Thursday, July 22, 2010

Two ears, one mouth...

It was 7 in the morning and I was wondering why I was even awake, then I realized my door was cracked open just wide enough to allow a dog to come in. It was then I knew why I woke up. I have a 4 year old yorky named Snickers (to me his name is Puppy, Mr. Puppy when I am upset) who for whatever reason has chosen me to be his best friend in the house. That dog loves me. Normally, his routine is to wait until my alarm clock goes off. Upon hearing it, he quickly rushes to my door and patiently waits for me to open it. If the door doesn't open quickly enough for him, he'll begin scratching at my door, whine and bark, begging me to come out so I can say hello.

This morning was different though. When he went to scratch the door, it opened. I was completely silent when he walked in. He didn't know I was in the room. I could hear him sitting in the center of my room panting, looking for a sign of life. I could hear his discouragement when he let out an almost silent whimper and began to walk out of my room. I smiled and just said "puppy" in an almost silent 7 in the morning voice (the kind of voice you can barely make out) and he quickly jumped for joy. Immediately he jumped onto my bed and began running around in circles just barking and licking. It was awesome.

Made me wonder though. Is that how we are? Like puppy, we too should have that someone whose voice makes us scream for joy. The voice that when heard, causes our hearts to melt and makes us want to run in circles just praising in love. Not knowing what to do or say, we are just all over the place, in pure awe that He would even talk to us. Is that how we respond?

John 10:27 My sheep hear My voice, and I know them, and they follow Me.

As Christians, we should always know what His voice sounds like and if we don't then we ought to figure out why that is and get as near to Him as possible. The closer we draw to Him, the closer He draws to us (James 4:8). This is why it is so important that we get in His word and we pray. When we pray, we must always remember that it is dialogue with God, not a monologue. A lot of the times we get so caught up in asking asking asking that we fail to remember, "Prayer is about getting to God, not the answer." (Chambers) How else are you going to get to God if you don't listen to Him? How else are you going to know His voice if you don't listen for it. It is important because as John tells us in 1 John 2:23 we need to know the Son, else we don't have the father. John is exhorting us to have an intimate relationship with Christ.

A.W. Tozer put it well in his book Man's Pursuit of God (get it, it rocks!)(and sorry, the quote is long)

Whoever will listen will hear the speaking Heaven. This is definitely not the hour when men take kindly to an exhortation to listen, for listening is not today a part of popular religion. We are at the opposite end of the pole from there. Religion has accepted the monstrous heresy that noise, size, activity and bluster make a man dear to God. But we may take heart. To a people caught in the tempest of the last great conflict God says, “Be still, and know that I am God,” and still He says it, as if He means to tell us that our strength and safety lie not in noise but in silence.

Take a 5 minute break right now, and ask God to speak to you. Pick a Psalm right now (Psalm 43, 44, 50, 51, 81, 84, 37, 100 pick one!)and just read it and keep silent and listen. Did He rock you? Alright let's keep going! (Praise God)

A lot of the time, we get caught up in like I said, asking asking asking, that we don't consider the other side of a conversation: listening. James tells us that we need to be quick to listen, slow to speak, and slow to anger. Quick to listen to His word, slow to speak back, and slow to becoming angry if we don't like what we hear. But if it is God speaking, and we know His voice, why should we be angry? Ever stopped to wonder? I know I have. How can we get mad at God. If you haven't read Micah, check it out, sweet little book. In it, in chapter 6 verses 1-8, we see God contending with Israel. He is asking them "Why?" In verse 4 He reminds them of their captivity in Egypt and how God rescued them. Now this isn't the first time God does this in the bible. There are countless verses in which God has to remind the people that He is God and that He has rescued them. Why is that?

What is it about ourselves that gives us the right to second guess God? As Christians, when we hear God's voice, we should be just as excited as my puppy was this morning. "Yeah well sometimes God isn't exactly the nicest guy, sometimes the trials hurt!" Yeah, well consider this: Rev 3:19 As many as I love, I rebuke and chasten. Therefore be zealous and repent. Imagine that, even in chastening, there is love.

We aren't always going to like what we hear from God, that is a given. He tells us time and time again that we aren't going to understand His ways, however, that in no way gives us the right to question Him. Job learned that when God answered him in Job 38. Beautiful chapter of the bible. God has to remind Job who laid the foundations, who controls the ocean, who feeds the animals, who provides shelter, who causes rain, who guides lightning, who makes ice, who causes it to melt, who guides the sun.

If God is control of everything, and through Him all things are made. If it His God who holds the universe together by the power of His word, if it is God who does all things (and all things He does are good James 1:17) and works out all things for the good of those who love Him (Rom 8:28) why don't we listen to Him. He should be the first person we go to, He should be the first voice we look out for.

God speaks through a variety of ways. Sometimes it is through His word, sometimes through a person, and sometimes, in silence.

There are plenty of times in life, I know at least for me, where we feel as though the voice of God is silent. "He isn't speaking to me" we say with a discouraged faint and as a result we waiver and in some cases we fall. What if God keeps silent on purpose? What if His silence is His answer? Every stopped to wonder that sometimes God keeps silent to teach us something. What if we have become so dependent on His blessings that we have forgotten that it has nothing to do with His blessings and everything to do with Him, the Giver of the blessings. So God is being silent, that doesn't mean He isn't working. This is where faith steps in. Perhaps our faith is being tested, and in this test, we'll come out with a stronger more immovable faith.

We have to go through valleys to gain perspective. You won't know just how high the highest mountain top is, until you have first seen the lowest valley. Remember this,

Matt 10:29 Are not two sparrows sold for a copper coin? And not one of them falls to the ground apart from your Father’s will. 30 But the very hairs of your head are all numbered. 31 Do not fear therefore; you are of more value than many sparrows.

Whether in good times or in troubling periods, God is speaking, listen for His voice and remember, it's God, who cares if we don't like what we hear, quit focusing on the your feelings toward the message and start focusing on God's feelings toward you. Listen for His voice and learn it well. Once you know it's Him'll melt...

Job 2:10b "Shall we indeed accept good from God, and shall we not accept adversity?”

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