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Be quiet - - - very, very quiet...and hear

What or who do you listen to because you feel you "have to"? For some of us, it is our parents - we listen because we know we are to respect them and to listen to their wisdom. For others of us, it is our supervisors - because they are the ones who guide our days and provide that paycheck at the end of the week. For still others, we listen to no one and nothing, other than our own minds and hearts. How's that one been working out for you? I know it didn't work out for me! My heart and mind doesn't always know what it wants - it can be rather indecisive and vacillate with the ups and downs of what is going on around me. It isn't worth listening to sin tell us what to do - and it isn't worth thinking our own mind will actually always know how we are to respond. We need to be aware of the presence of God in our lives, learning to listen to him FIRST and foremost. Only then will we experience all the glory of the goodness he has prepared for us!

But now that you’ve found you don’t have to listen to sin tell you what to do, and have discovered the delight of listening to God telling you, what a surprise! A whole, healed, put-together life right now, with more and more of life on the way! Work hard for sin your whole life and your pension is death. But God’s gift is real life, eternal life, delivered by Jesus, our Master. (Romans 6:23 MSG)

All manner of sin will attempt to tell us what to do - from the voice of a well-meaning 'friend' misguiding us by some 'advice' they have for us, to the outright listening to the appeals of our own fleshly lusts and desires. We don't have to listen to either of them - we can turn a deaf ear to them, politely dismiss them, and move on. We don't have to 'do as we are told' when it comes to listening to sin's voice any longer - because we have discovered what it means to really listen to God's voice. There are times when people ask me how they know they are hearing God's voice in their lives. I'd have to say this - is what you are being told consistent with what scripture reveals about God and his ways? Is what you are being asked to do in alignment with the principles of grace and truth? If not, it isn't God's voice! It is either clearly some other voice, or a mixture of a good message combined with a not so wholesome one!

If we want a 'put together' life - one that is whole and consistent, we need to learn to listen for that consistency in what we are hearing. The consistency of alignment with the principles of grace and truth we find revealed in the Word of God. Some ask what to do when they cannot find a specific example of what they need an answer to in their lives within the explored scriptures. I'd have to say it is then a matter of conscience. God actually gave us that little tool to help us when we don't have any other 'judgment' factor that seems to address the issue. If there is any 'niggling' to do or say something that is against your conscience, it is wrong for you! It isn't the voice you want to follow. Our conscience doesn't 'override' scripture, but it can help us when we don't clearly find the specific issue addressed within scripture.

The good news is that we have a good God tell us how to live. We don't have to be confused about all the other voices in our lives - for his is the clearest, simplest, and quietest! It is quiet because it operates in an atmosphere of peace. Jesus spoke to the brewing storms to be still - only then did the disciples know it was him and receive from him that day. He spoke to the disease that created havoc in lives to be gone - only then did the disease-riddled soul hear the truth in his voice. There are times when Jesus needs us to shut out all the other voices - even when they 'storm' around us. Only then will we truly hear and understand his purposes. Just sayin!

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