Voice Recognition — “Into the Word” Week 8

   Step up to the microphone if you dare!  Apparently, Anthony Evans, Jr. decided to do just that.  This past week, he survived the blind auditions on NBC’s talent competition, The Voice.  Belting out a soulful version of “What’s Going On,” Evans dreams currently reside in the hands of the judges, who must discriminate between all the voices in the running.

I don’t know about you, but sometimes, I feel as if there are a lot of voices vying for my attention as well.  How do I recognize the One whose voice is Truth in the midst of all the competition?

This week as I was digging “Into the Word,” I discovered that at first the voice of  the Risen Christ was unrecognizable to Mary as she wept outside the empty tomb.  Mary was blinded by circumstances — until Jesus spoke her name.  I love these verses from John 10:

“…He calls His own sheep by name and leads them out

When He has brought out all His own, He goes on ahead of them,

and His sheep follow him because they know His voice” (vs. 3-4, NIV).

This week, I am praying that God helps me to recognize the voice of my Shepherd, the One who knows my name and speaks kindly to me.  The Shepherd’s voice will lead me to safe pasture and nourishment.  No other voice is worthy of my attention.

How do you recognize the Shepherd in the midst of all the noisy voices competing for your attention?  I would love to chat with you about how you intentionally stay connected to Him.  Feel free to leave a comment below to get the discussion started.

Every Monday we will be working our way through Anne Graham Lotz’s 52-week study “Into the Word.”    Hop on over to the 3dLessons4Life Blog Facebook Page to join us as we dig into God’s Word together.

Linking up with a like-minded sisters at Good Morning Girls, “Hear it on Sunday, Use it on Monday!” and Soli Deo Gloria @ Finding Heaven.

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Sitting Duck – “Into the Word” Week 4

  I love nesting in quiet spots to read and journal.  My current home of 3 years provides a sweet sanctuary in the family room with a big window framing our backyard.  I often sneak away back there as it overlooks the water.  Ducks, geese, and ibis all congregate on our lawn from time to time — so fun!

A few days after settling in, I realized that two particular ducks seemed to be frozen in place like statues.  I pointed them out to my man, and he explained that they were “decoy ducks” set up by our landlord to protect the yard from Muscovy infiltration.  An impressive tactical maneuver, I thought.

Later that month, however, my friend Sherree schooled me by shedding light on the fact that the county had actually placed the ducks along the canal bank behind every home on my block to protect the underwater utility lines from boat damage. When confronted with this fact, my man shrugged sheepishly and admitted his mistake  – I am still not sure if he deceived me on purpose or if he had bought into the lie himself.

I was reminded of this story this week while digging “Into the Word.” Paul cautioned us to study the Scriptures so that we would not be “sitting ducks,” easy marks for wolves in sheep’s clothing that the enemy uses to destroy us:

“Don’t be naive. There are difficult times ahead. As the end approaches,

people are going to be self-absorbed, money-hungry, self-promoting,

stuck-up, profane, contemptuous of parents, crude, coarse, dog-eat-dog,

unbending, slanderers, impulsively wild, savage, cynical, treacherous,

ruthless, bloated windbags, addicted to lust, and allergic to God. They’ll make

a show of religion, but behind the scenes they’re animals.

Stay clear of these people.   These are the kind of people who smooth-talk

themselves into the homes of unstable and needy women and

take advantage of them; women who, depressed by their sinfulness,

take up with every new religious fad that calls itself ‘truth.’

They get exploited every time and never really learn…

They were rejects from the faith, twisted in their thinking, defying truth itself

….But don’t let it faze you. Stick with what you learned and believed,

sure of the integrity of your teachers—why, you took in

the sacred Scriptures with your mother’s milk! There’s nothing like

the written Word of God for showing you the way to salvation

through faith in Christ Jesus. Every part of Scripture is God-breathed

and useful one way or another—showing us truth, exposing our rebellion,

correcting our mistakes, training us to live God’s way. Through the Word

we are put together and shaped up for the tasks God has for us” (II Timothy 3, MSG).

This week, I am praying that the Lord will help me to know a real duck from a decoy.  May His Word dwell in my heart and guide my steps.  How about you?  Have you ever felt like a sitting duck — easily deceived and lead astray?  Dig in to the Truth.  It’s the best remedy.

 Every Monday we will be working our way through Anne Graham Lotz’s 52-week study “Into the Word.”    Hop on over to the 3dLessons4Life Blog Facebook Page to join us as we dig into God’s Word together.

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Visual Field Test

  About a year ago,  a routine eye exam turned into a day at the neurologist office.   After an MRI and a spinal tap later that month, I learned that my optic nerves were swollen, but thankfully, my vision had not been impacted.  I was encouraged to continue visiting a neuro ophthalmologist as a precaution — at each visit, I participated in a visual field test.  The purpose of the test was to determine if my perception had narrowed — Was I able to see objects on the outskirts of my view?  The  test is necessary because often we are not able to discern the peripheral vision loss as the decline is very gradual, and we have subconsciously learned to compensate.

Webster’s defines “discern” as detecting with the eyes, senses, or mind; to recognize or discriminate as distinct.  To discern, whether with the eyes or the mind, is a skill — one that can be lost if neglected.   Spiritually, my vision can also be crippled without my consciously being aware of it.  Ephesians 5:8-10 (HCSB) challenges us:  “For you were once darkness, but now [you are] light in the Lord. Walk as children of light — for the fruit of the light [results] in all goodness, righteousness, and truth —  discerning what is pleasing to the Lord.”  The key to strengthening my spiritual discernment is to remain connected to Christ.  He helps me to

  • distinguish between good and evil as I hear His voice (I Kings 3:9; Hebrews 5:14)
  • reign in my will and emotions to stay on course (Proverbs 15:21)
  • see through facades and determine the true motives of others (Malachi 3:18)
  • perceive the right time to act and determine the best course of action (Ecclesiastes 8:5)
  • gain insight that helps me understand His will and purposes (Proverbs 2:3)
  • learn from my mistakes and make wiser choices in the future (Proverbs 19:25)
  • recognize my own selfish, fleshy motives (Luke 12:56; Hebrews 4:12)

Just as light must penetrate the eye for us to see, we must connect to the true, eternal Light through Bible study and prayer in order to see with keen spiritual eyes.  Paul’s prayer in Philippians 1 encourages us to purposefully pursue this aim:  “My prayer for you is that you may have still more love—a love that is full of knowledge and wise insight. I want you to be able always to recognize the highest and the best, and to live sincere and blameless lives until the day of Jesus Christ. I want to see your lives full of true goodness, produced by the power that Jesus Christ gives you to the praise and glory of God” (v. 9-11, PHI).

Have you had a visual field test?  What negatively impacts your field of vision spiritually?

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