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Saturday, December 3, 2011

4--Hear the Voice of God - Chapter 3

Hear the Voice of God
Listen and You Will Hear

And he said,
Unto you it is given
to know the mysteries of the kingdom of God:
but to others in parables;
that seeing they might not see,
and hearing they might not understand.

-Luke 8:10

Some ask, “If God exists, why is it that I never receive a Word from Him, like other people do? Why doesn’t God speak to me?”

In truth, God is always speaking to us, so perhaps the question should be: “Am I really listening?”

When I was a girl, sometimes when I asked my dad a question, he would not answer me. That was very strange because at other times we had a lot of entertaining conversations.

If I pressed him for an answer he would say, “Do whatever you want.”

Then I realized that he was not answering my question because the last time he gave me advice, I did not listen to him. He was telling me that I should do whatever I wanted to do because I was not going to listen to him anyway.

At that point my heart felt so heavy that I thought it was going to stop beating. I really wanted to talk with my dad the way we had talked before and I had to admit that I needed to hear what he had to say. He was an inventor and when I was faced with huge problems and everything looked hopeless, he had the ability to “think outside of the box” and could come up with amazing solutions that I would never have thought of myself.

My earthly father was the one who taught me that if you want your father to listen to you, you must first listen to your father. When I became a Christian, I realized that this is the same way God functions. If we hear Him, He will hear us.

Much more is involved in hearing and listening than sound waves successfully vibrating the ear drum.

Man has been given the unique ability of “selective hearing.” In other words, we can choose to tune out what we hear and not receive it, or can even reinterpret what we are hearing as it is being said. In fact, it is our natural tendency to tune God out and follow the path of least resistance where our own will is concerned.

Nevertheless, if we secretly, within our heart, choose to reject what God is saying, our “tuning out” will not remain a secret forever. God knows everything and all secrets are eventually going to be revealed for all to see.

(17)For nothing is secret,
that shall not be made manifest;
neither any thing hid,
that shall not be known and come abroad.

(18)Take heed therefore
how ye hear:
for whosoever hath,
to him shall be given;
and whosoever hath not,
from him shall be taken
even that which he seemeth to have.

-Luke 8:17-18

We can even pretend to be listening, when we are not.

We can presume to be hearing a Word from God and believe that we know exactly what He is saying, but have not heard anything God has said at all.

In this way, we deceive ourselves and others as well.

Jesus warns us, “Take heed therefore how ye hear.”

I remember one of the first times my mother told be to be careful. She said that if I put my hand on the burner of the stove, I would get a very painful burn that would keep hurting for a long, long time and nothing would be able to stop the pain until it would eventually heal.

From past experience, I knew that my mother was usually right. In any case I was not going to gamble that she was wrong and risk anything as painful as the type of burn she had described. This is how I reasoned within my heart and came to an understanding of what I had heard my mother say.

I not only heard what my mother said, I listened, remembered, and took action to avoid coming in contact with the burner on the stove.

Not so with my younger sister. While she also heard the warning, she wasn’t getting the message. She argued about it and decided that the burner was only hot when it “looked red.” Mother did not know everything. Nobody was going to tell her what to do. She would decide for herself.

So one day after Mother had cooked lunch and the burner was no longer red, my sister put her hand on it and discovered the truth. A burner that is not red can still be hot enough to burn your hand.

We must be careful how we hear and examine the details of what we are hearing before we presume that we understand what God is saying.

Many years later, this habit of disregarding warnings eventually caused my sister to lose her life.

Our desire to hear and obey determines the accuracy of what we are actually going to hear. When Jesus warns us to be careful about how we hear, He is telling us that what we hear depends on how we hear.

In reality the condition of our heart (not our ears) actually has more to do with hearing.

Fragmented Thought

Our brain was created by God to flow with complete thought patterns via electrical impulses in the brain. Whether we realize it or not, from the time we are born, our brain is learning and perfecting all the various techniques of thought.

Most of the time the brain just flows with random thought, but the brain also has to learn to intentionally compose thought, hold one thought and interject another as well as revise thoughts and connect a series of related thoughts. This is also how we compose our belief system and our basic frame of reference.

Jesus warned us to be careful how we hear, because our thoughts and belief system are influenced for good or for evil via the type of information it feeds on.

Today we are experiencing an epidemic of A.D.D. (Attention Deficit Disorder) and other very strange mental illnesses. The term “A.D.D.” is just another way of describing fragmented thinking by people who are unable to connect thought patterns and keep thoughts flowing and developing. Fragmented thinking can be caused by spiritual, physical, mental, or emotional issues that affect the brain.

The physical dimension of thought can also be affected when the brain does not receive adequate nutrition, water, and detoxification. Like every other organ of the body, it can only maintain health when it gets what it needs to function properly.

But as with any type of dysfunction in the body, the spirit, mind and emotions must also be considered.

Since the brain learns how to develop thought from the time a child is born, it is also possible that it can be taught to fragment thought as well.

If the devil wanted to fragment thought in order to sabotage the Word of God, all he would have to do is influence men to engage in activities (and expose others to activities) that work against the development of complete thought patterns. Two of the many ways this is achieved is by constant interruptions and multi-tasking too many things at once.

