Are you Filtering God Out? (Hearing God’s Voice 2)
Last week I opened up the topic of hearing God’s Voice and I gave you the list of ways in which God had spoken to our Jakarta based Cell Group over the years. God speaks to us all in many different ways. He is still speaking today. God hasn't stopped communicating with us. He doesn’t only speak to us through the Word of God, but the Word of God has to be the measuring line or the screen by which we judge all other input so that we don't “hear” other voices. I will have more to say about that in a later Nugget. I teach people in Deeper Bible to use the whole Bible to interpret the Bible. Likewise, use the whole Bible to interpret or screen all other sensory input that you receive.
How many of those ways (the cell group list) has God used to speak to you? I think you will find there are more than you realise. We all have a Reticular Activating System (RAS) which is the filtering system in our brains which enables us to filter out what we don't wish to hear in order to hear what is important. We are all bombarded with sensory input from every direction and so we screen out that which we don't wish to hear. Sometimes I wonder if we are screening God out of the equation with our RAS. That certainly was the case with me before God changed my heart at 10.30 pm August 19th 1973. Before that point in time the mere mention of the word “God” would switch on my RAS, although I didn't know back then what an RAS was nor that I was activating it willfully.
I have told the story many times in Gems and through Ian Stories of how God first began to lead us into mission work. I am not going to retell the story here because I believe most of you are familiar with it and have heard it many times. If you haven’t you need only to tell me and I will send a copy of the story to you. I would like to be able to say you can find the story on my Berean Insights website by clicking this link. But the past link doesn't work anymore and the new link is close but not available yet. I first told the full story in Bible Gems 197. However in this Nugget I will tell you, not my part in what happened, but Yvonne Haskew’s (now Yvonne Butler) and Sherry Chapman’s part in the story.
Wednesday June 10th 1981 Yvonne was praying in her Quiet Time as per usual. She was going through the church directory and praying for people in order. She came to Ian and Tania Vail on the list and started praying for us. As she prayed the usual kind of things Yvonne looked at the magazine on the side table beside the bed which was advertising a book called “Bruchko”. She thought nothing about it until the thoughts came into her mind “show that page to Ian Vail”. The ones she was just praying for. She thought that’s silly, what would I want to do that for? What’s the point? But the thought came again and again. It was like she couldn’t shake it off or push it out of her mind, it kept coming back. So at the end of the day when cell group was finished she summoned up the courage and risked being thought a fool to tell me that God had said to give this to Ian Vail. And of course you already know what significance it had if you have read Bible Gem 197 or have heard us tell our testimony of how God led us into work with Wycliffe.
I think many of us hear God’s voice many times a day. But it is also true to say that most of us shrug the thoughts off because they are “silly”. Perhaps your RAS has been activated to screen God thoughts out. Be bold and step out in what you feel God has told you. Take a faith risk. Even more so if you have become a child of His and are seeking to know His Word to your heart. His Logos word or His Rhema word. I have explained the difference between the two before. If you have missed that simply ask and I will send you the details. It is going to be so easy for me in the near future when I can simply give you a hot link to the Bible Gem or Nugget or God’s Awesome Book segment where you can find the answer. But alas that time is not yet. How many of you tried to click on the hot link in the line above? Go on, admit it. I know some of you will have. That feature is not functional yet. Soon and very soon it’s coming (But so’s
Christmas). Don’t feel bad if you tried to click it. It’s natural to want to try. It’s the way we are wired. Like those of you who tried to taste the MINT Love Drops we used to send. But that’s another story I haven’t told yet but you know who you are and I don't need to explain it.
There is another woman called Sherry Chapman who lives in Texas, USA. She is an intercessor and regularly sat on her lounge floor with a map of the world at her feet and laid her hands on the nations of the world and prayed for them. She told the Lord one day that it was too hard praying for the whole world, she knew too much about it and there was too much to pray for. She asked the Lord to give her one nation. “Indonesia” came at her from every quarter over a two-week period. She said “OK Lord, I will pray for Indonesia.” She prayed for Indonesia for two and half years and then said the same thing. “Lord I know too much about Indonesia now. There’s too much to pray. Give me one island.” She looked at her wall map of the nation of Indonesia at her feet and she thought, “Sulawesi looks a strange island right in the middle of the archipelago. I will pray for that island.” A number of years later she joined Wycliffe’s Bibleless People Prayer Project and asked them for a people group. She received the Rongkong of Sulawesi. She was over the moon because that was the island she was praying for. She poured her heart into praying for the Rongkong and the translators who would go to the Rongkong. One thing among many others that she prayed: “Lord you have given me a such vision for the mission field through the book Bruchko. Father I want to ask you to use the book Bruchko in the lives of the translators you will send to the Rongkong of Sulawesi as a part of their call. Will you do that Lord? Use that book so they may know that they know they are called to the Rongkong”.
Now you know two sides of the story. That is the degree to which the Lord wants to be a part of leading you. He will often speak to you through the book you are reading, the music you are listening to or the input that others give to you. Many times He will put into our mind things He wants us to tell other people. But most of us either shy away from such input because it sounds a little weird and we don't want to thought a fool. On other occasions He will align several sources together in order to get through your RAS screen and grab your attention. When He does, sit up and take notice. There is even a fancy Greek word for when that happens. It’s called hupomimnesko, when God brings two seemingly unrelated things together serendipitously to speak to our spirits and let us know He means for us to associate those two things. The next step is when we realise He wants to us to do something about what He has just shown us. Talk to the person, send a note or an email, take some money out of the bank or simply to speak the word God just told you into another person’s life.
Yes I know it’s both exciting and scary all in the same breath but welcome to the world of God speaking to you and leading you.
See you back here next week.