Monday, November 29, 2010

Don't Expect Perfection!

"You are not suppose to dress like that."

"A Christian does not have tattoos."

"You say you're a Christian and that's the way you live?"

How often do we say or think that, as believers? Yet, Christ, never said anything like that to people. He had compassion. Yes, He did get upset with the money changers in the temple. Thank goodness He did show that emotion. It makes Him more human in our eyes.

He didn't condemn people. He loved them. He lived a life of perfection, but we cannot. Our goal is to reach toward perfection in Christ. The reality is, we will never reach perfection as Christ did; so make sure we do not make it our goal in life to try to make others perfect. Our goal is to live life with Christ in us by being compassionate and caring, loving people into the Kingdom of God.

We sometimes forget that concept in our churches. We want to reach out to our communities; yet, when someone that looks different than us walks through our door, we stare at them, we avoid them, or we ridicule them. It is important to ask ourself these questions: "Do I do that because I am uncomfortable?" Then ask God to help you step out of your comfort zone and reach out. "Do I do that because I expect them to look like me?" God help us! Some of us, I dare say, do not need little clones of ourselves running around.

Or, do we just not know how to relate and reach out? If that is the case, I would seek help in this area. The Great Commission is to reach out to those near us first. God understands our struggles and desires to help us. Some of us in leadership in our churches, need to ask God to help us open our eyes and accept people, for who they are; not what they are suppose to be.

I ran across a saying from Martin Luther I had written in my journal about four years ago. (That is why we need to get our journals out from time to time...nuggets of wisdom are in there.)

"This life therefore
is not righteousness
but growth in righteousness
not health but healing,
not being but becoming,
not rest but exercise.
We are not yet what we shall be
but we are growing toward it,
the process is not yet finished
but is going on,
this is not the end
but it is the road.
All does not yet gleam in glory
but all is being purified."

Martin Luther (emphasis my own)

Remember, we are on a journey...Are we there yet? Not quite.

Friday, November 12, 2010

True Character is Shown by Our Actions

We get up and begin our daily routine...dress, get kids ready for school (if they're still school age), have a quick bite to eat for breakfast, kiss our spouse goodbye, and head off to work. Life seems normal and good. We arrive at our job or ministry and realize the things we asked to get done by today were not done the way we had asked. The people in charge had weeks to prepare. There just isn't an excuse for their lack of commitment to the task. We are clearly upset and let everyone know about it. In fact no one wants to be near us because of our reaction. It doesn't matter that we have talked about being an example to others and setting high expections for others to follow. Those around us cannot hear what we are trying to say because our actions are so offensive and clearly do not represent what we are trying to get across...

Our children cannot listen to what we are saying about life and representing Christ because our lives do not reflect what we are saying. We tell them to be committed to church, volunteer to help the needy; but, they just don't get it. Why? Because we have spent so much time in church and helping the needy that we have neglected our children.

Don't get me wrong. Ministry, participating in church and helping the needy are a must in our society; but, within reason. Make sure what we are doing is a healthy example of how to do ministry, church and helping the needy. When we do this our children and fellow colleagues or employees will have a desire to honor us by doing a good job and representing us well. This leads me to the passage of scripture I want to bring to our attention.

As I opened my Bible to read today, the page fell open to a passage I had underlined previously in Ezekiel. Once again it jumped out at me.

Just that one little passage says so much. I believe if more people would read Ez. 20:22 of The Message, we would all get along so much better, accomplishing so much more in our world that immediately surrounds us.

God was fed up with the Israel. He wanted to let His anger and frustration loose upon them. He had every right to. They had disobeyed. They were doing what they wanted without consulting God. They knew how to live their lives better without God. But God didn't "vent." He said, "I thought better of it and acted out of who I was, not by what I felt, so that I might be honored and not blasphemed by the nations who had seen me bring them out." Ez. 20:22 MSG

The next time something doesn't get done the way we wanted; or our kids don't want to do something we have asked of them, remember this passage. God thought better of venting. He ACTED OUT OF WHO HE WAS not by how He felt. For some of us we will have to work a little harder to not act out of how we feel. As we work on it we will find it will be worth it. People will respect and honor us more for acting out of who we are.

