Sunday, July 6, 2014

Time out of mind

(This post is actually from some months ago, but it ended up in the draft bin. So here it is now, instead.)

I found this article absolutely Fascinating, for two reasons. One, the 80 millisecond lag interested me because it seems that lights always take much longer to go off than that for me. That is to say, when I flip the switch that turns off the light, it looks like it takes almost a full second for the light to "run out." I couldn't imagine what the electrical excuse could possibly be for it, but it's probably just my brain. There are all sorts of implications in this article for people whose brains have a lag between one part and another, and for people (like me) who have especially high thresholds for attention spans and focus.

The second aspect, yet the trigger that brought me into the article, was the idea that things happen, but our brains lag until they've Formed the perception of it. As a Christian, I've always looked for some kind of analogy to explain to people how one "hears" God, because the word "hear" is so very audible, but the experience is pretty much guaranteed not to be. That is, God doesn't talk in your ear, he talks to your spirit, but the experience is not subjective - he is not you, he has his own words to say and, for the most part, they are not what you expected or particularly wanted to hear.

The analogy I've come up with is that when you "hear" him, it's the immediacy and the echo of someone who's just spoken. You know, like when someone at the next desk tells another friend, "Our English test has been moved up to this afternoon." Wait! What??? You were doing your own thing but the echo of those words are stamped very clearly in your mind. Or perhaps an announcement comes over the loudspeaker at Walmart, "Will the party meeting Darcy Milbanks please come to the Service Counter to pick up Mr. Milbanks." You may not be meeting anyone as you browse the cereal aisle, but the words catch your imagination a moment later as you recall, "Darcy Milbanks. That's a bit unusual for around here. I wonder what that's all about."

The voice of God is something like that. I'm not hearing it audibly, but I'm perceiving it as if the words still hung in the air between us. 

There's a second aspect to the voice of God that is ALWAYS true: He never disagrees with Himself. He will never say anything or ask you to do anything that doesn't line up with scripture. Count on it.

Now that you know that He always agrees with the Bible, you want to know where the best place is to hear Him? The scriptures. Just go read them. Read them so you are familiar with all of them. Don't worry about understanding them all, just read them all until you know all the stories really well, can recognise when someone is quoting the New Testament or the Old Testament straight away and (this is when you know you are starting to know the sound of his voice) you know when someone is misquoting the Bible. When you know someone has inserted words that aren't there, or has left out the the big context of a scripture so they can bend the truth and whine about their pet peeve instead, then you know you are beginning to recognise God's voice.

I heard someone make a great analogy once about knowing the scriptures and hearing the voice of God out of them, and it really is true. Imagine you had a little wireless teletype machine, one that you could use to send messages back and forth by radio, but the only messages you could receive would be the ones you had letters for. So if you only had five letters of the alphabet on your machine, you could make out short little words and do some little abbreviations of some others, and you could get some kind of information going back and forth.

Well, imagine if you got five more letters of the alphabet on your teletype message machine, what an explosion of information you'd have in your ability to send and receive message traffic! It's the same way with the voice of God, He is going to talk to you first out of the Word. The message of salvation is the same as it's been since that first day Jesus came out of the grave, and that's the first thing God is trying to get over to you. After that, He's trying to talk to you thru all the other things He put in those scriptures - and if you will go add those to your receiver, He can talk to you out of them, just like adding alphabet keys to your typewriter.

The Holy Spirit is your teacher and He is present with you always, and will never leave you. You don't have to go to every church in town or graduate seminary or hire a tutor to teach you about God. Read the scriptures, talk about what you are reading with your Father God, and let the Holy Spirit instruct you from the inside out.  If you are listening to Him, don't be rehearsing all the time what you used to think, just observe what's going on in the Bible and follow along with what He is saying in there. You'll learn if you LISTEN.

 (Don't worry, worryworts, the Holy Spirit always leads us to be in the company of fellow believers. Remember that in the scriptures?)

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