Tag Archives: how to develop your spiritual ears

Spiritual Warfare #17 ~ Exposing the Itchy Ear

John 8:31-32 So, Jesus said to the Jews who had believed him, “If you abide in my word, you are truly my disciples, 32 and you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.”

          Freedom comes from knowing the truth, and that comes from abiding in relationship with the truth of His written word. It does not come from abiding in the teachings of men, the sermons of men, the doctrines of men, the interpretations of men, the latest revelations of our favorite bible teachers, or any other way that seems right to man. (Proverbs 14:12) This only comes from personal, intimate relationship with the Father and constant exposure to the His written word.

Listening to other teachers is important, but this should be a supplement to our own personal pursuit of God through His written word. Through reading, study, and meditation on the Bible for ourselves, we consume the unleavened bread of Christ, the pure living word. If we primarily listen to others teach about the Bible and read very little ourselves, its like taking vitamins and supplements and eating almost no real food. This is not healthy.

We MUST pursue Him through His word for ourselves.

2 Timothy 4:3-5 For the time is coming when people will not endure sound teaching, but having itching ears they will accumulate for themselves teachers to suit their own passions, and will turn away from listening to the truth and wander off into myths. As for you, always be sober-minded, endure suffering, do the work of an evangelist, fulfill your ministry.

          The time isn’t coming folks, the time is NOW!

          We have become the church with the itchy ears. Consider this; There are over 200 Christian denominations in the U.S.A. alone and we are all arrogant enough to believe we have it right. The lack of humility is mind boggling.

It is very easy to slip into an itchy eared mindset. All we have to do is pick all the scriptures, teachers and doctrines that makes us happy, and gravitate toward those while neglecting the ones that challenge us and demand change. How do I know? I have been guilty more than most I think.

Consider this; It only takes a slow reader approximately 90 hours to read the Bible from cover to cover, and yet few Christians have ever read the entire Bible, even leaders in the Church that have been saved for decades. Furthermore, it only takes about 75 hours to listen to the Bible by audio recording. Currently we have resources available like Biblegateway that we can read, or listen to God’s word in almost any translation we choose and in multiple languages as well.

This reveals how little we read the word, how little we esteem the word, and much we trust in the opinions of men and allow them to spoon-feed us their opinions. We are in a very dangerous season in the history of the Church. The end of this age is upon us and we don’t have a clue who we are, what we believe. or why we believe it.

I know there are men and women of God that have not fallen into this deception, but I would venture to say that they are very few. It is time that these few stand up and begin to lead others into a relationship with the Father that births a hunger and desire for the manifestation of the kingdom of God and the truth of His word.

The Parable of Revealed Light

Luke 8:16-18 “No one, when he has lit a lamp, covers it with a vessel or puts it under a bed, but sets it on a lampstand, that those who enter may see the light. 17 For nothing is secret that will not be revealed, nor anything hidden that will not be known and come to light. 18 Therefore take heed how you hearFor whoever has, to him more will be given; and whoever does not have, even what he seems to have will be taken from him.”

Most of us are familiar with the first part of this parable, but verse 18 has the word “Therefore” that ties hiding the light that is in us with how, and what we hear. When we are constantly exposed to wrong doctrine, the result is that strongholds of wrong thinking and wrong believing increase, (we get more added) and our light gets progressively hidden. (what we seem to have is taken away) No one intentionally does this, it comes from the deception of the enemy and catering to selfish desires.

We must all ask ourselves this question; What is the primary way that I learn about God and His word? Through the teachings of other believers, (leavened bread) or through reading and listening to the Bible for ourselves? (unleavened bread)

         Only by the sharpness of the living word can we rightly discern and divide truth. If we avoid the portions of God’s word that cuts, pierces, prunes and separates, we quickly slip into error and deception. Our light gets hidden and our witness to the world becomes diminished.

Hebrews 4:12  For the word of God is living and active, sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing to the division of soul and of spirit, of joints and of marrow, and discerning the thoughts and intentions of the heart.