May we all be committed to working on our character. Allow God to shape us into someone that is honorable. Don't take the easy road. Becoming a man or woman of character takes work, but it is well worth the effort we put into it. Remember, our lives are being watched. What are our lives saying to others. Let's be challenged today to act out of who we are in Christ, not out of how we are feeling.

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

"God, what in the world are You doing?"

If you are like me that occurs quite often. We are going along with our lives, just like always, and something comes along to through us a curve ball. We have to be careful to keep focused on Christ and His purpose and plan for our life. In our lives of ministry and family and work we can begin doing things out of routine, not from the heart.

Remember God has brought us through circumstances before and just because we are being a little detained at the time, does not mean He has forgotten you. Keep going. Keep reading His Word. Keep communicating and praying. He knows where you are. You are exactly where He wants you.

Those thoughts came to me today as I was contemplating all you who follow me. Take heart. God IS in control.

Be blessed!!!

Monday, May 24, 2010

I Promise!

We often say "I promise" with good intentions, but fail to follow through with the promise. I am guilty of this very thing...several posts back I wrote I would be posting more on Moses and did not follow through with my promise. Now, if Jack Bauer were to say "I promise" you could count on him to follow through with it. The same goes for Moses at this part of his journey.

I do apologize for not following through with the promise, but I am posting more on Moses now...

Exodus 13:19 (MSG) "Moses took the bones of Joseph with him, for Joseph had made the Israelites solemnly swear to do it, saying, 'God will surely hold you accountable, so make sure you bring my bones from here with you.'"

The Israelites were heading for the land which God had promised them and Moses made sure the bones of Joseph were in route as well. Moses was not taking the promise made, lightly. He knew how important this promise was...even if the person who made them promise was dead. It was so important that Joseph impressed upon the people that God was going to hold them accountable for the promise.

As I was thinking on this I began to think of where God has taken me over the years, the place He has brought me at this point in my life and where He is taking me. What has God done for you? Where are you right now because of what God has done for you? Where is He taking you? Has He promised you things while in your private prayer time with Him? Are we living expecting those promises to be fulfilled?

I know that 20 years ago, as I was in a hospital chapel praying for my son, Daniel, to be healed and his life spared, God gave me the word restoration for Daniel. That same night I heard a testimony on Kenneth Copeland's program of a woman who had what my son had while pregnant. Her baby had to be born prematurely and not expected to live. That evening on the broadcast they spoke of restoration. Other confirmations happened in the following days. I have stood on that promise for 20 years. Daniel will be 22 years old this year. He has been totally dependant on others for his survival since the age of 15 months old. He cannot walk or talk, but I believe, and stand on the promise God gave me, that Daniel will one day be restored, and walk and talk as a normal man his age. Just when I say, "God I am ready to give up. I am just going to accept Daniel as he is," God reaffirms His promise through some person or something I read.

God's promises are worth remembering and keeping. Joseph never saw the land God promised, but he did believe it was going to happen and made sure those who actually saw it fulfilled carried him in with them. Many years after his death, Joseph was being transported to the fulfillment of the promise God gave. Moses made sure and followed through with the promise given to Joseph.

Promises are worth keeping. Promises are worth believing in year after year. Promises should always be in the forefront of our mind. Promises should always be fulfilled.

God gives us an awesome example to follow. He always comes through with His promise. It may not be when we want or how we expect, but He always fulfills His promise. Remember, don't give up on the promises given to us. Make sure we follow through with the promises we make.

Let's learn from Moses and Joseph and expect the promises in our lives to shine bright and be an example for generations to follow.

Saturday, May 8, 2010

A Tribute to Mothers and Grandmothers

In today’s society it is easy to say a marriage is too hard and move on…even in the church. After you move on you just find another “significant other” and start over. Because of various circumstances that may need to be done. My point is, we need to make sure we have tried to do whatever we could to save the marriage and use divorce only as a last resort. When we live with another person that is our opportunity to allow God to mature and develop us, into the person He desires us to be, by using our differences. So, don’t take lightly the person God has placed in your life. Remember we are leaving a legacy. What kind of legacy are we portraying to those following after us?

That leads me into who I want to admonish this month, since it is Mother’s Day. My mom is a wonderful woman who has lived her life with Christ as her Source. The reason she was able to do this was because of the tremendous heritage from her own mother.

