Wednesday, March 7, 2012

Tune In to the Shepherd's Voice

I woke up this morning to my alarm clock as usual and heard the rooster crowing in the yard. I am surprised that his crowing is not what wakes me up like when we first got him. I was reminded of my semester spent abroad in Costa Rica when I was in college. I remember the first morning clearly.
That first morning I was awakened by many new sounds. First, there were birds singing beautifully outside. Then, there were people walking down the street yelling at one another (in Spanish). A fruit cart came by with squeaky wheels, a bell, and a man calling out (in Spanish). There was a radio playing on a nearby porch, and I could hear the sounds of a soccer ball being kicked and bouncing back and forth down the street. I was afraid there would be no sleeping in for six months!
After just a couple of months, things didn't change, but I did. I had learned to fine tune my senses. I would awaken, once again, to an alarm clock and smile at the sound of the birds sweetly singing. I would get dressed and listen carefully for the sound of the fruit-car so I could grab my coins and run out to buy my morning fresh pineapple or miniature plum basket. Not until I was on my way out the door did I notice the radios, children playing, nor people calling out to one another. There are days that I miss the sounds of a Costa Rican morning.
My point to all of this is to demonstrate that we have an incredible capability to tune in or out to the sounds of life. The Bible gives us another example of this that Christ used to teach his disciples:
The gatekeeper 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 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. -John 10:3-5
We must learn to tune in to God's voice in our lives. We are the sheep! We must recognize our Shepherd's voice and follow him alone, running from strangers that would lead us astray. Here are a few ways that God can speak to us if we are tuned in to His voice:
1) Through Scripture
2) Through "feelings" of the heart found through quiet times of prayer and meditation
3) Through the promptings of the Holy Spirit (that feeling that you really should help ____ or do xyz)
4) Through the encouragement of other Christians (please use great discernment with this one! When "hearing God" in others, you are also trusting their ability to hear God)
5) Through the circumstances of everyday life (don't look for "signs," but life is full of blessings and love notes given to you from your heavenly Father and sometimes He will use your circumstance to get you to follow where He is leading)

Learn to let the outside noises of life fade into the background and listen carefully for His voice.
Blessed are those who listen to me,
watching daily at my doors,
waiting at my doorway. -Proverbs 8:34

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