Monday, April 9, 2012

I know that voice!

"...his sheep follow him because they know his voice...
I am the good shepherd; I know my sheep and my sheep know me..."
John 10:4b, 14

Last week my chaplain and I were manning a table at a fundraiser and listening to - unfortunately for me - golf. The Master's tournament to be precise. Three things about that:

  1. I know nothing about golf.
  2. I don't want to know anything about golf.
  3. As loud as it was I was able to tune it out. I heard none of it.

And for the chaplain:
  1. He was completely focused on it.
  2. He knows hundreds of pieces of trivia related to the game, the courses, the clubs and the costs.
  3. He recognizes the players by their voices. 
It's that last point that I want to stay with for a minute. It's not such an unusual thing to recognize someone by their voice. We do it all the time: family, friends, musicians, actors, politicians. It is said that a mother can recognize her baby's cry or laugh in a room full of children. For a patient who is dying it is believed that hearing is the last sense to go. It is a gift from God that allows us to hear the comforting voices of our loved ones at the end of our lives, even when we seem to be unaware. 

Yes, there is great power in a voice. 

So here's the big question...

Do you know God's voice when you hear it?

How can you know? Here are some things to consider:

  • Is what you hear consistent with scripture? If not, you can stop right here. God never contradicts himself. It should go without saying that you can't be sure of this if you're not in God's word consistently. 
  • Do godly people you know and trust validate and confirm what you hear? Have you ever told someone that you feel God leading you into a particular place of service or to a specific decision, only to have them immediately say that God had placed that very thing on their hearts for you? That's validation. These are people who pray for you regularly and hold you accountable. They know what's going on with you and are not surprised when God moves in a particular way.
  • Do you experience a peace about your decision even if it makes you nervous or a little afraid? When God calls us to action that action is very likely to take us out of our comfort zone. That's a great thing because it means that he is about to do something in us or through us that only he can do! It can also make us want to run for the hills. When your focus is on God and not your feelings, do you know deep in your soul that it is right? That is from God.
  • Do you trust God to lead you and accept when he closes a door? Any time we are faced with a big decision my husband and I pray this prayer:
    "Lord, if this is your will open every door for us, and if not, please slam it in our faces. Don't even give us an opportunity to make the wrong choice." Pretty simple right? That's why we pray that prayer. Years ago we prayed that prayer when he was interviewing for a job that we just knew he would get. Then he got the call that they had hired someone else. We couldn't believe it! It would have been the perfect job for him. What was up with that? As we sat talking about it we remembered our prayer. It was such an amazing feeling to see that disappointment as an answer to prayer. God had absolutely not allowed that door to open. If we pray like that we can hardly complain when he marks our paths and guides us by closing doors. 
  • Do you spend enough time with him, just listening to him and getting to know his heart, that you can recognize when something is not of God? Law enforcement officers are trained to recognize counterfeit money by studying and becoming familiar with the real thing. They know when something doesn't look right. That's how it is with God. We should be able to discern things that are not of God - with the guidance of the Holy Spirit - because we know Him so well. 
The bottom line is, the more time we spend in communication with God the easier it is to recognize his voice when he speaks to us. 

How are you doing with this? Need to spend some more time listening?  Me too. 

Start today. There's no time like the present to get started with this. MAKE and SCHEDULE some time with your Savior today. Open his word and let it speak his heart to you. Sit quietly and meditate on what you read, asking God to speak to your heart. 

What about you? How do you know when God is speaking to you? 

Thanks for visiting today. I am praying for you.


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