You see, back when it was not the normal way of life, my grandfather left my grandmother and their five young daughters. My grandmother had traveled from Oklahoma, to Virginia, to California, and back to Oklahoma to try and save their marriage. My grandfather just didn’t want the responsibility and decided to leave. In those days families lived close to each other, so my grandmother had her family to help her. She worked and did what she needed to do in order to provide and raise those girls to follow after God.

Her pastor admonished her to remarry. He reassured her it would be alright, but grandma would not even contemplate remarriage. In those days if you divorced you were not suppose to remarry and she stood by that belief. It didn’t matter what the weather was like, Grandma would walk with her five little girls to church for every meeting. They were committed to the house and that commitment would be passed on to her daughters and they would in turn pass it on to their children.

When grandma began to be blessed with grandchildren she was able to see the harvest of seeds she had sown. In our family when the church was holding a service or needed people to help with anything we were there. If, for some reason, we were not able to make it to church we had church at grandmas. My sister was the song leader and I was our preacher. We had a great time and we always had an altar call! As I remember back to that it makes me smile. I also think that is why my sister’s and I do what we do today. As we grew up my mom and dad were very active in our church and encouraged young people. That was important to them and I can see how that has influenced the way I do ministry today. My mom’s faith had an influence on my dad. If she had not learned from her mom, the importance of commitment and faith and passed it on, who knows where our family would be today?

My grandmother is going to be 95 years old this year and has lived a very good and fruitful life. She has dementia and it has been hard on my mom and dad, since grandma has lived next door to them for years. They finally had to put her in a nursing center, where her brother was able to move in with her. The five daughters take turns going and sitting with them. Her short term memory has been affected. She does recognize me when I call, and remembers where I live. It is hard to see someone you love affected in this way, but I will always cherish the heritage she and my parents gave me and my sisters. I thank God for the privilege of having a mother and grandmother who loved God with all their heart, mind and soul and gave that love to me.

I understand some of us did not have the privilege of growing up with this kind of heritage; but, my question to each of us is, “What kind of heritage are we leaving for our children and grandchildren?” Will they be committed to the house in which they worship or more committed to extra-curricular activities? Don’t get me wrong, extra-curricular activities are important; but should never replace the commitment to our local church, as long as that church is thriving and healthy. The commitment to the local church should be seen in our activities. Are we making sure our lives are balanced and healthy? Are we leaving the legacy that Timothy’s mother and grandmother left him as seen in 2 Timothy 1:5?

This month we celebrate Mother’s Day; let’s not forget to celebrate our mom’s and thank them for what they mean to us. We can also take time to remember our spiritual mom’s and the influence they have in our lives. May God bless you as you continue on your journey with Him and be purposeful in influencing others.

Friday, April 9, 2010

"You're not a Janitor, You're a Contractor" Love Happens

I was enjoying watching the movie "Love Happens" and this one line jumped out at me...

"You're not a janitor, you're a contractor."

A man lost everything after his son died on his construction site. He quit building and began working as a janitor. He had not allowed himself to grieve and get on with his life. He was holding onto pain and disappointment.

I immediately thought of people in ministry doing something other than what God called them to because of hurt or resentment. It was just too painful to face and deal with the issue. There are some who were in ministry, but no longer are because of what someone did, said, or didn't do. The saying, "face the pain" comes to mind. We have to face our fears, our hurts, our disappointments,in order to move past them.

Are we guilty of allowing something or someone in our life to trip us up and get us off track? Maybe someone hurt us or didn't like what we were doing so we just gave up. Just because we are hurt or disagreed with doesn't give us the right to quit and do something else, if God called us. We will never be happy doing what we are doing now because it is not what God called us to. What is important is we pray and ask God to give us wisdom and discernment on where we go from here.

It is not too late. We need to allow God to take us to the place and ministry He wants us to be in. We need to stop running and watch the power of God restore and transform us. As we do this God will be able to use us in the way He intended from the beginning. As Jeanne May has said, "Messed up? Learn the lesson but forget the details."

I am glad things "pop" or "jump" out at me when I am having fun. That's God. I am so glad He can do that and I am attentive to listen. It is my desire that this has helped you move on and forward into God's divine calling. As you go throughout your day take this scripture with you...

"You didn't choose me, remember; I chose you, and put you in the world to bear fruit, fruit that won't spoil. As fruit bearers, whatever you ask the Father in relation to me, he gives you." (Jn. 15:16 Msg)

Saturday, April 3, 2010

Who is in Your Prayer Journal?

