The Volume Level

08/12/2008

What do we have turned up in our life, and what do we have turned down? What if we are constantly tuned into a radio station called KFAITH, on the God channel, but there are times when we have it turned up loud, and times when we can’t hear it at all? That’s what I started thinking about as I was reading an article by Charles Stanley. It was in an issue of “In Touch” magazine that was a couple of months old—one that I came across while clearing out some clutter here in our RV—but I had to smile as I saw the cover that included a picture of a river, with the words “The Danger of Drifting” written across it. I thought, “Okay Lord, where are we going now?” I knew God was starting to put the pieces of a new message on my heart since that very week I would be taking a trip down the San Joaquin River with my brother, Steve, in his canoe.

So, here we go……not only down the San Joaquin River, but also through the latest lessons God has been giving me about having a closer more receptive relationship with Him.

Chapter One

When I read through the article about drifting, I was reminded of a sermon I once listened to by Dr. David Haney, our pastor and friend. Dave spoke about being tuned into God to hear His voice—something like we would tune into a radio station. If we are listening to KFAITH, might we hear:

God: Hello my children! So good of you to join Me today from wherever you are. I’m here to make your journey through life more peaceful and more intentional. Drifting along without My guidance can lead you into places that aren’t that good for you, but if you’ll stay tuned into My voice, I will be glad to lead you into what will be best for you each day. I’m so glad we have this time together. Here’s what’s happening at the moment…Stay tuned in and keep that volume level turned up…I’ll be with you each step of the way through your life!

What would our reaction be to that? Would we turn up the volume of God’s voice, waiting expectantly for the next instructions we might receive, or would we turn down God’s voice to be able to concentrate on the things we felt were more important at the moment? Sometimes, we might even keep the volume right where it is but not even hear God’s voice, “tuning Him out” as our own thoughts keep His voice from being heard. If you’re like me, you’ve tried all these options. Which one has worked best for you? I know what works best for me, I don’t always choose it…but I want to!

I don’t really understand myself,
for I want to do what is right, but I don’t do it.
Instead, I do what I hate.
Romans 7:15 (NLT)

Why do we do this? Because the devil makes us do it? Well, sort of, but not really. We do it because even though we don’t want to do what we shouldn’t, we do want to do it, we just don’t want to want to do it, but we do. I know, crazy thinking, maybe we’re drifting!! Let’s try to sort this out. Let’s reveal what our enemy, Satan, doesn’t want us to know right at the start, and then work it out with “fear and trembling” from there. Here’s what’s buried deep inside each of us, as explained by Hannah Whitall Smith:

“The secret lies just here—that our will, which is the spring of all our actions, has been in the past under the control of sin and self, and these have worked in us all their own good pleasure. But now God calls upon us to yield our wills up unto Him, that He may take the control of them, and may work in us to will and to do of His good pleasure. If we will obey this call and present ourselves to Him as a living sacrifice, He will take possession of our surrendered wills and will begin at once to work in us ‘that which is well pleasing in his sight, through Jesus Christ,’ giving us the mind that was in Christ and transforming us into His image (see Romans 12:1-2).”

Our will vs. God’s will vs. Satan’s will…and so the adventure begins…

As I traveled down the river with Steve in his canoe, I was able to experience first hand the difference between drifting any way the river wanted take us (being under the control of sin and self), compared to following the river guide (God’s control) and incorporating Steve’s skill and knowledge (yielding our wills up unto Him) towards where we needed to be so as not to tip over into the cold water (which was well pleasing in his sight) flowing out of the dam above us on the river.

It was a good time of year to be on the river, especially for a green horn like me, because many places along the way were almost as still as a lake. In fact, if the wind started blowing it could actually move us back up stream in some spots. But as in any river, there are those places in the calm where you can hear the sound of the water picking up speed, and if you’ve not traveled the river before you don’t know if you’re headed towards a waterfall, large or small, or maybe just some white-water rapids to be negotiated. Mostly it was white-water rapids that we met up with, and none too large in size, just enough to make the journey interesting.

