After I unload life’s latest saga or dilemma in a long message or phone call, I have a friend who would often (and still does) ask me, “What did the Lord tell you?”
She makes me laugh. Even after all the years of church, co-teaching, ministry events, NEVER seeing one another…she points out the obvious. And, it does make me laugh. She knows good and well that I texted her first and didn’t ask the Lord yet!
It’s been a running joke in her family that one of her nieces thought Jesus lived in her bedroom. I even bought a chair from her just knowing how anointed it was.
Now, I say all of this in fun, but she is faithful. Not perfect. Not on a pedestal. Faithful. She has “tasted and seen that the Lord is good (Psalm 34:8), and like Mary, ponders many things in her heart (Luke 2:19).
And, for those of you who are strictly KJV (spoken in love to the majority of my family):
For the last few months the dream world has stepped it up a notch. Recurring ones, about people I rarely see, and themes I don’t normally dream about.
I’ve written several times about dreams and the fact that my dad has a history of night terrors, and my squad is 50/50 on if the causes are: what I eat before bed, new blood pressure medications, or if the Lord is actually trying to tell me something. But, for a while, I kind of forgot to ask Him.
Then, I text my faithful friend and she asked me that question, “What did the Lord tell you?” In all honesty, I didn’t have a prayer time specifically asking Him what the dreams meant, because I sort of assumed He would have told me at the time it happened? Maybe? So, I send a text message to someone who hasn’t seen me in a year or two, and lives at least 2 hours away, so she can tell me.
In hindsight, it is funny. I must have found great favor with the Lord that she even still tolerates my craziness. Not that we don’t need wise counsel, and the Lord won’t use others to help us, but I guess I did need to ask Him first.
During the last week, this passage below about Samuel kept coming to my mind, along with a very non-biblical Star Trek reference. Shocker. Also, I came across several devotions referring to how sheep hear a shepherd, and how we hear our Shepherd.
Not a shocker. The Lord has to send repeated messages. I need to brush up on my listening skills and what I have learned about identifying God’s voice. Also, very cool info on how (real) sheep actually do recognize only one voice – if I forget to write about it, google it.
Let’s start with the Bible.
In 1 Samuel 3, remember Hannah, who was barren and prayed for a child, and that she would turn him over to God’s service if the Lord gave her one…”for this child I prayed.” So, that is why Samuel, as a young boy, is living here in the temple with the priest, Eli:
Now the boy Samuel was ministering to the LORD before Eli. And word from the LORD was rare in those days, visions were infrequent.
It happened at that time as Eli was lying down in his place (now his eyesight had begun to grow dim and he could not see well), and the lamp of God had not yet gone out, and Samuel was lying down in the temple of the LORD where the ark of God was, that the LORD called Samuel; and he said, “Here I am.” Then he ran to Eli and said, “Here I am, for you called me.” But he said, “I did not call, lie down again.”
So he went and lay down. The LORD called yet again, “Samuel!” So Samuel arose and went to Eli and said, “Here I am, for you called me.” But he answered, “I did not call, my son, lie down again.” Now Samuel did not yet know the LORD, nor had the word of the LORD yet been revealed to him.
So the LORD called Samuel again for the third time. And he arose and went to Eli and said, “Here I am, for you called me.” Then Eli discerned that the LORD was calling the boy. And Eli said to Samuel, “Go lie down, and it shall be if He calls you, that you shall say, ‘Speak, LORD, for Your servant is listening.’”
So Samuel went and lay down in his place.Then the LORD came and stood and called as at other times, “Samuel! Samuel!”
And Samuel said, “Speak, for Your servant is listening.”
Can. You. Hear. Me. Now?
Samuel was young and this Bible says, “Now Samuel did not yet know the LORD, nor had the word of the LORD yet been revealed to him.”
So, someone like Eli had to teach Samuel how to listen and respond to the Lord. Just like my friend lovingly asks me, “What did the Lord say?”
Note: Young people…this verse about Samuel’s age leads to me make this point – Age isn’t an excuse for not following the Lord. There comes a time where each person’s eyes and heart are opened to the word of the Lord, and once you know the truth, to turn from it is to willingly put God on a shelf until it is convenient for you. The WORLD tells you to live a little and sow your oats, but that isn’t what your Creator says. Sure, you will make mistakes and learn about grace and your need for a Savior, but as you are walking with Him this happens…there’s no need to intentionally go on the sin wagon just because you think you have a free pass to heaven in your back pocket. If that’s your logic, then you may not actually know the Lord, or have salvation at all… speaking from experience.
Whew. Let me step off the soapbox.
Do you remember, in the movie Evan Almighty, when GEN 6:14 kept appearing, no matter how many times Evan Baxter tried to ignore it? Although that movie might be questionable in some Christian circles, it does give a good portrayal of how I feel when I see the same verse or message on my phone, on social media, in a song, during a sermon, or from a friend, etc.
The Lord is so kind and gracious to repeatedly come back to us when we don’t get it the first time, just like He went back to Samuel three times. It took an older, wise counsel, Eli, who “discerned” what was happening, to help Samuel know what to do, but even Eli could not have figured it out – if he was not also walking and listening to the Lord.
What keep us from listening to or hearing the Lord? Or even remembering to ask Him in prayer, which is such a simple thing to do?
We don’t hesitate to send a text or post a message, but to have a conversation with the Lord, to immediately pray…why isn’t that our first reaction sometimes? He should be my first contact at the moment I realize I have a question. The Creator of the Universe. The One who spoke the starry host into existence. It’s like the song, King of the World.
When I was pondering the whole listening/shepherd/Samuel messages, my thoughts did go to a Star Trek (TNG) reference. I know, I know…there are like two people out there who will appreciate this, but it’s who I am.
There was an episode where the crew got addicted to this video game that came in the form of headset-like glasses. A Ktarian woman seduced Riker (second in command) while he was on her planet, so he would take it back to the Enterprise. There, it spreads to everyone except two young people.
The captain and crew are so under the influence of this game that they do not realize the ship is being taken over by the Ktarians. They are just euphoric playing their video game while the enemy sneaks in to take over. Can’t you make that spiritual connection?
If it wasn’t for young Wesley Crusher, the Enterprise would have been lost (again, a youthful reference like Samuel and my note earlier).
It reminds me of how we walk around with our phones in our faces. Even though I firmly believe technology is how the gospel will help reach the ends of the earth, and I use it for ministry every day, there are other things on our devices to distract us. I will not admit to what level I’ve achieved on Farm Heroes Saga, and no, I don’t send game requests. I also like the Home Design game app.
It’s what I refer to as a mindless activity, although there is skill and strategy involved, but it is really just repetitive actions over and over that take your mind off of whatever you’re trying to escape. However, we can get in a pattern of letting our brains be turned to mush so often, that we forget to listen to anything else. We just walk around like the crew of the Enterprise, while the voice of the Lord is blocked by layers of bland distractions.
There’s no three-point summary to this delightful, plate-of-spaghetti thought post. Maybe I will come back and edit later, as I often do, once I read what I’ve shared (which scares me sometimes).
These are just all the things on my heart and mind lately as I journey along, hoping to serve the Lord faithfully, fight the good fight, listen for His voice, being aware of my shortcomings… and really trying not crash the Enterprise.
Captain’s Log: 12.17.17
To be continued.