The Way In

door openYou are the fragrance that awakens my spirit.

You are the light that opens my eyes.

You are the door through which I pass.

You are the fountain that floods my soul.

You are the flame that burns within.

                                               T. Long

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Listening with Carrots In Our Ears

“Excuse me sir, but you have carrots in your ears.”, the young boy told the man.  The man turned cupping his hand to his ear..”What?” he yelled back.  “You have carrots in your ears!”, the young boy said again, this time much more loudly.  The old man shouted back,  “I’m sorry. I can’t hear you.  I have carrots in my ears!!!”

A simple joke with a simple truth…we have a hard time hearing anything when our ears are plugged.  This illustration is not only true for our physical ears but also for our spiritual ears.   Someone told me once that his ability to hear God has not so much to do with his actual skill at listening, but rather that God is able to shout really loud over the things that plug his ears.   There is truth in this.  Thank God He is able to speak louder than our weaknesses and get our attention when we need to hear him.

But sometimes, the most meaningful and profound things that the Lord wants to speak into our hearts take the form of a soft voice or a quiet whisper that simply gets drowned out by the noise – the “carrots” if you will,  that plug our ears.  If we are truly trying to hear with our heart, then where it is possible and within our power to do so, we should try to place ourselves in the best position possible to listen,  and that would include cleaning out our ears.   Going to a quiet place, and reducing the noise, physical, mental and spiritual, has the ability to still our spirit and prepares us to listen and to receive.  Jesus went to a quiet place away to pray and spend time with God especially for important things that He really needed to hear, like choosing the 12 disciples.

Getting away may not be as easy or practical for us all the time, but simple things like walking away from the television, turning off our electronic cell phones and computers and going to a quiet room can make a substantial difference in our ability to hear with our heart.  Does removing the carrots automatically guarantee that we will be able to hear?  No, but it certainly helps.  Are you trying to listen with carrots in your ears?      T. Long

Common Discernment: Wired For Sound

 

Personal common discernment builds on the ability to hear His voice in our heart.  The Bible states the words of Jesus in John 10:27 .. “My sheep hear my voice, and I know them, and they follow me..”

God’s Word spoken in the heart primarily comes through His Word written in the scriptures.  He also speaks powerfully through creation, and can also use circumstances, situations and other people to speak His Truth in to our hearts for illumination and for our discernment.
I often hear a number of interesting statements to the contrary, especially this one,  “He is not speaking to me because I can’t hear anything. I am just not wired that way”.   Guess what?  We are wired that way.  We are wired for His sound.  Just as healthy babies are born  with hearing ears and seeing eyes, so our spirit-being, the inner man, is equipped with eyes of the heart and ears of the spirit which become more  functional and enabled at regeneration  A baby cannot understand the specific words that his mother speaks but he learns and knows the sound of his mother’s voice and then grows into an understanding of words and meanings. So our spirit can hear and learn the sound of our Master’s voice and then, with time and good listening skills, we can come into a greater understanding of meaning and direction.  Plus the nature of discernment allows us to glean from others who can listen for us and with us when we need it.
But if we are in a perpetual state where we cannot hear His sound,  it is not because He is not speaking.  And it is not because we do not have spiritual ears.   Perhaps we need to take a closer look at some things that can impede our hearing.         T. Long

Dearth and Responsibility of Discernment

The dearth surrounding discernment in the Body of Christ today is not
because there are few with the gift.  Rather it is because the number of those who actually function in the gift are few, and those who function in the gift with accuracy and excellence are even fewer.  But regardless of whether we have the gift of discernment or not, it is the responsibility of each Follower to grow in the basic areas of common discernment, of which there is also a dearth.

The area most challenging to nurture,  is the area of  personal common discernment.  This is the ability to hear or perceive the Shepherd as He speaks to our individual heart.  The primary way He does this is through the spiritual illumination that comes by reading the Word and listening.  Everyone has a different and individual starting  level of ability to hear the Shepherd speak in our heart.  For example, those with the spiritual gift of discernment have a definite initial advantage to hear and recognize His voice over those who don’t, however, it is not the ability to hear, but rather the responsibility to listen that is the level playing field for all.

The more that we read and listen, the more we become familiar with how he illuminates and speaks to our heart, and then our ability to perceive Him generally becomes easier.  Growth in personal discernment is not always a linear progression, but in this case, the ability to hear His voice is an essential key that will bring balance to the other areas of discernment, and precedes the ability to distinguish between His voice.  We cannot distinguish between sounds that we cannot hear.    John 10:27 says .. “My sheep hear my voice, and I know them, and they follow me..”   Like common sense, sometimes common discernment is not so common. The challenging part for most, is that it takes time and practice to learn how to hear well.                                        T. Long