With Steve positioned in the back of the canoe as the guide, yielding a double-bladed paddle, and me up front with a single paddle, we made our way down the river. Steve would point out things along the riverbank of interest, and we would stop and take some time so he could fish for a bit, or have lunch. We even had the opportunity to search for some fresh-water clams on the river bed. Of course, between brother and sister, the challenge was on when looking for clams!! And I lost! Steve found five, I only found four…but we laughed as we shared this time together.

The water we stood waist deep in while looking for clams was cold, very cold, and at first it seemed a bit unbearable. But it was a hot day in the Central Valley of California, and as our legs became numb, we began to not even notice it anymore—that was until it came time to not only reach into the water with my right arm (being numbed also by that time), but with my left arm as well, which seemed very unwilling to reach down into the water and claim a clam from the rocks below!

In Charles Stanley’s article he wrote of being numbed when we start drifting, ignoring things in the same way:

“When you start drifting, you begin to ignore your conscience. At first, your internal warning system pricks you, letting you know something isn’t right…But you continually excuse what you’re doing and where you’re headed…gradually, you desensitize your conscience so that it no longer bothers you.”

As we bent over into the cold water trying to decipher between mossy green rocks and mossy green clams, we became desensitized to the chill of the water and much more engrossed in the clams we were looking for. Once again, we were not in danger, not on this day, but Steve did tell me the story of a man whose life ended on that very same river when it ran faster and deeper, and maybe even colder. The power of God in nature is not to be toyed with…But what about the power of God in us? Do we toy with that? Are we tuned in? Is the volume level turned up? Or are we desensitized to the things God is saying that will keep us from drifting, perhaps into dangerous waters?

Dr. Stanley writes:

“You suffer internally, if not externally, when you choose to let go of your fellowship with God….(When) You don’t hear God anymore or sense His presence…that is a terrible place to be!”

Are we listening for God’s instructions in our day? I know I was listening to Steve as my guide when the white-water times came on the river. I would await his instructions as to what side of the river we would head for to make it the best possible run through the rapids without tipping the canoe over. And when those times came, I would keep my paddle out of the water and let Steve guide us to where we needed to be with his double-bladed paddle as he worked to better position us. Then, as we entered into the rush of water—being the novice that I am—I just did what I could to keep the front end of the canoe I sat in out of the trees and rocks that the river was trying its best to steer us into.

We made it, as evidenced by the fact that I’m here writing this today! Actually, there was very little that was life-threatening about this adventure; it was more humility-threatening than anything as evidenced by the dunk in the river that I experienced at the very end of the day. On my last time getting out of the canoe, in I went, now soaked for the ride home in the car—it was much more wet than dangerous!! Much more humiliating than scary! Steve had a good laugh at his younger sister’s expense, which is fine and all in good humor. But in life, we don’t want the enemy, Satan, ever having a bad laugh at our expense. Ever! And he will, if we are not tuned into our “River Guide,” if we are not following God’s example, if we are not listening and obeying and following our Father’s instructions along the way. This is not to say we’ll never meet up with a waterfall or rapids beyond what we can handle—It’s to say that God’s there, ahead of us, behind us, and with us, so we need to listen to Him as we journey along. He will keep us where we need to be! It’s important to keep our “paddle” out of the water when told to, and let Him work it out! He is in control!

I have an area, if not many areas in my life where I know I deliberately turn down the volume on God’s voice, wanting to paddle in my own direction. One of the areas that I really want my own way in is with the food I eat; usually the amount in question is where I like to turn down the volume level on God’s voice. But also, when decisions come like, “Should I have the fries or the fruit,” fries it is, most times. Oh, I can hear God calling out the better way through the “rapids” ahead, but I choose not to listen, and so He lets me do it my way…the results of which I am not happy with—but the momentary pleasure in my own thinking seems to usually outweigh the thoughts on the long-term affects it will have.

