. But they will never follow a stranger, in fact, they will run away from him because they do not recognize a stranger's voice."
The shepherd here is Jesus and we are the sheep. Do I eagerly listen for His voice to guide me as a shepherd guides the sheep?
A point our pastor made is that if the shepherd was on one side of a ravine and the sheep were on the other side, if the shepherd called - the sheep would go even if it meant to their death. They did not question, talk back or doubt the shepherd - they just did what his voice said.
Isaiah 28:23, "Listen and hear my voice; pay attention and hear what I say."
And, a bigger thought - do I run away from the voices of strangers? Those voices that are not my Shepherd's?
There are many voices putting in opinions, pressure or doubts every day. Am I willing to tune out all but HIS voice? Am I willing to turn away from each voice that does not sound like His?
Deuteronomy 32:46-47a, "'Take to heart all the words I have solemnly declared to you this day, so that you may command your children to obey carefully all the words of this law. They are not just idle words for you - they are your life.'"
Yet, I think the biggest question of all is do I know what His voice sounds like? Am I listening for it?
No, I have never heard God audibly speak to me. But, I have heard His voice through His creation, His Word, His Spirit impressing things on my heart, those around me who love Him, and His still small voice that brings things to mind.
Mark 9:7, "Then a cloud appeared and enveloped them, and a voice came from the cloud, 'This is my Son, whom I love. Listen to him!'"
So ~ when I write that God has given me an idea or a thought - what does that mean? First of all it means that every gift, every talent, every ability He has given me is indeed just that - a gift from Him. It is the way He has made me, equipped me to do His work. And, these things are to be used to bring Him glory.
Second, it means that I am seeking Him - I am studying His Word and saying Lord, what would You have me make to share this verse? (This specifically relates to the Proverbs 31 crafting.) While I am studying a verse or spending time thinking about it - He will allow one word to jump out or a thought and then impress an idea on my heart relating to that verse.
Do I think God speaks to other people besides just me? Absolutely. It would be untrue to think anything else - and completely dishonorable to God to claim any such thing. However, I do believe that when God speaks to anyone it is always in line with His Word. If it doesn't line up with His Word - I can know that it is not His voice.
What about His Word? I believe that the Bible is a book of God's words written down by inspired men. Men who were acting under God's direction and the work of His Holy Spirit. Yes, the words were actually written down by humans so that we could still have them today. But they were not just writing down their own words yet the words of God for all ages.
I am not good at tuning out other voices and get overly concerned about what others think. But the one thought that has been in my head for a week now is to hear ONE VOICE. Learn to recognize ONE VOICE. Listen to and seek ONE VOICE.
Lord, please teach me to tune out the voices that are not from You. Strengthen me to turn from the other voices and run away from them ~ running to You. Teach me to listen to Your voice and Your voice alone. Thank You for Your Word and its truth. It's challenge and it's encouragement.
In Jesus' Name - Amen.