Many would say, “It is hard to read the Bible, I don’t understand it.” I would say to those people, “walking and talking was hard too, until we learned how to do it. Now it comes natural.” Our pastors, or favorite teachers cannot walk or talk for us. Neither can they feed us anything more than leavened bread. We need the unleavened bread, and the sincere milk of God’s word. and we need to learn to feed ourselves.

1 Peter 2:2 As newborn babes, desire the sincere milk of the word, that ye may grow thereby:

Notice that Peter said, “as new born babes?” He isn’t pointing out baby Christians, he is saying that our hunger and desire for the word of God should be like an infant that cries for the life giving milk every few hours. Mature and immature Christians alike.

Ask yourself, “what am I hungry for? Am I hungry for God’s holy word, or for the latest preaching and teaching from my favorite ministers?” They are not even close to being the same.

Matthew 23:9-10 Do not call anyone on earth your father; for One is your Father, He who is in heaven. 10 And do not be called teachers; for One is your Teacher, the Christ. 

That may seem to be a contradiction since the Lord Jesus himself gave us teachers in the form of the “five-fold ministry gifts” mentioned in Ephesians 4, but it is not. All of the five-fold ministry gifts have one purpose, to equip the saints for the work of ministry. All five teach and equip in different ways, but those teachings must be filtered through the anointing of the Holy Spirit, and our personal relationship with God and His written word.

1 John 2:26-27  These things I have written to you concerning those who try to deceive you. 27 But the anointing which you have received from Him abides in you, and you do not need that anyone teach you; but as the same anointing teaches you concerning all things, and is true, and is not a lie, and just as it has taught you, you will abide in Him.

The Lord showed me recently that if we abide in wrong doctrine, even out of ignorance, we partner with the adversary, building strongholds of wrong thinking and wrong believing in our own hearts and minds. We actually assist the enemy in his plan of deception by building the strongholds that bind us. Unfortunately, its an evil deception that most of us fall for at one time or another.

These strongholds are not just reinforced belief systems, they are encampments in our own minds that the enemy hides behind. As we speak about, and act on the things we believe we reveal to Satan the best strategies to keep us in our deception. One of the ways he does this is to keep us running in the same circle of believers and despising the beliefs of other denominations. Denominational divisions were never God’s plan, and now they are an effective tool that the enemy uses against us.

          To be truly free, we must be very selective about what we are hearing and what are we beholding, who we are listening to, and how much we are doing it. Without the filter of our own personal relationship with God and His word, we lack the ability to properly discern sound doctrine. Truth becomes obscured with the leaven of religious doctrine that appeases the carnal mind and satisfies our selfish desires. Self is the very thing we need to be freed from and freedom from self will not come until we die to it by renewing our minds to the holiness of God’s word.

Again, are we really abiding in His word or just reading the latest books and listening to the latest sermons? Do we really desire the sincere milk of the word, or do we lust for the leaven of a self serving gospel that doesn’t challenge us or strengthen us for trials and testing?

Our itchy ears, and the lust for leavened bread binds us and blinds us from truth. There is a reason the apostle James wrote, “My brethren, let not many of you become teachers, knowing that we shall receive a stricter judgment..” (James 3:1)

          Let us abide in His word, seek Him when no one is looking, cultivate a hunger for the sincere milk of God’s word and become everything the blood of Christ has paid for us to be.

Thank you for visiting truthpressure.com. I hope this has been a blessing to you.

JC

Love Opens Your Spiritual Ears

          I think we all know that a “Hard Heart” is what causes us to be “Spiritually Deaf.” So maybe we should find out what causes a hard heart and avoid that condition entirely. Makes sense, right?

A hard heart comes from unbelief.

          Hardness of heart comes from a misuse of our free will. We refuse to submit our will to the Father, we are in unbelief, pride, and selfishness. We actively choose to disobey or ignore God’s word, thereby departing from God, compromising the relationship, and violating our conscience. If our conscience isn’t clear, our confidence in God s compromised.