The desire of the heart of every believer is to allow God to control all things in our life, but this is easier said and written about, than done. It takes discipline and practice to reach in and turn up the volume on God’s voice when He speaks, rather than listen to our own voice or the voice of the enemy that invades our thinking. (Take a read through Romans, especially around chapters 7 and 8.) This was experienced by me the other day while working through these thoughts and lessons—I chose to make a conscience effort to turn up the volume on God’s voice when it came, and to select the fruit instead of the fries. It was interesting to watch it work. I opened my menu, selected my meal, and saw the options…fries or fruit. I really wanted the fries, but I turned my thoughts inward, turning the volume down on my thoughts and turning up God’s promptings in my soul. (The soul is the mind, the will, and the emotions.) Once my willful volume was turned down, it was easier to ignore it and obey God’s voice with what was on the menu for me that day. I even think God made the fruit taste especially sweet, or so it seemed, because I really enjoyed it! I know that both externally and internally, I was in a better place having listened to His instructions about what was best for me—and the Holy Spirit actually helped me do it when I listened to Him. But as I share this, I so resonate with the sentiments written in the following paragraph:

“I do not feel myself qualified to instruct you: I can only tell you the way in which I was led. The Lord deals differently with different souls, and we ought not to attempt to copy the experience of others; yet there are certain things which must be attended to by every one who is seeking after a clean heart.”
(A portion of a letter written by William Hill in the year 1842)

God really does only want what’s best for us; He’s not trying to ruin our “fun.” I’d love to lose some weight along the way, but what I desire most is to listen to God’s voice as I should. That’s something I should be doing all the time, with all things, not just when it comes to eating. It needs to apply in every area of a believer’s life. God will still love us if we don’t always listen. God will still forgive us when we don’t always obey. God will still welcome us into His Heavenly Home, covered by the blood of Jesus, when our time on earth is finished. But, we’re missing out on the very best He has for us while we’re here if the volume level is turned down on His way of doing things.

If we are honest, maybe we could all say we have areas where we just don’t choose to listen when God speaks. It might be when we really think we need that extra cookie, or that new car we can’t afford, or to say that last or unkind word. Maybe we’re enjoying viewing things we shouldn’t, or spending time on things that are worthless, or neglecting God’s Word…the list could be extensive. Some things seem more harmful than others, but it’s all still being out of God’s will for what’s best in our lives, and that’s never good. Oh, we know God’s voice is there, but do we realize that by not listening to Him in all things we could be “suffering internally, if not externally”? When we squelch our direction from above and follow our own will, we’re headed in the wrong direction. The focus should not be on the weight we might need to lose, or on the purchase that’s out of our budget, or on the things we do or don’t do, the focus should be on our Lord, on listening to Him and having a closer more receptive relationship with Him throughout our days—and then no matter what we’re doing, we’ll be moving in the right direction!

Have we known this all along? Of course we have, it’s not that it’s new, it’s that it’s not being put into practice 24-7 by most of us. We know we are to listen, to obey, and that the end result is the best one when it comes from God—but as children we don’t always get it right the first time we’re told, or the second, or the tenth…we have to keep hearing and listening and practicing it until it’s not something we do, but instead it’s who we are in Christ.

With some things it’s easy to hear the voice of God and obey. Most of us would never steal a car or even a candy bar, because we know the voice of God would be loud and clear in our heads about it being out of His will. But what about taking a pen from work? Or what about working too long instead of going home to our families? What about being home with our families, but tuning them out? We can hear God reminding us, but we can convince ourselves that we really don’t need to listen when it comes to some things in life…but it does! Everything, every part of our life, every hair on our individual heads matters to God. The more we understand God’s involvement in our everyday comings and goings, the more we will start to live this life the way He designed it!

“Well done, my good and faithful servant. You have been faithful
in handling this small amount, so now I will give you many more responsibilities.”
Matthew 25:21 (NLT)

God was giving me these lessons on listening to His voice during my week-long vacation. While reading about drifting, and also taking a canoe ride with Steve, I was learning in God’s Classroom. Is God a fun Teacher, or what? He was teaching me how to better apply His Truths. God wants to open our eyes to what those things are. A study guide was placed in my hand, and a field trip was taken to experience what an even deeper, more receptive relationship with our Lord might look like. The chilly water made me aware of how numb we can all be to God’s voice in a certain areas of our life. To be tuned in, and keeping the volume level turned up on KFAITH is vital. When we’re not willing to listen and obey, not only will our “canoe” just drift through certain patches of life, but an “earthly wind” might blow us back upstream against God’s will. And in that direction, we are moving in the opposite direction of the Living Water that flows from within when the Holy Spirit controls our lives. Youch!

