Sunday, October 22, 2017

Name That Tune

July 20, 2011 by  
Filed under Daily Manna

“Name That Tune” – Do you remember that television game show?  Its most popular run was 1974-1981, the time during which I watched it and “played along.”  The host of the show would introduce a few notes (a very few) from a supposedly well-known song, and then the contestants essentially played against one another to see how quickly one of them correctly guessed the tune.  Did you ever try it?  (Of course you did.)  How well did you do?  If you listened to the radio a lot during the years preceding and during that era, you probably did well.  Reason:  You had heard the tune so often that only a few notes brought it back from the recesses of your memory.  You were able to quickly identify it because of the many times you had heard it – it had become very familiar to you.  Conversely, if you had not heard the song much, you were unable to quickly identify it.

That show came to mind recently when a friend of mine commented, “I would like to know when I am hearing God’s voice as opposed to when it’s my own inner voice that I’m hearing.”   For anyone who seeks a relationship with God and who wants to do God’s will, this is a common concern.  Especially if you must act on, and/or want to share what you believe God has spoken to you, it’s important to be confident in your knowledge that what you feel you have heard is, in fact, from God.

In 1996, I participated in a Bible study that dealt with this very matter.  The study is titled Experiencing God:  Knowing and Doing the Will of God, by Henry Blackaby and Claude King.  Throughout the 12 weeks of the study, the emphasis was on hearing God’s voice (you have to listen first!), being obedient to what you hear, and at the foundation of it all, developing a close and intimate relationship with God so that you DO know His voice.  When you have a heart focused on God – are seeking an intimate spiritual relationship with Him – an end result is you begin to listen for, hear, and acknowledge His voice.  What at one time might have passed completely by your recognition, you now see – often immediately – as God working in your life, speaking to your spirit.

In the 10th chapter of John, Jesus speaks to Jews in the temple who continue to ask him if he is the Christ.  His response is, “The sheep that are My own hear and are listening to My voice; and I know them, and they follow Me.”  John 10:27  (emphasis mine) Jesus likens his followers to a shepherd’s flock of sheep – the sheep in the pasture know when it is their shepherd calling them (as opposed to another) because they are very familiar with his voice due to their constant contact with him.  They have learned the shepherd cares for them and that his voice means sustenance and safety.  As a 21st century American, having never seen shepherding of the nature Jesus referred to, I did a brief search to gain some understanding of Jesus’s analogy.  A couple of excerpts may help drive home the relationship he was referring to.  From gracehaddon.org/Sermons:

A visitor to the Middle East remarked that he was struck by this at an encounter at a watering hole—various flocks with their shepherds gathered to quench their thirst, and the sheep intermingled when they came to drink. How in the world, he wondered, would the shepherds ever get them sorted out? And yet, as the shepherds headed back out to the pastures, each called to his flock with a distinctive call—and their flock followed. They knew the voice that they needed to follow, knew their shepherd’s call. They did not follow the other shepherds because they did not know them, did not have a relationship with them.

And from bible-history.com

The usual time for watering is at noon, at which time the flocks are led to the watering-places (Gen 29:2,3). After drinking, the animals lie down or huddle together in the shade of a rock while the shepherd sleeps. At the first sound of his call, which is usually a peculiar guttural sound, hard to imitate, the flock follow off to new feeding-grounds. Even should two shepherds call their flocks at the same time and the sheep be intermingled, they never mistake their own master’s voice (Jn 10:3-5).

Studying a little more from the second site about the dynamics of shepherding in the Middle East, I have a better understanding of what Jesus was imparting to his listeners.  So this is the answer for me – stay “tuned in” to His voice and you will know it in times of peace, times of crisis, times of uncertainty, times of joy.  You won’t get lost on a path in the wilderness.  Like Blackaby and King focus on in their above-referenced study, you tune in through prayer, studying His word, listening, asking, being still and meditating on the Word and the Holy Spirit, waiting in patience, and being obedient when you hear — which results in confirmation, which in turn strengthens your hearing abilities.  Like playing the tv show “Name That Tune” – you will have listened and heard enough that you know God’s voice when you hear it for even a brief moment – something that once would have passed by your recognition, you now immediately hear.  However, I am confident that the payoff of learning God’s voice is far better than what the winning contestant on the tv show took home.

So it seems to me that it’s important to stay “tuned in” to the power sources named above in order to hone your hearing skills.  Conversely, if you aren’t tuned in to those power sources, you are by default tuned in to power drainers – those things that take up the space in your heart and mind and prevent you from hearing God.

What are your particular power drainers?

Born and raised in a small suburb of Houston, Nancy grew up the middle child of a working-class family. After a decade of exploring and living in Alaska, Arizona and Oregon, her family ties led her back to the Houston area, where she currently resides as a single mother of a 25-year-old. Throughout her adult years, she has acquired her associate degree while working alongside nationally recognized legal teams to provide clients with excellent representation, and is currently studying for her paralegal certification. Managing one of life’s many potential curve balls, she also is currently two years into a cancer journey – waiting patiently as God does battle on her behalf — and continues to rest in the power of the blood and name of Jesus as she seeks to live out God’s plan for her life. Oh yes – and she loves to sing and participate with friends in karaoke!

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