Hebrews 3:12 Beware, brethren, lest there be in any of you an evil heart of unbelief in departing from the living God;

1 Timothy 4:1-2 Now the Spirit expressly says that in latter times some will depart from the faith, giving heed to deceiving spirits and doctrines of demons, speaking lies in hypocrisy, having their own conscience seared with a hot iron,

          A hard heart will not yield to, or acknowledge the truth. It makes us and our desires the center of the universe instead of God. Understand this:

THE SMALLEST WORLD YOU WILL EVER LIVE IN, IS THE ONE THAT YOU ARE THE CENTER OF.

          In Mark 8 Jesus spoke to His disciples about the characteristics of a hard heart:

Mark 8:17-18 But Jesus, being aware of it, said to them, “Why do you reason because you have no bread? Do you not yet perceive nor understand? Is your heart still hardened? 18 Having eyes, do you not see? And having ears, do you not hear? And do you not remember?

         In these verses, Jesus gives us the symptoms that are descriptive of a hard heart:  (1) unable to perceive, (2) unable to understand, (3) unable to see, (4) unable to hear, and (5) unable to remember.

          A hard heart is characterized by a lack of discernment and an inability perceive spiritually. A hard heart will keep a person from totally grasping spiritual things. They might see what the Lord is trying to show them, but they can’t get a hold of it in a way that they can apply it to their life.

          We can reverse the condition of a hard heart. We have the power to determine what our heart accepts or rejects. We must control our will to control our actions. It starts with obedience. Obedience is the “love language” of God.

John 14:23-24 Jesus answered and said to him, “If anyone loves Me, he will keep My word; and My Father will love him, and We will come to him and make Our home with him. 24 He who does not love Me does not keep My words; and the word which you hear is not Mine but the Father’s who sent Me.

          It’s not a hearing problem, it’s a love problem! Love can only be known by the actions that it prompts.  It is acts of obedience that show our faith and love for the Father. If we have a problem hearing God’s voice, we probably know the area that we are in disobedience, but if our heart is too hard to be clear, we can pray like the Psalmist:

Psalm 139:23-24. “Search me, O God, and know my heart; Try me, and know my anxieties; 24 And see if there is any wicked way in me, and lead me in the way everlasting.

Psalm 26:2 Examine me, O Lord, and prove me; Try my mind and my heart.

god-opens-ears          If we are sincere about obeying God, our spiritual ears and eyes will be opened and we will begin to see everything and everyone different, including our self. Having our spiritual eyes and ears opened is a condition of the heart. When our heart is tender and sincere before the Father, we gladly obey. He can then use our hearts as a conduit for His life and love to pour forth from.

Proverbs 4:23  Keep your heart with all diligence, for out of it spring the issues of life.

Thank you for visiting truthpressure.com. I hope this has been a blessing to you.

JC

~ Developing Our Spiritual Ears ~

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John 10:27 ~ My sheep hear My voice, and I know them, and they
follow Me.

One of the greatest days of my life was when I discovered that God speaks to His people personally. I thought I had “arrived” at that point, because I had already made up my mind to do what God said. Unfortunately, I found that when you learn to hear God’s voice you then become a genuine threat to the Devil and he goes to work on you to disrupt and confuse the hearing process.
Before we dive into some of the things I have learned to fight this attack on our spiritual hearing, I want to share a brief testimony on when and how I discovered that God speaks to His people. This is important, because before you learn to hear from God, you must first be absolutely convinced that He will talk to you.