Dr. Stanley writes this about our disobedience: “God forgives him, (but) his life may never be what he had hoped.” Youch! Youch!! This is painful to hear!

I cry out, “My splendor is gone!
Everything I had hoped for from the Lord is lost!”
Lamentations 3:18 (NLT)

All this reminds me of a conversation I had with a friend during my vacation, which also included a trip to Monterey for the night. As my friend and I spent this time together, we had some great talks about what a life of knowing God can be like. Our discussions included a reference to flying on an airplane, and how all the passengers (believers) are on the same plane, all headed to the same Heavenly place—but some are traveling first class, some business class, and some cattle class. (My friend had never heard economy class described as cattle class before!) Having been on many flights between the U.S. and Europe, I have experienced all three levels of travel, and when it comes to flying, who wouldn’t pick first-class every time! It’s the only way to go, especially on a ten-hour-plus flight! But as my friend and I compared plane travel to our journey with God in our lives, we talked about how many of us are willing to settle for cattle class when first class is available for all who believe. Why do we do this? Why do we choose sometimes to sit in an uncomfortable place nibbling on a bag of peanuts when God is offering us better accommodations and a feast instead? The best “seats” are up front, close to the Pilot/God in our lives, communicating with Him, being confident in the direction He is taking us, and knowing Him as best we can so we can truly rest on the journey.

Do we become so numb to the choices we are making that we don’t even realize we are missing out on the best God has to offer? The splendor He longs to give? Everything we have hoped for in this life? We do…it’s sad to say it, but we do.

Dr. Stanley warns us, “Just because your conscience isn’t blaring does not mean that the behavior or activity is okay…you can deaden yourself to the fact that you can’t even hear Him, but when that’s the case, you are in serious trouble.”

Chapter Two

(Yes, this is a LONG one. HA)

One of the things I always pray for is the opportunity, God willing,
to come at last to see you. For I long to visit you so I can share a
spiritual blessing with you that will help you grow strong in the Lord.
I’m eager to encourage you in your faith, but I also want to be encouraged
by yours. In this way, each of us will be a blessing to the other. I want you
to know, dear brothers and sisters, that I planned many times to visit you, but
I was prevented until now. Romans 1:10-13 (NLT)

I had wanted to make a trip like this one to the valley here in California for a long time, and at last it came together in an amazing way. On the trip back home, “tuned in” and casually talking to God I asked, “Lord, how come this week worked out exactly as it was planned? I expected things to change along the way?” It seemed He reminded me that He was the one who had put the week together, so there was no need for changes. Okay then…it was good to know that even though there are those times when we turn the volume of His voice down in our lives, that doesn’t necessarily mean it’s turned down in all areas. We just need to figure out when we’re listening, and when we’re not.

Another part of my vacation included a wonderful breakfast with my mother-in-law, Wilma, in Fresno, and then a visit with some relatives in their awesome bookstore there in town. After that I was able to travel up into the foothills to spend some time with my brother, Howard, and his family in Coarsegold. He and his wife and daughters had my granddaughter, Denell, visiting with them all week, and I went to pick her up and spend some time relaxing with them in the country air. While there, we watched a movie called, “Time Changer,” if I remember the title right. Now, I’m a time-travel movie lover, so this was right up my alley. The movie was about a man who came from the 1800’s into the 21st century to see the results of a society built on morals, but one that didn’t include building it all on the foundation of Jesus Christ. In the equation, it summed up to this: “When we live simply by morals, without including Jesus, it equals zero.”

As believers in Jesus Christ, we want to be good, we want to obey and not drift into dangerous waters, of course we do, but even in that we have to know that listening to the Holy Spirit within is where our power to follow God’s will comes from, not from listening to our own instructions, to our own selves, making our own rules and regulations. If we’re the one “paddling,” it will be so much harder—when doing things our own way instead of God’s way it will eventually cause us to collapse in exhaustion, probably short of “our” goal. Willpower is not the same as being powered by the Spirit of God. If we’re just trying to be “good,” but neglecting the very basic formula of obedience to our Lord which is because God is saying so and I’m listening and following Him, then we’re probably headed for “serious trouble,” as Dr. Stanley warns.

