Feb 25, 2011

Who Are You Listening To?

Cathy and I received some great news this past week. Our oldest son Jonathan and his wife Bonita are expecting their first child this coming September. I’m very happy for the two of them. They are both educators and have a great rapport with kids. I am confident that they will make great parents. And, I can’t wait to welcome this new one into the world. Yeah; that means that I get to be a new grandpa (again)!
1/2 of the children with
Fallon AFTER the horn went off
This past week, Cathy and I got to spend several times babysitting Fallon, who is our first grandchild. We also got to take Fallon to her first hockey game. She joined the whole family as we all went (Cathy and I and all 6 of our children and spouses except for Jon and Bonita) to watch the Minnesota Wild take on the Vancouver Canucks. The Wild lost, but better to go to a game that they lose than to go to no game at all! It was “funny” to watch Fallon’s face as she reacted to the fog horn blaring after the Wild scored a goal. She cried a few tears; all part of Fallon’s entrance into this hockey family.

Fallon BEFORE the horn sounded
 As we spent time with Fallon this week, I noticed just how much she is still at the age where she wants to only hear mom’s (my daughter Elizabeth) voice. Hey, I’m pretty good with getting babies that are crying to calm down; that is except for Fallon. Fallon is so tuned in to listen to only Elizabeth’s voice that no other voice has any appeal. Fallon KNOWS Elizabeth’s voice and (at this point) will not follow a stranger, but will flee from them, because she does not know the voice of strangers; which is a little hard on this grandpa. 

Fallon and Elizabeth
I’m amazed how quickly Fallon can find Elizabeth in a crowd of people by simply listening for her mom’s voice. How did this come about? It is because Fallon has spent intimate time with her mom; listening to her, getting to know her. Through the times of great intimacy, Fallon has learned to follow her mom’s voice. 

Fallon only wants to listen to her mom‘s voice and no other. Fallon is listening to the voice of her mother. Fallon hears her mom’s voice; and her mom calls her by name and leads her out of whatever “crisis” is bothering her (hunger, wet diapers, or just needs a nap).

So who are you listening to: Is it a Politian, an entertainer, an athlete, a teacher, or a philosopher? Is it a book, television, or a guru? Who is it in your life that is able to get your attention; that can speak to you no matter what is going on in your day? Who can you honestly say that you single out as the ONLY One that you turn your ear to hear what they have to say?

Jesus said that His sheep (those who would call themselves “Christians” because they have surrendered their lives to Jesus and follow Him with their whole hearts) hear His voice, and that Jesus knows them, and that they follow Him (John 10:27). Jesus said that His followers will by no means follow a stranger, but will flee from him, for they do not know the voice of strangers. (John 10:5). 

How do we listen to the voice of Jesus? Simply by spending time with Him; kind of like how Fallon spends time with her mom. The more that we learn to hear His voice; the more we will learn to be directed by Him and the more that we will learn to discern whether it is His voice or that of a stranger. How to we hear? Often times God will speak to us through our reading of the Bible, or through messages at church or on TV or the radio. God also speaks to us through people who know Him who may live where we live or work where we work. 

Not all voices are from God; that is where discernment comes in. If you are a Christian, you have the Holy Spirit dwelling in you (that’s God) and He is there to help you discern the different voices. The important thing is to learn to discern His voice so that you will not listen to a stranger.
Many people throughout the ages have started out following Jesus and ended up listening to some pretty strange voices. People like David Koresh (Waco Texas), Jim Jones (Guyana), Mary Baker Eddy (founder of Christian Science), and Joseph Smith (founder of Mormonism) to name a few. The dangerous part to this is that these people have led the multitude in their delusions and taken their followers further away from following the true leader; Jesus Christ.

Still confused as to how to discern the voice of God?

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John 10       1 “Most assuredly, I say to you, he who does not enter the sheepfold by the door, but climbs up some other way, the same is a thief and a robber. 2 But he who enters by the door is the shepherd of the sheep. 3 To him the doorkeeper opens, and the sheep hear his voice; and he calls his own sheep by name and leads them out. 4 And when he brings out his own sheep, he goes before them; and the sheep follow him, for they know his voice. 5 Yet they will by no means follow a stranger, but will flee from him, for they do not know the voice of strangers.” 6 Jesus used this illustration, but they did not understand the things which He spoke to them.

7 Then Jesus said to them again, “Most assuredly, I say to you, I am the door of the sheep. 8 All who ever came before Me are thieves and robbers, but the sheep did not hear them. 9 I am the door. If anyone enters by Me, he will be saved, and will go in and out and find pasture. 10 The thief does not come except to steal, and to kill, and to destroy. I have come that they may have life, and that they may have it more abundantly. 

11 “I am the good shepherd. The good shepherd gives His life for the sheep. 12 But a hireling, he who is not the shepherd, one who does not own the sheep, sees the wolf coming and leaves the sheep and flees; and the wolf catches the sheep and scatters them. 13 The hireling flees because he is a hireling and does not care about the sheep. 14 I am the good shepherd; and I know My sheep, and am known by My own. 15 As the Father knows Me, even so I know the Father; and I lay down My life for the sheep. 16 And other sheep I have which are not of this fold; them also I must bring, and they will hear My voice; and there will be one flock and one shepherd. 

17 “Therefore My Father loves Me, because I lay down My life that I may take it again. 18 No one takes it from Me, but I lay it down of Myself. I have power to lay it down, and I have power to take it again. This command I have received from My Father.” 

19 Therefore there was a division again among the Jews because of these sayings. 20 And many of them said, “He has a demon and is mad. Why do you listen to Him?” 

21 Others said, “These are not the words of one who has a demon. Can a demon open the eyes of the blind?” 

22 Now it was the Feast of Dedication in Jerusalem, and it was winter. 23 And Jesus walked in the temple, in Solomon’s porch. 24 Then the Jews surrounded Him and said to Him, “How long do You keep us in doubt? If You are the Christ, tell us plainly.” 

25 Jesus answered them, “I told you, and you do not believe. The works that I do in My Father’s name, they bear witness of Me. 26 But you do not believe, because you are not of My sheep, as I said to you 27 My sheep hear My voice, and I know them, and they follow Me. 28 And I give them eternal life, and they shall never perish; neither shall anyone snatch them out of My hand. 29 My Father, who has given them to Me, is greater than all; and no one is able to snatch them out of My Father’s hand. 30 I and My Father are one.” 

"Scripture taken from the New King James Version. Copyright © 1982 by Thomas Nelson, Inc. Used by permission. All rights reserved."

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