Tag Archives: Listen

Did You Hear That?

Its way too early, but I wake up, my heart rate elevated, ears straining for the sound that summoned me from slumber. There it is, the squeal of a sleepy but hungry 5 month old. I sit up, ascertain it is indeed my baby while waiting for the room to settle, scuff on my slippers, and go in to the precious little one who awaits my response.

There are at least four babies in our neighbourhood, and sometimes though open windows, it is difficult to tell if the crying one is mine.

Our ears are tunable. We select over time what grabs our attention, and what passes unnoticed.  The two people closest to me are David and Raphael, and my ears are particularly sensitive to their voices.  I trust David’s observations in my life because he has proven his discernment many times over. I listen intently for Raphael because he depends so entirely on me for his existence.

But there is One whose voice I value and listen for above any human voice. One who loves and desires my attention more than my husband or 5 month old.  On this Voice, I am dependant for my very life.

“I tell you the truth, anyone who sneaks over the wall of a sheepfold, rather than going through the gate, must surely be a thief and a robber!  But the one who enters through the gate is the shepherd of the sheep.  The gatekeeper opens the gate for him, and the sheep recognize his voice and come to him. He calls his own sheep by name and leads them out.  After he has gathered his own flock, he walks ahead of them, and they follow him because they know his voice.  They won’t follow a stranger; they will run from him because they don’t know his voice.” (John 10)

Many voices make it into the sheep fold of our lives and try to lead us.  Not all of them are God, although some may masquerade as God.   Sometimes even a trusted friend or shepherd/leader will bear a message that does not come from The Shepherd, and it is the voice of the Holy Spirit, speaking to my spirit that must discern whether the two line up.

I have been that sheep; thinking I am hearing Jesus, I turn to go a direction He did not call from. As I grow, I know more intimately His voice, and His ways.  I am learning that to follow the voice of reason in my mind when it contradicts my Shepherd, gets me into a reasonable amount of trouble.

The Shepherd would never put His sheep in a position that would compromise their ultimate wellbeing.  Even when we find ourselves, precariously perched on perilous ledges of our own choosing, He is faithful and kind to lead us back to the fold.

What do you do to grow more attune to the voice of God in your life? Does trusting yourself over Jesus keep you from following sometimes?  What is Jesus saying to you today?

The Mountain Where The Battle Was Won

As I learn about spiritual authority, the following memory comes to mind:

The Central Asian landscape seems to reflect the spiritual hardness of the valley we camped in.  Alcoholism, sexual/physical abuse, spiritual darkness and shamanism were only the beginning of resistance we felt toward the gospel message we longed to share with the nomadic people we met in this valley.

Every time we attempted to share the gospel, a distraction from the herds, arriving travellers and countless other interruptions arose and people seemed completely disinterested.  As usual, there was a spiritual dynamic contributing to the closed doors we felt whenever we began to share.  There was a battle to be fought and won before there would be any open doors in this place.

But this morning,  Jesus was inviting my beloved and I up the mountain overlooking the entire valley and the homes scattered through it. Believing God had more for these people than simply lending a hand shearing their sheep and helping with their herds, we began the trek up the mountain.

Surveying the valley below, we worshipped and proclaimed the authority and sovereignty of God over it.  Speaking promises from His Word over our friends, we declared the gospel would take root here before we left. As a symbolic gesture of faith, we planted a small gospel of John under a a rock on the mountain.

We took captive and silenced every unclean ruler, authority, and spirit that Ephesians 6 talks about, forbidding them to operate or influence the minds of the people. We invited the Holy Spirit to fill the valley with the presence and peace of Jesus, and to soften hearts and minds to the beauty of Christ and His gospel of reconciliation.

When we felt peace that the battle was over, we picked our way back down into the valley where our team had been helping a family shear sheep. They had disappeared into the tent for milk tea, and as we ducked inside, to our surprise and delight, we found our team leading the entire family minus one teenage boy to Jesus. Their faces shone as we joined in teaching them how to pray, study the Bible, and resist the demonic attacks we knew would come to test their newfound faith.

Looking back, I see how easy it is to miss what God is saying in the “doing” of every day. It would have been natural to feel badly about not joining in the hot, sweaty work of shearing, and miss the soft voice of Jesus, inviting us up the mountain.

So often, the battle is not won in immersing ourselves in the “work” of the day to day. It is won in listening and obeying the Master. Jesus went off into the wilderness alone to be with the Father continually throughout His ministry. I believe that is where His intimacy and power were rooted, allowing Him to do the things He did.

What would happen if I went into the wilderness alone with Jesus on a daily basis. If I want to see the results of people encountering Jesus through my life, I must first be saturated with His presence and learn to first win the battle in the spiritual realm.

Have you had battles on the mountains? What does time in the wilderness with Jesus look like for you? Do you long for more of the presence and authority of Jesus in your life?

The Dune Buggy

I have been doing a lot of listening lately. When God gives you an impossible assignment (real life is much more exciting than James Bond), you need to get your directions from the One who will be contributing the power! So I sat in the sand by the water waiting for the first step.

I know God is pretty much set on His end, but with limited energy and strength, I am realizing without detailed instructions and God’s power of multiplication, I will go hopelessly amuck and run out of strength.

Faithfulness is not doing things for God. Faithfulness is doing what God asks. I have often mixed the two up, asking God to bless something I was doing “for Him” that was not His design for me.

As I waited, I had a picture of a dune buggy travelling across the sand. If you don’t know what a dune buggy is, its a stripped down vehicle on an open chassis with big sand tires.

The picture was a clear analogy of how I am to travel. Strip down the unnecessary things. Things that take energy but are not in line with the calling for this season. Get my dune buggy light so it doesn’t get bogged down and stall out. (I have a lot of experience with running out of gas and stalling out with this body of mine).

I need big soft tires that can speed over the hard beaches, but can gear down and crawl through the soft deep patches without getting stuck. A dune buggy doesn’t worry so much about speed, it is intent on covering the terrain successfully.  I don’t need all the accessories, just 4 Wheel drive and good engine and tires.

The most important part of this dune buggy is the navigator.  I need a navigator who knows what places to avoid, and when to slow down and when to push through. Without the navigator, quicksand is a problem!  Without the navigator, successfully covering terrain in the wrong direction is a problem.  The Holy Spirit is God’s gift to us; He is our Guide, our Teacher, and the one who empowers us to obey!  He’s the best Navigator.  Period.

In life we get one go round to know Jesus as fully as we are able and to allow Him complete access to our life for His Kingdom.  If I am headed in the wrong direction, common sense tells me I have to backtrack before I can get back on track.  I want to do the least amount of backtracking as possible in the go round I am given, and so I am committing today again, to listen intently to my Navigator!

What are some things you can pare down in your life to give you more energy for God led adventures?  Are you able to rest and gear down when you hit deep sand, or do you stall out?