We can become rule makers, and rule followers, but personally and globally, if we’re operating without God in the mix, we’re headed for disastrous results. We need God at the core of all our thoughts and actions, because it’s not about being good, it’s about being obedient, and only with God’s Holy and Righteous directions can we truly live in that obedience. Tuning into the voice of God that lives inside each of us—keeping the volume turned up to a level where we can hear Him clearly—allows the life giving water of Jesus Christ to be the powerful force that will carry us Home. It can be an amazing ride with the Spirit of God being our Guide through life. It’s not about following the “law,” it’s about following JESUS!

When they refused to acknowledge God, he abandoned them
to their evil minds and let them do things that should never
be done. Their lives became full of every kind of wickedness,
sin, greed, hate, envy, murder, fighting, deception, malicious
behavior, and gossip. They are backstabbers, haters of God,
insolent, proud, and boastful. Romans 1:28-30 (NLT)

In that conglomeration of wickedness we may find our area(s) of weakness. I see some of mine. We’re all included in that list; no one escapes the temptations of this sinful world except for Jesus Christ. That’s why we need His blood to cleanse us from such a mess! Romans 2:1 says, “You may be saying, “’What terrible people you have been talking about!’ But you are just as bad, and you have no excuse! When you say they are wicked and should be punished, you are condemning yourself, for you do these very same things.” We all do! We all turn down the volume on God’s voice at different times in our every day, and we sin. We gossip, or we fight, or we deceive, or we get greedy, or become proud, etc…the list could be never ending. In fact, I believe I have included a much longer list in one of my previous messages of all the ways in which we sin. We fail to be “good” when we try to go it alone down the river of life. In many ways, we try to make it without God, thinking we have enough common sense to get us where we’re going. We turn God’s voice down and we make our own decisions, and then we mess things up! Believe me, if we really listened to God on full volume, 24-7, we would be living an amazing, first-class life!! It’s guaranteed!!

But no, you won’t listen. So you are storing up terrible punishment
for yourself because of your stubbornness in refusing to turn from your sin.
Romans 2:5 (NLT)

My brother, Howard, told me when I was at his home in Coarsegold, many of us tend to live the life of Faith like it’s a mile wide, but only a foot deep. After being on the San Joaquin River with Steve, I saw how that type of “water” will not bring about the best results. We went through such shallow areas on the San Joaquin River that our canoe sometimes rubbed against the rocks below us and once in awhile even brought us to a complete stop. It’s better when the river of Living Water runs deep in our lives, so that we can glide along on the power-filled current of God, knowing the rocks are there but living far above them. Let’s not live a shallow existence! Let’s live like children of the King, because we are!

But the stone was just the right size
to put the giant on the ground
and the waves they don't seem so high
from on top of them looking down
I will soar with the wings of eagles
when I stop and listen to the sound of Jesus
singing over me

But the voice of truth tells me a different story
The voice of truth says do not be afraid
And the voice of truth says this is for my glory
Out of all the voices calling out to me
I will choose to listen and believe
I will choose to listen and believe the voice of truth
(“The Voice of Truth” by Casting Crowns)

So, if we’ve missed the Voice of Truth, are we completely lost?
Have we slipped on the green mossy rocks into the cold rushing river?
Are we all washed up, washed downstream, with no hope of being rescued?
NO!

But now God has shown us a different way of being right in his sight—
not by obeying the law but by the way promised in the Scriptures long ago.
We are made right in God’s sight when we trust in Jesus Christ to take
away our sins. And we all can be saved in this same way, no matter
who we are or what we have done. Romans 3:21-22 (NLT)

Jesus Christ takes it all away, He hauls away the “bad” in us, and brings in the “good.” Bad being the sin that He covers with His blood shed on Calvary, good being the forgiveness and eternal life we receive from Him, including the strength we will need to follow Him until we get there. What we are required to do is to listen up! It’s a choice we make!

