Can you hear the voice of truth?

It amazes me that people can read identical words or hear the exact same message and yet have complete different interpretations. They may not even hear the same words that are being said.

This became a reality to me when the “Laurel or Yanny” craze hit social media. A single word was spoken and the internet exploded. Some people heard the word “Yanny” while others heard the word “Laurel”. According to a couple different web sites, the confusion involved frequency. If a person hears higher frequencies they are sure the word is “Yanny” and vice versa.

Jay Aubrey Jones, who recorded the word for Vocabulary.com stated that he was actually saying the word, Laurel.  The word, Yanny, is not even in Vocabulary.com. Before the audio scenario debate there was the color of the dress debate in 2015. Some people said they saw a black and blue dress while others saw it as white and gold. (By the way: the dress color is black and blue.)

I realized that individuals can be extremely positive that they know the truth but somehow be very mistaken. From the moment a word is spoken it can become twisted or tainted. By the time it hits the ear of the listener it can become something completely different from what was said. It is like the game “telephone” that we played as  children.  A phrase is whispered into the first child’s ear and that child whispers it into the next child’s ear. By the time the phrase reaches the last child, it usually isn’t even close to what was said in the beginning.

The words Jesus spoke were often misrepresented or misunderstood. He often spoke in parables or stories to help explain salvation, the kingdom of God or other dynamic truths.  In Mark 4:9 he says, “Whoever has ears to hear, let them hear.” (NIV)  That statement is heard several times in the book of Revelation, as well.

In Matthew 13:13b Jesus states” Though seeing, they do not see; though hearing, they do not hear or understand.” (NIV)

That is a scary thought.

The truth that can lead people to salvation, to freedom and to an eternity with their creator was not being heard. It wasn’t because it wasn’t being spoken. Jesus stood among the people of his day and yet they could not hear the truth or see it. It is the same thing today.

Jesus continues speaking in verse 14a:
“In them is fulfilled the prophecy of Isaiah: ‘You will be ever hearing but never understanding; you will be ever seeing but never perceiving.” (NIV)

(I wondered how it could be possible that they could see with their own eyes and hear with their own ears, yet not perceive the truth. Jesus answered that question in the following verse.)

15a: “For this people’s heart has become CALLOUSED: they hardly hear with their ears, and they have closed their eyes.” (NIV)

Calloused skin is skin that has become hardened and thick. So a calloused heart is someone whose heart has become hardened and thick. They have put up a wall over and over so that truth can no longer penetrate. They have become insensitive. People with calloused hearts have refused to listen to truth so many times that one day they do not even recognize truth. Their hearts have become so hard they cannot hear it nor see it.

That is why Proverbs 4:23 states, “Guard your heart above all else, for it determines the course of your life.” (NLT)

Jesus is very clear that listening to his voice will allow us to follow in his footsteps for our lives. He will direct each of us if we choose to listen to his guidance. He states in John 10:27, “My sheep hear my voice; I know them, and they follow me.” (NIV)

You might ask how I am sure that I am following truth and not being deceived. Deception is deceptive. I have confidence because I ask my Lord to keep me in truth and reveal any area of deception. And he is faithful.

My prayer is found in Psalm 25:5 “Guide me in your truth, and teach me, for you are God my Savior, and my hope is in you all day long.” (NIV)

If you desire to hear His voice it is never too late to call out to God for truth. He will be sure to answer! God is full of mercy and grace and wants to fill you with his hope.

“I will give you a new heart and put a new spirit in you; I will remove from you your heart of stone and give you a heart of flesh.” Ezekiel 36:27 (NIV)

My hope is that you and I will hear our Lord say ” But blessed are your eyes because they see, and your ears because they hear.”
Matthew 13:16 (NIV)

God bless.

Just for fun:
If you have not had the chance to listen to the Yanny vs Laurel debate open the link below and find out what you hear.  Then decide what color the dress looks like to you.

 

Yanny vs Laurel

 

 

black and blue dress

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Deception

In 1991 a movie titled, “Deceived” was released.  It was about a married couple whose wonderful life was interrupted when the husband gets into a fatal car accident. As the movie progresses you discover that there is more to the story then meets the eye. Deception unravels into truth as secrets regarding the life and death of the widow’s husband are revealed.

Another storyline of deception is found in the book, “The Silver Chair“, by C.S Lewis. It is the 4th book in the “Chronicles of Narnia” series. In it there are travelers who try to free a young man who has been captured and taken to Underland. In this part of the world all earthmen live underground and have no knowledge of the surface above. When the travelers try to escape, the evil ruler attempts to deceive and bewitch them hoping that they forget who they are. But the evil spell of deception is broken and they discover the truth, allowing them to escape into freedom.