Take a moment and think about the many other ways words and thoughts are fragmented such as:

1) abbreviated techno-speed-speech and writing with the use of a multitude of communication gadgets and devices

2) constant interruptions by these gadgets and devices

3) overwhelming amounts of multi-tasking

4) music that isn’t really music at all, but sound that is a constant repetition of interrupted noise

5) habitually interrupted meals and activities for the purpose of rushing off to experience something else

6) Pornography, or any other addiction/compulsive self-imposed distraction that interrupts focus and changes the normal function of the mental process

7) television news casting thought-changers of today who bombard us with programs that are called “interviews” or “discussion panels” but are really no more than chaotic shouting matches and verbal interruptions of the comments attempting to be offered

8) flashing synchronized lights in movies, television programming, and commercial advertising

On the other hand, research indicates that those who study the Word of God and memorize the Scriptures are often able to successfully overcome fragmented thinking. The reason for this is found in the way God has constructed His Word. This unique design creates the amazing healing power that resides in the Word.

Because children who memorize Scripture acquire a deeper level of concentration and focus, they usually get higher grades in school—that is, unless they are being taught via the use of fragmented teaching techniques.

In other words, God designed His Word to be completely compatible with the human brain which He also designed. Furthermore, He built into His Word a healing function based on teaching the brain to complete thought patterns that flow, are able to hold one thought while interjecting another, and have an ability to revise and connect a series of related thoughts.

This correction of thought patterns does not usually happen by occasionally reading the Bible. It is a specific activity that takes place when genuine focused study in the Holy Bible is experienced.

Since the power of the Holy Spirit resides in the Word of God, He is actually the One (we are told in the Scriptures) who brings us into all truth. The Holy Spirit is our Guide and Teacher residing in the written Word of God as well as in our inner most heart when Christ, the living Word, comes to dwell within us.

How to Hear

In previous chapters we have already discussed the preeminence of God’s Word and determined that it must come before any other word or philosophy of men.  In fact, the Apostle Paul warns believers in Colossians 2:8:

"Beware lest any man spoil you (steal your spiritual potential) through philosophy and vain deceit, after the tradition of men, after the rudiments (principles/belief system) of the world, and not after Christ." 

The Word of God, as it is given to us through the Holy Bible, is the Creator’s instruction manual and guidelines for the standard of living He requires of those He has created. Through His infinite wisdom revealed in His Word, He has woven power, protection, happiness, and success into the lifestyle He has chosen for His people.

If we take care how we hear what He has said, we will be able to access this wisdom of God and reap the benefits of it.

On the other hand, if we (1) do not see the value of it, (2) misinterpret it, or (3) corrupt it, we will find an eternal curse at the end of our lives instead of an eternal blessing. This is why Jesus gave us the warning to be careful how we hear.

Everyone has the freedom to choose whether they will hear or not and some have not been given the capacity to hear. Seeing the value of the Word of God and misinterpreting the Word of God were thoroughly expounded in the blog book, “Hidden Manna” previously posted at this blog.

Therefore it is “Corrupting the Word of God” that still needs to be addressed.

By misinterpreting the Word of God through a wide variety of modern translations, the Word has been redefined and corrupted to accommodate man’s philosophy and new social gospel. But the purity of the Word of God has also been attacked and adulterated in other ways.

Nevertheless, we have God’s promise that His Word will last forever, so we can conclude that He will personally see to it that the purity of His Word is preserved.

In John 6:27, Jesus tells the people not to labor for physical food, but for eternal spiritual food. He was telling them that the “workings” or functions of eternal life take place in the spiritual realm. They heard what He said, but were not able to receive and understand it. They could only think in terms of the physical realm—physical work and physical food.

Therefore they responded by asking Him, "What shall we do, that we might work the works of God?” (John 6:28)

Regardless of the multitude of religions found in the world today, there are really only two religions—(1) the religion of man and (2) the religion of the One True God.

The religion of man is based on self worship then usually incorporates the worship of some entity or idol(s) through lifestyle, ceremonies, and works in various forms. However, the religion of God is based on faith alone via the Word of God.

The devil, the god of the system of this world, wants to make religion complicated. But the truth about religion is really very simple when you consider what Jesus told the people in John, Chapter 6.

When Jesus told them about faith and their spiritual life, they heard with their ears, but they really were not able to hear and understand with their hearts. So they responded to what He had said as if they did not hear it at all and went back to asking Him about working the works of God.

The people had seen the miracles of Jesus and were attracted to His power. They want to receive the blessings of this power, but were not really interested in the spiritual food (the Word of God) that He wanted to feed them. They wanted their physical needs and desires met their own way. They really just wanted to use Jesus for what He could give them and were even willing to do some sort of religious works to acquire this power.

If they really had heard and listened to what Jesus had to say, they would have had to stop being the god of their own life, would have had to stop doing whatever they wanted to gratify themselves, would have had to stop trying to control their world, and would have had to submit to the preeminence of the Most High God.

When mankind cannot or will not believe by faith via the Word of God and only wants the power of God without acknowledging the preeminence of God and hearing His Word, mankind thinks that the next logical step is to put on a religious cloak and create a system of religion based on some sort of works.

Jesus tells the people that if they really want to work, they should do the “work” of believing (John 6:29). This is the work of actually hearing and listening to the Word of God.

When they could not receive and understand that they needed to work at or do whatever it takes to believe, they asked Jesus to give them “a sign,” some mystical supernatural sensational experience outside of the Word of God to help them believe.

As we will see, this was definitely the wrong thing to ask for. . .

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