Monday, December 7, 2015

What's That Noise?

What’s that noise?

Off-the-wall encounters are the norm for my dad.
It seems like every time you turn around, he has another crazy story, improbable injury, unexpected people encounter or just flat wild experience.
So it should come as no surprise that God often speaks to my dad through dreams.
My dad was a pastor and I have many fond memories of him telling us about the dreams that God would give him. My brothers and I would frequently sit with him in the living room; ears wide open, waiting to hear what God had revealed to him. 
In one particular dream, my dad was sitting in a dark room reclining in his easy chair, reading a magazine, and watching TV. He heard something, a noise that he could not discern. He kept hearing the sound over and over again. Dad was determined to identify the noise.
He put the magazine down, got up and looked around the room. He still heard the sound. It was a little clearer, but he still could not identify it, or where it originated. Bewildered, he finally turned off the TV, and suddenly clearly heard the sound.
It was the still, small voice of the Holy Spirit, speaking to him and leading him in the way he should live.
Life has always been filled with distractions.
Noises, visual stimulation, activities and achievements often blare at us like loudspeakers, drowning out the still, small voice of the Holy Spirit — the voice that wants to lead us to communion with our Father.
My dad had that dream more than 20 years ago. Today, in the Digital Age, we have even more distractions.
Social media, the Internet, and a bevy of entertainment options compete with Holy Spirit, filling our minds with an overwhelming amount of “white noise” that we let cover the voice of God.
Our legitimate spiritual questions can get jumbled with this noise.
“Should I do this? Was that’s God’s voice? Was that person right? Wow, that article was interesting. I wonder if what they said was right. Did you watch the news today? It’s crazy what is going on in the world. You know I can learn to sew scarfs online now? I can also learn to play the guitar. Do you know what so-and-so was doing today? OMG, that pic was so cute! I was sent 10 snap chats in the last 10 minutes.”
Today, if you were to have a dream similar to my dad’s, you might be sitting in a chair, iPhone in hand, laptop nearby, and the TV blaring.
But distractions are not limited to electronics themselves. In this age, the information carried by these devices is king, and more is better.
Without even trying, just by default, we can drown out the still, small voice of the Holy Spirit. But God promises in His Word that He will use this voice to lead us in our daily lives, direct us in all righteousness, and lead us into sweet communion with Him.

John 10:4-5 — “When he has brought out all his own, he goes on 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.”

In these verses, Jesus was taking the Pharisees to task because they were trying to scatter, distract, deceive and carry away God’s sheep. We might not recognize the distractions of today as the voice of the Pharisees, but think of the things of this world that are scattering the Body of Christ, not gathering.
They are distracting us from our call, our first love, and His will. This is like a wolf calling us away from the flock and beckoning us away from the safety of the Shepherd.  
The Bible promises the sheep will follow the Shepherd’s voice and they will not follow another. We can confidently know that we can recognize His voice, and follow after him.
The question is: Can you hear the voice of God among all the noises in your life?