Friday, October 4, 2013

Turn Off The Noise!

A major source of weakness in my ability to
hear from God is that I don’t unplug,
I don’t turn off the noise or get
away from the distractions.
I am reading the book of Acts right now in my Bible reading plan and came across the passage in Acts 10 where Cornelius is praying at the ninth hour (3:00 PM) and is visited by an angel.  It occurred to me that in Acts 3 it said that Peter and John were going up to the temple at the ninth hour and that is when the man, lame from birth, was healed.

Later in Acts 10, Peter is on the roof of the house at the sixth hour (Noon) and receives the vision of the sheet and the unclean animals being lowered from heaven. The Lord speaks to him about what not to call unclean and this leads to the Gentiles receiving Jesus and being Baptized in the Holy Spirit.

In Acts 2 the Holy Spirit is first poured out at the third hour (9:00 AM).

Powerful miracles, powerful messages, powerful encounters with God and angels and all of them mention the time of day these took place.  My mind started looking for a pattern, the sixth hour, the ninth hour, or the third hour – was there something in common?  And then I saw it.  It was not the time of day; it was that in each of these instances the people had taken the time to separate themselves from the noise and busyness of life and pray. 

Peter and John were going up to the temple at the ninth hour – the hour of prayer.  Cornelius was praying at the ninth hour, Peter was on the rooftop at noon praying.  The group in Acts 2 was in the upper room several days after Jesus ascended into heaven.  It says in Acts 1 that they were devoting themselves to prayer.  They had set aside time for prayer.  The inference in the Scripture was that this was a pattern for each of these people; they often set time aside to be alone with God, and God visited them during these times.

A major source of weakness in my ability to hear from God is that I don’t unplug, I don’t turn off the noise or get away from the distractions.  And because I don’t, my mind and spirit do not easily connect with God.

We need to stop fooling ourselves that the devotions we have with our phone, computer, or tablet at our side are effective unless we really have them off, or unplugged from all of our aps. 

I am reading my Bible on my tablet and a message pops up at the top.  It is a text, email, or Facebook message from someone.  I see it.  It distracts me and so I switch from the Bible and respond.

I’m in prayer with my phone on my belt and I get the familiar chime or vibration that I have a text or email.  It distracts me.  I get the phone out to see what someone needs and I respond. 

I’m in prayer or I’m reading and I remember something that I wanted to check on the web.  So I get out my phone to look something up.  Then I see I have two aps that need updating and I have 10 Facebook notifications and I have a free spin for coins on my game and once again my focus is switched and I am distracted and I usually take care of all of these things (because they only take a minute and if I don’t take care of them now I’ll forget) and 10 or even 20 minutes later I get back to prayer or Bible reading.  Of course now I only have a couple of minutes left before my next appointment.  

Each time something like this happens I break the connection with the Word or with the Father in prayer. The connection that I may have had with the Father or His Word is gone.  Each distraction, each broken connection weakens my spiritual life.  But it is so subtle or to such a small degree that I don't really notice and so I don't make changes.  And I get spiritually weaker and weaker.

My concern is that as believers our devises are keeping us from hearing what the Lord is speaking because they are constantly a source of distraction.

Here is something I have discovered.  Sometimes God speaks to me when I am seeking him about a problem or issue. More often God speaks to me when I have taken time to quiet myself in prayer and Bible reading. These are usually the most powerful and insightful encounters but they are happening less and less because I have not taken the time to silence the noise in my life, to unplug from the distraction.

Here is my appeal – turn off the noise, get unplugged.  God is speaking, we are not hearing Him because we are distracted and our minds and spirits cannot get in tune with His voice.  I am choosing to turn off the noise, to have my devotions with devises set aside or turned off.  It is what I need to do.

The days we live in require that I hear the voice of the Father so that I can obey the voice of my Father. My I challenge each one reading this to do the same.

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