The Day I Heard God

It was November 1988 and I had been saved about two weeks. I had almost no interaction with other Christians for those two weeks because after I was saved, I left town on a job. During those two weeks I had read a paperback New Testament at night in the hotel room where I was staying. It was the only Bible I had ever been exposed to and I was reading it like a starving man.
When I returned home I sought out the people who had prayed the prayer of salvation with me and I had a million questions. I wanted to know more about this wonderful thing that happened to me called salvation. I was dramatically changed and delivered from a 4 year meth addiction. it was a radical conversion.
They invited me to a bible study that night and when I showed up, the house was full of people who were engaged in this discussion about how God had spoken to this one individual a few days ago. As I listened skeptically, one by one they all related stories of how God had spoken to them. I thought they were ALL NUTS!
My Idea of God was somewhat shaken by all this conversation and I wanted some answers. I had to know if this was real or just a bunch of weirdoes that went off the deep end, so I politely asked, “what exactly do you mean by God spoke to me?”
A woman named Diane explained to me that God does speak in our hearts, and that we can learn to hear His voice. She went on to add that every night for one whole year she would lay in bed at night and pray, “God, you are my Father and I am your child, and I should know my Father’s voice, so I am asking you to speak to me.”
Many more words were said and a lot of instruction was given, but what she said stuck with me and I could not get it out of my mind. To help me in my new faith, the group gave me a brand new Amplified bible. I was so excited! I had never seen the Old Testament before and was looking forward to exploring it.
On the long drive home I was wrestling with all this new information about how God speaks to people and I just couldn’t bring myself to accept it without experiencing it myself. So when I got home, I went to the bedroom, dropped my new bible on the floor next to the bed, kicked off my cloths and laid down staring at the ceiling.
While laying there in the dark, I decided to put this woman’s method to the test. So I prayed, “God if you really do speak to people I have to know it for myself. So I am going to lay here until You talk to me if I have to lay here until daylight.” I was dead serious!
I was not prepared for what happened. Immediately I heard this strong voice inside me say “Samuel 3.” I sat up on the edge of the bed and turned on the light trembling. I can’t explain exactly how I felt. I was a little shaken, a little scared, but I knew one thing for sure, that did not come from me because I did not know what “Samuel 3” meant.
As I was sitting there on the edge of my bed, wondering if that was God that spoke or just my overactive imagination, I looked down on the floor between my feet and saw the new Bible. At that point in my life, I had never read one word in the Old Testament, but I picked it up and turned to the table of contents thinking this might be a scripture. When I saw the books of first and second Samuel, I was completely shocked! I felt like my heart was about to pound right out of my chest. I asked the Lord, “which one?” and that same voice came again, only this time it was not a strong inward voice, but a still small voice, and it said, “First Samuel 3,”
You may know the story. The prophet Samuel was just a boy. He was laying in his bed one night, (just like me) and the Lord came and spoke to him (just like me). The boy ran in to the priest because he thought the priest had called him. You see, Samuel did not know God’s voice either (just like me). This happened to Samuel three times until Eli the priest had to tell Samuel that the Lord was talking. God brought me to a place in the bible that I was experiencing at that very moment! He affirmed that He was my Father and that He wanted to speak to me!
It was at that point that I stepped over the line from believing that God is real, to absolutely KNOWING that God is real, alive, and speaks to His people. I was on top of the world! The creator of the universe had just spoken to me in such a personal way that even my pea brain couldn’t get confused about it.
For weeks I was in this euphoric place where I was constantly talking to, and listening to God. He was fathering me, and I was doing my best to be a good son. Then I realized that it was getting increasingly harder to discern God’s voice. I blamed it on not praying enough, not reading enough bible, sin, etc. and this is where most Christians miss it. Like me, they believe all of that garbage and fall into the enemy’s trap of deception and confusion. In this lesson we will look at some things that impede our ability to hear clearly from God.

The Frequency of God

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When you tune in to a radio station you have to adjust the dial to a specific frequency on your radio if you want to have a clear reception. If the frequency is off by just a little bit, the reception becomes distorted with static and hard to hear. God has His own frequency that allows you to hear a clear, strong reception. That frequency is PEACE.
Your heart is the radio, but that radio has to be tuned in to the right frequency to pick up the reception. If you drive your car to the radio station and park it so the bumper is touching the radio tower, you still won’t pick up a reception unless you tune the radio in to the proper channel.
Don’t be fooled into thinking that just because you go to church and park your keister in a pew twice a week that you are going to be tuned in to hearing God’s voice. Your heart must be “tuned” to hear God’s voice.