"I'm praying for you."

When we say those words do we actually do what we say? Do we really pray for the person? We may have been honest in saying we would, but get caught up in our day to day lives we don't actually pray. We all have good intentions. I have been guilty of this myself. I have learned to keep a list of people who ask me to pray in my Bible and in my journal, so I will remember to pray.

At Easter each year I read through the account in the Gospels regarding the death and resurrection of Jesus. As I was reading this time in the book of John I noticed a prayer Jesus prayed. In Chapter 16 Jesus is telling the disciples what they would have to deal with in the future and ends with a word of encouragement. They will be "unshakable" because Jesus has "conquered the world." (The Message) We find Jesus in Chapter 17 praying for other people. We read in the other Gospels about Jesus praying "not my will but yours," but here we learn one more lesson.

When we are facing our toughest days, when it seems we are going to go under from all the stress and pressure, when we just want to give up, don't! Look at what Jesus did, knowing they were coming to arrest Him.

He prayed for us!

Take a good long look at John 17. I like reading it in the Message version. Jesus cared so much for us He prayed "not only for them but also for those who will believe in me...the goal is for all of them to become one heart and they might be one heart and mind with us."

He was on His way to being accused falsely, stripped, beaten, ridiculed and stabbed; yet He thought of you and me and taught us one more lesson...

Do not allow the circumstances in which we live...the hurt from others, the lack of love, the disappointments of our children, the lack of support from those we lead...keep us from our God given destiny. God has a plan for our lives. He will get us there and on the way we are to keep those whom our lives have touched, in the forefront of our minds and prayers. What about those who accepted Christ after hearing us preach or teach? Do we remember them in our prayers, or do we leave that for others? Pray for them daily. Don't get so caught up in ministry and our every day lives we forget the thing that matters the most...prayer. As we pray for them our lives will be touched. God will get us to where we need to be, just keep others first.

As we celebrate Christ's resurrection this year let's thank Him for what He did for us on the cross and through the resurrection, but also for what He did on the way to the cross. I pray this blesses you and I will get back to the lessons learned from Moses. Until next time be blessed.

Monday, February 15, 2010

God's Protection from Failure

It's one of those verses that jumps out at you. The story is one of the most memorable of the Old Testament. For those of us who are in our upper 40's and above, when we think of Moses, the picture that comes to our mind is Charleton Heston.

I was doing my daily reading in the book of Exodus. I had to be careful, because I was temptated to read through the plagues at a fast pace. Why should I take my time on them? I already know the story, right? Yes and no. If I would have sped through that part of the story I may have missed the verse that jumped out at me.

"If the people encounter war, they'll change their minds and go back to Egypt." Ex. 13:17b(MSG). What? I thought God wanted them to learn how to trust Him. That's why He led them through the wilderness and not the shortest route. So I looked in the NIV thinking our friend Eugene Peterson just paraphrased the verse wrong. "If they face war, they might change their minds and return to Egypt." (NIV) Ok, so what about the New American Standard? "The people might change their minds when they see war." (NAS) Alright, I will take a look at what good ole King James says. "Lest perhaps the people change their minds when they see war, and return to Egypt." (NKJV)

So what I found was this: God was protecting them from failure. He did not want them to take the shortest route to the land of promise, because He didn't want them to lose heart and turn around; missing out on all He had for them.

How often does this happen in our own lives. We start out on a journey. It has been a difficult decision to make. There have been various obstacles trying to keep us in the place we are right now. Finally, it seems this is the right time. We are ready to step out. We make preparations. Just when we think we are going, something prevents us from stepping out once again. So we put it on hold. Then, it happens, we have to go and we must go now! So we do what we know God is saying.

Now, what seems like the best way seems to be blocked. We don't understand. God is leading us down a path we don't quite understand, but we follow.

There is so much more in this part of scripture, but for now, let's look at just this one verse...

In our lives, it may look like we should take a route that seems good. That route may be faster to get to our destination; but is it the route God wants us to take? There is definitely a reason God is not taking us down that route. We may encounter obstacles that would cause us to let go of our dream and vision. God knows what He is doing. Let's learn this lesson from Moses and the Isralites.

