I tried a pair of noise-canceling headphones that my son has. They were amazing! I don’t remember the brand name, but they worked a lot better than the cheap headphones that I have. As I wore his noise-canceling headphones I could only hear the music I wanted to hear and none of the other sounds and noises that would have been a distraction.
What if I were to tell you that you can buy noise-canceling headphones that allow you to keep out all the noise and sound around you and allow you to hear God clearly? I even have a name for them: the Holy Headphones, or maybe the Halo Headphones. Well, you can’t buy any such headphones; I’m sorry to disappoint you.
However, we wish that we could! We’d like to hear from God more clearly. Part of the problem is that God doesn’t seem to like yelling; He seems to prefer the lower decibel side of the volume scale. The noise of the world around us and the noise within us also keep us from hearing God.
Throughout the centuries people of faith have held to the conviction that we can hear from God. One reason God made us in His image, and is willing to redeem us back into His image, is to be able to relate to us, to communicate with us. Then too, are we willing to hear what He has to say, to respond obediently to Him, for why would He speak if He knows we don’t want to respond appropriately? If He wants to speak, are we really willing to listen?
Old Eli told young Samuel to say to God, and it’s a good suggestion for us too, “’Speak, Lord, for your servant is listening.’” (1 Samuel 3:9)
Finding True Happiness
Giving People Are Happy People
I recall the story of two guys trying to make it to civilization while being lost in a brutally frigid and stormy wilderness with deep snow. They came upon another man who was in the snow and nearly dead, but not quite. The one man wanted to try and help the nearly frozen guy but the other man said to forget it, that they had to look out for themselves. He ended up taking off on his own while the other man got the nearly frozen man to his feet and tried to help him along. Eventually the two made it to civilization. Rescuers later found the man who wanted to go it alone, dead and frozen. As it turns out the fact that the one man put forth a great deal of effort to save the nearly frozen man resulted in the two of them exerting enough energy that they both kept warm enough to stay alive. By giving of himself at the risk of his own life the rescuer ended up saving his own life along with the life of the man he was rescuing. It pays to be a giver in life!
Dr. Henry Cloud states that “happy people are givers.” He describes his young daughter, Livi, who, along with some classmates, made cookies at pre-school. On the way home she told her dad how she saw a classmate without any cookies, and shared hers with him. She told her dad, “’When I gave Brandon the cookies, I felt something in here. Right here.’ She immediately pointed to her little chest. ‘It felt really warm in here.’” (p. 20) Yes, giving makes us feel warm inside.
We can give a great many things to others each and every day. We can give people the time of day, we can give them a helping hand, we can give money, we can give an encouraging word, and we can give __________ (fill in the blank).
I know we know this, I’m just practicing the ministry of reminding here. Remember the analogy from comparing the Dead Sea and the Sea of Galilee? The Dead Sea has no outlet so the water is incredibly salty (I know, I floated in it, got some of it in my mouth and eyes – it’s more like brine than water). There’s no life in the Dead Sea. The Sea of Galilee, on the other hand, has an outlet as well as an inlet. It teems with life.
Real givers in life are real livers of life! Happy are the givers! Give to live! After all, as the Scripture tells us, “It is more blessed to give than to receive.” (Acts 20:35)
One of the most popular current movie heroes is Iron Man. The hero in the iron suit is Tony Stark, a very wealthy man and brilliant inventor with an arrogant, over-the-top confidence in himself. He invented that suit, a futuristic knight’s armor that makes him super-strong, able to fly and do all other kinds of wild and crazy things.
Tony Stark, as brash, bold, and self-confident as he is, doesn’t try to be a super hero unless he’s wearing his Iron Man outfit. Without it he’s an ordinary man, but with it he’s a super hero. When Tony Stark wears that suit he’s clothed with power.
This reminds me of something Jesus said to His followers when He was about to ascend to heaven and leave His disciples. He told them to wait in Jerusalem until they were clothed with power from on high, which was the Holy Spirit.
Tony Stark couldn’t do anything out of the ordinary without wearing his Iron Man suit, and Jesus was telling His disciples that they shouldn’t try to do anything out of the ordinary without being clothed with God’s power from on high. God never intended that we try to carry out His purposes for us in our own strength. The Holy Spirit of God is our power suit!
“I am going to send you what my Father has promised; but stay in the city until you have been clothed with power from on high.” (Luke 24:49)