1 Kings 19:11-13 Then He said, “Go out, and stand on the mountain before the Lord.” And behold, the Lord passed by, and a great and strong wind tore into the mountains and broke the rocks in pieces before the Lord, but the Lord was not in the wind; and after the wind an earthquake, but the Lord was not in the earthquake; 12 and after the earthquake a fire, but the Lord was not in the fire; and after the fire a still small voice. 13 So it was, when Elijah heard it, that he wrapped his face in his mantle and went out and stood in the entrance of the cave. Suddenly a voice came to him, and said, “What are you doing here, Elijah?”

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God was showing Elijah a very important principle that was recorded for posterity. When enemies and circumstances are pressing us and seem to have the loudest voice, He can always be found in stillness.
It doesn’t take long to go from the highest of highs to the lowest of lows, but as Christians we are called to shine through it all. The enemy knows that if he can cause enough static he can keep us from being clear on God’s plan for our life. The more he can disrupt and interfere with the communication between us and God the less successful we will be in fulfilling our created purpose. That is what Satan is after, your purpose.
Your created purpose is son-ship. In the Garden of Eden, Peace with God was lost, and therefore the father/child relationship was broken. Jesus restored Peace, and through Him we now have the Father/ son relationship restored. When we begin to walk in the fullness of our son-ship the enemy is rendered powerless. This relationship between you and God is ALWAYS Satan’s main target. If he can keep you from being Fathered, he can keep you from becoming like your Father.

Many Voices

When trying to hear from God, we must be able to filter through all the other voices that are speaking to us. If you have ever been in a crowd of people where everyone is trying to talk to you at once, you know that it is very difficult pick out and hear just one voice. That is when you raise your hands and yell “ONE AT A TIME PLEASE!” Often we need to do that spiritually. We take one voice at a time, one thought at a time, and bring it into captivity to the obedience of Christ.

2 Corinthians 10:3-5 For though we walk in the flesh, we do not war according to the flesh. 4 For the weapons of our warfare are not carnal but mighty in God for pulling down strongholds, 5 casting down arguments and every high thing that exalts itself against the knowledge of God, bringing every thought into captivity to the obedience of Christ,
Cutting through all the thoughts, bad reports, symptoms, and strongholds of wrong thinking is the spiritual battle that we are engaged in. This never stops. The enemy, our carnal nature, memories of bad experiences, and just life in general are constantly speaking to us. We must learn to find that quiet peaceful place in the presence of God that His voice can be clearly distinguished above all the clamor.

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Worship is the best way to make this happen. I’m not talking about your worship service at church once or twice a week, although that is important. I’m talking about you, all alone in your bedroom, when no one else is looking, worshiping God from your heart. Desiring Him enough to spend time with Him alone, telling Him how much you love and appreciate Him. Pouring out your heart and being open and vulnerable. No effort you make toward God will ever go unrewarded. If you draw close to Him, He will draw close to you.

James 4:7-8 Therefore submit to God. Resist the devil and he will flee from you. 8 Draw near to God and He will draw near to you. Cleanse your hands, you sinners; and purify your hearts, you double-minded.
Christians tend to focus too much on resisting the Devil. Constantly praying about the devil, binding, loosing, rebuking. Don’t spend time resisting the devil, spend time submitting to God. This is the best, and only way, to resist the devil. By submitting to God, you have automatically resisted the devil. You now fight in His strength and not yours. You acknowledge that Satan is a defeated foe, that the victory has already been won. Now take your stand and enforce the victory by submitting to your Father.

STOP FIGHTING A FIGHT THAT HAS ALREADY BEEN WON FOR YOU!

Willingness to Obey

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One of the biggest thing that prevents people from hearing from God is unwillingness to obey what He says. If you ask God for something and you are not willing to hear a “no,” He may not even talk to you about it because He knows your mind is already made up.
There is a popular teaching that’s been around for years called “The five love languages.” It teaches you to identify and recognize your spouses needs so that you can better meet those needs and prevent tension and strife in your relationship. Well, God has a love language, and that love language is obedience.