Over the course of the next few days I will be posting more on this passage. For today, let's ask ourselves the question: "Am I taking the route God has for me on my journey; or am I taking the route I think is best?" I would love to hear about some of the journey's many of you are on.

Thursday, February 11, 2010

Is it a Good Thing or is it a Rabbit Trail?

It is easy to get excited about something that really looks good. But, the question it really a good thing?

I thought of this when I recently read Proverbs chapter 4. Verse 25 of the Message says, "Keep your eyes straight ahead, ignore all sideshow distractions." Immediately rabbit trails came to my mind.

Rabbit trails more often than not lead to good. What starts out looking really good eventually is not what we thought it was going to be. As leaders, as people of influence, as moms, we need to stay focused so those following us get to where God is leading them. If we get off it doesn't mean we no longer influence people, it means we just influence them down the wrong trail.

Now, God can always get us back on the right trail, but it is so much easier if we just stay focused on His wisdom.

In all honesty, there will be some rabbit trails that really look good, as we are developing into what God wants us to become. There may be several. They may even have to do with the dream God placed in our heart, but it may not be what He wants at this point in our lives. We need to make sure we do as Prov. 4:25 says and stay focused. Ask God for discernment. It may be good, but God has better STRAIGHT ahead.

God has vision for us. He is taking us down a trail that may have a few difficult situations. Those difficulties will only make us stronger if we go through them and allow God access to our heart. If we take the rabbit trail that looks better or easier, we just may not learn what God intended for us to learn. This means we have to stay disciplined. We have to stay strong. We have to constantly remind ourselves that God is in charge here, not us. He will conquer.

Take time to think of where you are in your dream, your vision. Are you going down a rabbit trail or is the good thing? Is is the real thing? Is it God?

Thursday, January 28, 2010

The Dirty Oven Speaks

Use your imagination a bit. Now, work with me on this.

"Why do you wait so long to clean me?" the oven cried out.

"Because I don't like the work it takes to clean you," says me.

Oven's response..."If you wouldn't wait so long it would not be so much work."

"Ouch, that hurts," I replied.

How often do we do that to our own lives; especially as leaders. We love and feel compelled to tell other's what they need to work on in their lives. But, for a long minute let's take a look at our own lives.

What is it that we have let sit around and grow crusty and hard? It may start out small, like a small spill in the oven, but as time goes on it becomes hard and more spills happen. We may think it is not that important or that big, so we let it sit there...a hurt word from a parishoner, a harsh response from our spouse, a neglected attitude, the list could go on. Each person has their own "spill."

It has been said we will not lead past our own spiritual or leadership growth; so my challenge to each of us today is to take a good look at our lives. Where do we want to go in our spiritual and leadership development? Have we come to a stand still? Do we wonder why we're not seeing growth in those we lead?

Maybe it is because we have allowed too many "spills" in our lives. Our lives have become hard to those who truly love us and want us to succeed. It is so very important to make sure the hurts, harsh responses from people and our own neglected attitudes do not build up to the place it seems impossible to clean.

As I was cleaning my oven I realized how much easier it would have been to have cleaned up the spill when it happened. But, there was the excuse, "the oven's too hot, I'll wait." I would then wait and get caught up doing other things. That is so true for our own lives. We think about changing, but put it off until a more convenient time. It would be so much easier to forgive the person that made the hurtful remark when it happened. Instead we would much rather let it sit awhile, as we have a pity party for ourself.

God wants us to realize that this is the time. Now is better than later. Allow the Holy Spirit to come in, saturate us with His presence and speak into our spirit. In order to get my oven clean I had to saturate it with oven cleaner and let it sit. Well, we have a spiritual oven cleaner...the Holy Spirit. Sit in the presence of the Holy Spirit and stay there a while. Let Him show us what has been sitting in our life and getting hard. He can clean us up and make us like new.

Remember, as leaders, it is imperative we do this on a regular basis. Make sure we do not get to the point that we do not think we need this. We cannot do life and ministry alone. We need God to show us where we are weak and vulnerable. He does this as we sit in His presence and often times uses others as well. As He does this and we have allowed Him access we become stronger leaders and more humble leaders.

I trust this has spoken to each of us and we all go away stronger because of it.

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Challenge of Old Testament vs New Testament Hearing God

Okay, if you ask me it is tough to "hear" God's voice speaking. It's not because I'm not listening. It's because I am human and human inhibitions and reasoning get in the way. We have to be very careful to discern and know God's voice.