Deception can lead to imprisonment. Truth leads to freedom.

The question is: How do you know you are being deceived if what you believe to be true is truth to you? Deception is extremely deceiving. One of my life verses is:

But be doers of the word, and not hearers only. Otherwise, you are deceiving yourself.” James 1:22 (ESV)

How dangerous. We can go to church, hear the word and even read it, but if that is all we do we have deceived ourselves.  There is more to the Christian life than knowledge. Even the demons know that Jesus is the son of God and shudder. (James 2:19) They have the knowledge of his existence but have refused to surrender to his authority. Instead they choose to draw mankind into the deception of their darkness.

We can deceive ourselves and/or be deceived by others.

Deception sneaks into our minds, into our hearts, into our lives quite slowly. At first it only appears to be like a stream that quietly flows over the rocks and land in its path. The more water that enters into the stream the larger the stream becomes causing the edges of the bank to be cut deeper and the rocks it flows over to become polished. It’s similar to the thoughts that enter into our minds on a daily basis. They ultimately groove permanent pathways into our brains, like that of an old record, creating new thought patterns.

Through the torrent rain of influences the quiet stream becomes a raging river that has the ability to destroy anything in its path. So it is with deception. After a while the thoughts and influences that bombard our minds with deception become our norm. Old thought patterns are erased and replaced with new ones.

Deception obviously does not appear as deception.

Instead it can taste as sweet as the first bite of the fruit of the tree of knowledge of good and evil that both Adam and Eve enjoyed. Once they heard the voice of the Lord they were awakened to the truth and they realized that they had been deceived. The cunning snake who was filled with the spirit of darkness questioned the truth, twisting the voice of the Lord. “Did God say?,” the slithering liar asked them.

Satan always lies…he is the father of lies, (John 8:44) but can also appear as an angel of light. (2 Corinthians 11:14) Deception appears like a light of truth that is guiding us into  enlightenment. But remember:

“There is a way that seems right to a man, but its end is the way to death.” Proverbs 14:12 (ESV)

I often pray that the Lord will keep me from deception. I know he honors that prayer. When I begin to feel that I am compromising or that something said doesn’t sit right with me, I hear that inner voice or that inner knowing.  You know the feeling that you know that you know, but you aren’t sure how?

As the days get closer to the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ it seems that deception is growing stronger.  Second Peter warns of false prophets and teachers who will bring destructive teachings, swaying others to follow those teachings while they deny the Lord. Sometimes it seems so much easier to follow the crowd. Remember when your parents asked you, “If so and so jumped off a cliff, would you?” Well, would you? Because the deceiver has come to kill, steal and destroy.

So how do we keep ourselves from deception?

I believe it comes through surrendering completely to the Lord, reading the Bible–hiding it in our hearts so that our minds are renewed, staying connected with our Lord through prayer and then hanging out with those that are like-minded.

And if you are unsure test the spirit. How is that done? 1 John 4 states:

“Beloved, do not believe every spirit, but test the spirits to see whether they are from God, for many false prophets have gone out into the world. By this you know the Spirit of God: every spirit that confesses that Jesus Christ has come in the flesh is from God, and every spirit that does not confess Jesus is not from God.” (ESV)

So in other words: If you are a believer in the Lord Jesus Christ and someone comes to you with a “new” doctrine or new Jesus that is not consistent with God’s Word, it probably is a false doctrine leading you into deception. If someone says, “oh, the Bible says this, but we are changing it up a bit to fit our lifestyle so we can stay politically correct and not be offensive,” it probably is a false doctrine leading you into deception. Remember Jesus offended a lot of people in his day too, while setting others free. He came to fulfill the law of the prophets, not to destroy it.

Paul continues the subject as he speaks to the Thessalonians .

“Don’t put out the Spirit’s fire. Don’t despise what God has revealed. Instead, test everything. Hold on to what is good. Keep away from every kind of evil.”
Thessalonians 5:19-22 (GWT)

I pray that you walk in truth; that I walk in truth. Jesus said to his followers that if they continued in his Word they were truly his disciples. They would know the truth and the truth would set them free. (John 8:32)

The word of the Lord is powerful. That is why so many times it is disputed by theologians, made illegal by dictators and mocked by mainstream lifestyles. But it cannot be completely destroyed because God is its author. What he started he will complete.

May you stay in his Word and stay in his Truth. Amen.