Listening to God | Naomi Houston – Blue Ridge Christian News

Listening to God

By Naomi Houston

Avery Countynaomi and clay houston

First an update from our church. A couple of months ago I reported that our pastor, David Green, had suffered a stroke.  Unfortunately, he was unable to return as our pastor as we had hoped.  God has blessed us with a new pastor, Reverend Jock Ollis, and his wife Cheryl.  He is also the pastor of the Minneapolis Global Methodist Church located in Avery County and is the Lead Presiding Elder of the Boone District of the Global Methodist Church.  We continue to have our worship services on Sunday at 9 am followed by Sunday school.  Our monthly Congregational Gospel Singing event continues on the first Friday night of each month and we welcome you to join us on Friday, March 1, at 7 pm when we will once again be making a “Joyful Noise unto the Lord”.  Mt Zion is located at 12 Franklintown Road, just across Highway 19-E from the main campus of Mayland Community College.

As we journey through these forty days of the Lenten Season a part of our goal in drawing nearer to God should be making a conscious decision to hear God’s voice.  From the account of the Transfiguration recorded in Luke 9, we read these words:  “And a voice came out of the cloud, saying, ‘This is My Son, My Chosen One’ listen to Him!”  Vs 35.  The importance of listening in our personal relationships cannot be overemphasized.  A student who desires to be successful in class needs to listen carefully to what is being taught and also needs to study and read about the subject being taught.  In today’s world, we often find it difficult to listen, to hear, and to read.  So many things are in our lives to constantly distract us coming from, as the Grinch proclaimed, “The Noise, Noise, Noise, Noise”.  While in that beloved movie he was referring to children’s toys, the Noise, Noise, Noise of the world constantly surrounds us making it difficult to hear one another much less hear God speaking to us.

The good news is that we can become better listeners; however, listening takes practice.  Did you ever dream of playing a musical instrument?  Listening to an accomplished person play the piano or some other instrument, have you ever wanted to do the same?  As a result, have you ever taken, for instance, piano lessons?  (I have)  Turns out it takes practice, lots of practice (along with some talent – which I didn’t have).  Oh, I made some progress but after a while, the time needed to invest in the pursuit of piano playing just took me away from other things I was interested in doing.  Listening to God takes practice – and keeping at it.

The Scriptures say simply that “faith comes from hearing and hearing by the Word of God.” Hearing is an integral part of the process but to hear we must be listening – and listening takes a lot of discipline.

God loves us and desires to have fellowship with us.  He still speaks to us today just as he spoke to the people of the Old and New Testaments.  Just as he gave direction to them, He wants to give direction to our lives.  We also have our days in the fiery furnace and the lion’s den.  He knows our needs and our need for his assurance.  Most of all, God wants us to know Him but for that to happen there must be communication.  So how does He communicate with us?  First, we have the Word of God and, just as the student who wants to learn in class, to learn of God, we must study His Word.  His Word directs our ways, it warns us, it assures us and it comforts us.  Second, we have the Holy Spirit which God uses to speak to us if we are walking in the Spirit daily.  Third, He uses other Christians and those people who love us the most and who pray for us the most. Fourth, He uses circumstances that come into our lives.  Like Mary (Luke 10:39) we should learn to listen, seated at the feet of our Lord, let us choose the “good part” of listening, for God is still speaking today.


Naomi Houston and her husband, Lt Col Clay Houston USMC Retired, live on Henson Creek in Avery County.  They are members of Mt Zion Community Church where Naomi is the adult Sunday School teacher. Both have been actively involved in church throughout their 68 years of marriage and Naomi wrote a weekly column for the Avery Post for many years.


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