That sort of jumped out at me as I read the passage of scripture where God spoke to Abraham about sacrificing Isaac. (Gen. 22:1-19 Msg)

"1 After all this, God tested Abraham. God said, "Abraham!"
"Yes?" answered Abraham. "I'm listening."
2 He said, "Take your dear son Isaac whom you love and go to the land of Moriah. Sacrifice him there as a burnt offering on one of the mountains that I'll point out to you." 3-5 Abraham got up early in the morning and saddled his donkey. He took two of his young servants and his son Isaac. He had split wood for the burnt offering. He set out for the place God had directed him. On the third day he looked up and saw the place in the distance. Abraham told his two young servants, "Stay here with the donkey. The boy and I are going over there to worship; then we'll come back to you."
6 Abraham took the wood for the burnt offering and gave it to Isaac his son to carry. He carried the flint and the knife. The two of them went off together.
7 Isaac said to Abraham his father, "Father?"
"Yes, my son."
"We have flint and wood, but where's the sheep for the burnt offering?"
8 Abraham said, "Son, God will see to it that there's a sheep for the burnt offering." And they kept on walking together.
9-10 They arrived at the place to which God had directed him. Abraham built an altar. He laid out the wood. Then he tied up Isaac and laid him on the wood. Abraham reached out and took the knife to kill his son.
11 Just then an angel of God called to him out of Heaven, "Abraham! Abraham!"
"Yes, I'm listening."
12 "Don't lay a hand on that boy! Don't touch him! Now I know how fearlessly you fear God; you didn't hesitate to place your son, your dear son, on the altar for me."
13 Abraham looked up. He saw a ram caught by its horns in the thicket. Abraham took the ram and sacrificed it as a burnt offering instead of his son.
14 Abraham named that place God-Yireh (God-Sees-to-It). That's where we get the saying, "On the mountain of God, he sees to it."
15-18 The angel of God spoke from Heaven a second time to Abraham: "I swear—God's sure word!—because you have gone through with this, and have not refused to give me your son, your dear, dear son, I'll bless you—oh, how I'll bless you! And I'll make sure that your children flourish—like stars in the sky! like sand on the beaches! And your descendants will defeat their enemies. All nations on Earth will find themselves blessed through your descendants because you obeyed me."
19 Then Abraham went back to his young servants. They got things together and returned to Beersheba. Abraham settled down in Beersheba."

There were several things that stood out. The first being that God audibly spoke to Abraham. In Abraham's day God spoke directly to specific people. Today anyone can hear God's voice because of Christ. When Christ ascended back to heaven the Holy Spirit was sent to guide us. (Jn.6:13-16; I Cor. 2:10-16; Rom 8)

Now, I got to thinking about that a it easier for us today to hear God's voice, or harder? God spoke directly to Abraham and told him to sacrifice his son. Today more often than not God speaks to us through His Spirit, not an audible voice. If He would tell us to do something like that we may weigh both sides of the I do it or I really hearing God's voice or is it mine? Abraham had a direct line to God...was it easier for him? Maybe. Was it easier for him to obey? Maybe, maybe not.

He was asked to sacrifice his only son... the son God had promised him. His lineage was to be through Isaac...the one that would be more than you could count. How could God ask him to do such a thing. Those questions may have been going over and over in Abrahams mind. We don't know what he was thinking. Scripture doesn't tell us. But be sure, he was a man and he was a father. It was not easy.

The road he took that day to Moriah must have been a long tumultuous rode. Inner battles must have been going on. He was human.

Too often we treat scripture as a fairy tale without really looking at the whole picture. When we read it helps if we put ourselves in the situation in which we are reading. We then can better understand the circumstances of what was taking place. These people in the Bible were just like us, going through struggle after struggle, yet hearing from God.

How much better do we have it? Each one of us has access directly to God. He may tell us to do things we do not understand. It is okay to question, but do not dwell on that question. If God tells you to do something, do it. He will come through. It may be just in the nic of time, but He will come through.

We have the issue of deciding if it is God's idea or our idea; but, if we are truly seeking God and reading His word, He will come through and we will discern what is right.

The important question is not, "Was it easier for people of the Old Testatment to hear God's voice," but "Am I listening to the still small voice of discernment God has given me through His Holy Spirit?"