John 14:16 If you love Me, keep My commandments. 16 And I will pray the Father, and He will give you another Helper, that He may abide with you forever

John 14:21 He who has My commandments and keeps them, it is he who loves Me. And he who loves Me will be loved by My Father, and I will love him and manifest Myself to him.”

John 14:23-24 Jesus answered and said to him, “If anyone loves Me, he will keep My word; and My Father will love him, and We will come to him and make Our home with him. 24 He who does not love Me does not keep My words; and the word which you hear is not Mine but the Father’s who sent Me.
These three passages are from one chapter in the Bible. Jesus is trying to prepare His disciples for a life in the Spirit. He is giving clear instructions about how our love for God is to be expressed. He is also teaching them that this is the key to having God manifest in your life.

Isaiah 1:19 If you are willing and obedient, You shall eat the good of the land.
Willingness and obedience are a cornerstone of the Christian faith. It is the number one way to express love for your Father. Love is the fulfillment of the Law. It is THE New Testament commandment. (Mark 12:30) It is THIS love that makes your faith work.

Galatians 5:6 For in Christ Jesus neither circumcision nor uncircumcision avails anything, but faith working through love.

Read more about how to develop your spiritual ears Here

Loving God, What Does That Look Like?

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When was the last time you came to God  just love on Him and be close to Him?

          I have three sons of varying ages who are completely different from one another in their personalities, likes, and interests. Each one is unique and I thank God that, He made them that way. I love each one equally and show no partiality to any one of them. They all know that I love them and I know that they love me. This is an understood fact and we all express that love to each other all the time. We live with an awareness of that love and we are conscious of the fact that the love we have will never change. There comes a time though, as they walk through their day-to-day life that the knowledge of that love is not enough.  They need to experience it.

          They need one on one, face-to-face interaction. They need a loving touch, they need to share thoughts and emotions and spend intimate personal time with me. They need to know that they are special to me and that my love is for them is real. There is a wonderful exchange that takes place in these times. I become sensitive to their needs and desires and reaffirm my love for them. It solidifies our bond and their faith in me as a loving father. It enriches and strengthens the relationship that we have.

          Each of my children likes to experience this love in different ways. As they age and their interest changes, our time together begins to look different also. My 13-year-old likes to go to the gun range and I teach him about shooting techniques, safety and responsibility, preparing him for manhood and the challenges that are ahead of him.

          My 10-year-old likes swimming, nature  and art. We enjoy each others company and I see the joy in his face when we are alone together. I encourage him to develop his gifts and artistic talents. My youngest, the 6-year-old, likes to crawl up in my lap and play silly little games. These games may seem insignificant to some, yet to this child it is one of the most important parts of his day and if we miss that time together he tells me about it. This time together is very important to him … It is also very important to me.

 lov2         As believers we need this intimate time with our Father, God. It is not enough to walk through life just knowing about the Love of God, we must experience it. The most important relationship that we have is with our creator. If we invest in this relationship, it pays dividends in all other relationships, making them richer and stronger.

          These times I described with my kids are all very important to me. Your personal time with God is very important to Him too. Is it important to you? As you grow as a Christian these intimate times with God will change and evolve to match your level of maturity and the life lessons that God knows are important to you at the time. No matter where you are in your walk with God, always approach Him as a child. Don’t take for granted that the most amazing thing available to you through Jesus sacrifice is your ability to stand before God like a child with no guilt, condemnation, or shame. Jesus made fellowship and intimacy available through His shed blood. His sacrifice was made so Father – Son relationship could be restored.

Luke 18:17 Assuredly, I say to you, whoever does not receive the kingdom of God as a little child will by no means enter it.

         lov5 I think we tend to get in rut with our “devotional” time and make it mechanical and impersonal. We come to God with a list of prayer needs and a plan to study, or read a certain amount of scripture and we never connect with Him personally. We go through the motions with a legalistic, works mentality, believing that its the right thing to do in order to be a “good Christian.” The truth is, very little fruit comes from actions like these. This is not relationship, and it does not promote growth and change, instead it perpetuates a legalistic mentality which quenches the grace of God and hinders the transforming work of the Holy Spirit.