They demonstrate that God’s law is written within them, for their own
consciences either accuse them or tell them they are doing what is right.
Romans 2:15 (NLT)

The truth be told, we know what’s right…we know what we should be doing, and what we shouldn’t—the very God who made us gave us each a conscience, so we’re only fooling ourselves when we don’t listen as He speaks to us through it. We’re being childish when we misbehave. Our Father knows we know better, but so many times we just refuse to do what’s right. Our loving Father will keep on instructing us our entire lives because we’ll never obey perfectly. We can’t. Perfection is God’s character, not ours. Holiness comes from Him, not us. Righteousness can only dwell in us with His Spirit living in us—on our own, we are weak and lost and confused. On our own we’ll go drifting down the river of life in some sort of la-la land, day-dreaming or stubbornly refusing the commands He gives to us if we’re not willing to turn up the volume on the God Channel. But when we do listen in, He points out the landmarks, the waterfalls ahead, the rough rapids we are maneuvering through. He’ll be there with us, helping us, guiding us, loving us unconditionally and showing us the way, because we are His. Little by little, we’ll learn a better way to be.

As I traveled to different locations while on vacation, I plugged in the addresses I was heading towards into the GPS (Global Positioning System). After that, I didn’t have to think about where I was going, all I had to do was listen for the voice that told me when to turn and where to turn, and even when I would be arriving. I think that was one of the best features on the GPS, to see the arrival time. Wouldn’t it be cool to have that for life in general? The new job will arrive on September 12, 2008. The new baby will arrive in exactly two years and three months. Our home will sell on December 1st. But, we don’t have a device to tell us these things in life—what we have is the voice of God through His Word, His servants, His Spirit, or whatever method He chooses to use to help us make our way Home. But as with a GPS, sometimes when we think we know the way, or want to make our own way, we can ignore the voice, turning the volume down so as not to have to listen to it…the “volume dial” on a GPS, and even on God’s Positioning System, is available. A GPS voice never even gets irritated when we turn it down, or if we make a wrong turn along the way. It just calmly says, “Recalculating,” and then a new map appears on the little screen and shows us a new route to our destination. It’s a little like God in that way…God knows where we’re going and He already knows when we will arrive. He also knows when we will go our own way and has provided for those seemingly “detours” in life. We get lost sometimes in life, we lose our way, but God never loses us! Never! No matter how far we may have drifted away from His guidance system, He can redirect us once again.

And since we have been made right in God’s sight
by the blood of Christ, he will certainly save us
from God’s judgment. Romans 5:9 (NLT)

Oswald Chambers writes:

“No one ever receives a word from God without instantly being put to the test regarding it. We disobey and then wonder why we are not growing spiritually…The teachings of Jesus hit us where we live. We cannot stand as imposters before Him for even one second. He instructs us down to the very last detail…When Jesus drives something home to you through His Word, don’t try to evade it…Examine the things you tend simply to shrug your shoulders about, and where you have refused to be obedient, and you will know why you are not growing spiritually.”

Don’t you realize that whatever you choose to obey becomes your master?
You can choose sin, which leads to death, or you can choose to obey God
and receive his approval. Romans 6:16 (NLT)

How many of us have shrugged our shoulders too many times in this life thinking it really doesn’t matter how much we listen to the voice of God, as long as we’re sort of listening in our day? But then, do we end up missing out on the best God is willing to give to us? Most importantly, are we stunting our spiritual growth?

I really think God wants for us, for me, to get this message, to understand how important it is to listen to Him and obey, as evidenced by what follows:

Epilogue

Jim was just heading out the door while I was sitting here working on this message when suddenly he put his stuff down, sat down on the couch, and began to tell me the methods of communication in the computer world. Normally when Jim, my genius-techy husband starts in on computer talk, I zone out and my eyes glaze over and he quickly finishes up, knowing I’m not really the least bit interested. I figure that’s one reason why God brought us together, so I don’t have to think about how a computer works, I just get to use it. But on this day, as Jim started talking I was prompted to listen up, it seemed he was about to give me some good information that I needed to know, even if it was about computers. Below is a bit of what Jim told me as I typed his words. When he was finished talking, he got up, picked up his laptop once again and headed out the door to work. I asked him before he left if he knew what I was writing about right now? He said he didn’t. It is interesting, fun and amazing to watch how God works!

Enjoy this bit of the techy world, even if you’re not a techy either. I think it has some interesting things to say about communication skills, not only between all of us, but between a believer and our Lord.

Jim began to explain to me the three ways a computer communicates. They are:

Simplex, Half-duplex, and Full-duplex.

With Simplex - one computer transmits, the other one listens, all information flows one way. In the case of a master-slave system, where the master doesn’t want any information back, this works. Usually it’s displayed on a computer screen that the master, the PC, sends, but there’s no information going back, it’s a one-way communication line.

With a Half-duplex - they transmit and receive on the same line. Like a CB radio—one transmits, the other one listens—and when he’s done, he sends an “I’m done,” and then the other one can transmit while the first one listens. If they try to transmit at the same time, it just gets garbled.

With Full-duplex - there are two lines of communication and they can both transmit and receive at the same time, like with a telephone.

Jim said, “People usually communicate in Half-duplex, but because our receivers aren’t working properly, all we’re doing is waiting for the ‘I’m done’ so we can have our turn to speak.” He said, “I call that passive listening as compared to active listening, which is when a person is actively listening to what the other person is saying and not just waiting for the ‘I’m done.’ In the computer world, if you’re not actively listening, you’re broken, and the part gets replaced because when received information is not acted upon, it falls into the ‘bit bucket” (An arcane geek term) as we call it, and it’s lost.”

(Are we letting God’s information fall into the bit bucket?)

Jim continued on with, “People, unlike computers, can't communicate effectively in Full-duplex, transmit and receive simultaneously. It doesn’t work very well if you talk and I talk at the same time. Because my ear is closer to my mouth, I’m going to hear what I say much louder than what you say, so I’m going to miss most of what you say.”

(Are we drowning out the Word of the Lord with our own words?)

Jim said, “The reason computers can communicate in Full-duplex is because they have more than one communication line, people do not. With computers, what is said on one line isn’t heard on the other line, so there’s no cross talk. If there is cross talk on computers (both being heard at the same time) it’s a bad thing and once again, a part gets replaced. Cross talk in human communication happens because there’s only one communication line called the atmosphere.”

(Are we saying “no” even before God is finished speaking His “yes” to us?)

In Jim’s opinion, he said, “It can be very easy to see those who are not actively listening when communicating. Passive listeners are just waiting for you to stop, so they can say what they want to say.” Jim added in, “Sometimes we do it because we’ll forget before the other person gets done, when our memory is getting old.” (So true!)

Simply put:
Simplex would be like radio or TV stations, broadcasting.
Half-duplex is like a CB radio, push to talk and then let go to listen.
Full-duplex is like a telephone. Simultaneous two-way communication.

With our Lord, He wants us to not only receive His messages to us, but to let go and actively listen when He speaks, so there will be a two-way communication with our Creator. He knows it will help us live a Full life, a joy-filled life even though sorrows will come. It has to be two-way, or no way with God, because that’s how all good relationships work.

As believers we’re all on the same channel, KFAITH, it would be best for us internally as well as externally to turn up the volume level when God speaks, actively listening! We don’t want to miss the call to first class living when there is a seat available for us! Yes, it seems we haven’t paid for it—that we might not belong there—but we do! Jesus already paid for our ticket! How awesome is that!! I’m not saying it’s easy, I’m just saying Jesus died to give us not only an eternal life in Heaven but an abundant life here on planet earth. Radio stations have a lot of “give-a-ways,” and we’ll tune in to listen and hope to be the 5th caller, or the 10th caller, or whatever it takes to win the prize. With God, we are already the winner on KFAITH! Now we just have to learn to live like a winner! To enjoy our prize! To realize it’s ours and hold tight to it!

Let it be said of us:

“But now you are free from the power of sin and have become slaves of God.
Now you do those things that lead to holiness and result in eternal life. For the
wages of sin is death, but the free gift of God is eternal life through Christ Jesus
our Lord.” Romans 6:22-23 (NLT)

Please Lord, help us all to turn You up and to turn the world and our own desires down! Let the noise from the plane’s engines that is heard in cattle class behind the wings become a thing of the past, and let the joy of first class be ours. Lord, we know there will still be turbulence in life, there will be still be lots of white-water rapids and waterfalls along the way to go over—You have warned us of that—but help us to ride this life out in Your peace and Your comfort, gliding and soaring through the bumps and the jolts and the fears on Your mighty wings. When You say,” This is your Captain speaking,” or “I’ll be your River Guide for today,” help us to actively listen more than we ever have before! AMEN

Until we meet again,

Diane