Express His Glory in Your Life

Posts tagged ‘hearing God’

Can you really hear from God?

I think perhaps this is the most common question folks have.   The short answer is YES!  His Word is the place to begin, but He speaks individually as well.  You will find other pieces on this blog–and many other places–to help you explore the topic.  This is a recent compilation of tips on hearing from God.  How does He speak to you?  Share your experiences in the comments!

Hearing from God is the interpreting of life in the context of God.  It requires the Holy Spirit, so looking at the arrival of the Spirit is useful.  In Acts 2, the Spirit filled the ‘house.’  When God is all around, hearts are set on fire.  When your heart is on fire, your life speaks that God is real.  

You hear from God and you speak in a way that helps people understand GOD IS REAL.  BUT not all people will understand.  Some of the people at Pentecost thought the disciples were crazy or drunk.  The timing may not be right for another, but that does not negate what you hear.  

  • Hearing from God is receiving a Personal Word.  If you hear someone speak of a ‘rhema’ word, this is what they mean.  Christ is the ‘logos’ come to life.  God never speaks in a way that contradicts the written Word, the logos, the life of Christ.  He brings the WORD to bear on your unique circumstances.
  • Hearing from God requires humility…a willingness to fail, a willingness to be judged by others.  Humanity is prone to error.  It is possible to misunderstand and/or be misunderstood when you listen and speak of God’s word to you.
  • Hearing from God requires courage. God doesn’t speak just so you can sail through life without struggle.  Paul got on a boat that went down; was bit by a viper; blocked from some ministries; imprisoned; beaten and ultimately killed.  Danger is part of the package:  faith is fearless.
  • Hearing from God requires confidence in God.  If you get it wrong, if the results are not what you wanted…it is okay.  It is not about us anyway…it is all about God.  He is greater than the mistakes you (or another) will make.
  • Hearing from God requires living in freedom…living in the presence of God.  
  • Hearing from God requires the grace of God…for yourself and others.  
  • Hearing from God requires faith in God.  Getting it wrong or getting into situations you never intended opens the door for seeing His power and provision.
  • Hearing from God is Holy Ground.  Don’t take Him for granted.  Don’t ignore what He tells you.  Sin separates us from God.  It can block our hearing Him…and His listening to us.

BEWARE:  “God told me to tell you.”

God is all about relationship.  He prefers to speak directly to us, but sometimes God will ask one person to deliver a message to another.  Be cautious as the speaker or the hearer when you hear, “God told me…” Remember, humanity is prone to error.  “God told me” can border on a manipulative tactic.

The advice I like best about the idea that God is telling you to speak to someone:  if you want to do it, it probably is not God nudging you.  If it is a message you don’t want to deliver—that’s probably God.  (Think Samuel or Moses).

If someone is telling you “God said…”, go talk to God.  What is the reaction of your spirit—your gut response?  Do you know it is right but you don’t want to do it?  That’s God.  However, when in doubt, don’t.  If their message doesn’t resonate in you–follow your peace.  Don’t let someone put their burden on you.  Listen to God.  

Don’t automatically negate another’s word for you…God has been known to speak through donkeys.  At the same time, refuse to negate their burden.  God, indeed, may have given it to them.  Just because it is not yours does not mean it is not valid.

HEARING IMPAIRMENTS

Know that the devil does not want you to hear.   God’s goal of speaking is always relationship & unity.  He calls us closer to Him so we will know Him more.  “How shall they know unless they hear?”  There are any number of things that can interfere with hearing from God: stuff of life, busyness, worries, fear, resentments, unforgiveness, sin…  The very things that block our hearing are the things God stands ready to use to transform us.

The things you struggle with are the places God is speaking to you.  Don’t run away.  Don’t throw out accusations at others (or God).  Don’t fall into despair.  Seek His face in the darkness; He is there.

God speaks all the time.  He is the great I AM who is always present.  He is LIFE itself.  The pure in heart see God…and when you see Him, you will speak LIFE and others will hear.  You will know He is present as you share in worshipping Him with others.

Led By a Child

Feeling ‘stuck’ is a common human experience.

Most everyone knows the definition of insanity that says, “You just keep doing the same thing but expect different results.”  Our God-seeking group has been using the Jennie Allen, Stuck Study to break free of those things that mire us down.

Every member of the group sees their quicksand differently.  One feels stuck in the area of relationships, another in the past, another in weak disciplines…  All recognize that God has the answer; getting to Him and hearing clearly creates a continuing challenge.  Pressing on with our study brought us to a drawing exercise.   Each member of the group was to create a picture of what ‘being stuck’ was like.

Again, God’s amazing creativity poured forth as each adult shared their perceptions of being stuck.  Hanging off a cliff, crushed under a boulder with only grasping hands reaching out, carrying a ball and chain, on a treadmill going nowhere, isolated, lonely…

Stuck is the antithesis of how Christ desires us to live.  Jesus told us that the Truth sets us free.  The Apostle Paul, in the book of Romans, eloquently describes the battle of moving into the freedom Christ provides.  The weariness of life emanated from the adult pictures of stuck.  Then, our youngest member spoke up:

Stuck feels like being a room that has puzzles you need to solve so you can get the keys to get out of the room.

Now, THAT is being led by a child.  He is absolutely right!  A stuck place is not a punishment or a death threat.  It is an opportunity to dig more deeply into our faith and uncover the treasures of darkness God has placed around us!

In the Book of Revelation, we read that Jesus promises overcomers ‘hidden manna’ and a ‘new name (character) that no one else understands.’  While that is future fulfillment Scripture, there is an aspect that applies today.  The struggles you have are different than the struggles I have…you receive the spiritual food appropriate for you–and I for me.  We are both to share it.  Our identities remain unique but we fit together to create a beautiful picture of our Lord and Savior.

Every choice we make launches ripples of consequences.  Much of life remains hidden. 13199062_10206566229454049_400945209_oFaith is the substance of things hoped for, things not seen.  When we make choices based  on faith in Jesus Christ and His promises, our ripples move toward eternal good.  When we make choices (and failing to choose IS a choice), an inevitable process begins that drags us toward captivity.  That which overcomes us is our master.  Be overcome by the Lord of Love…be excited about those challenges, so you can know Him more.  Get in the game with Sawyer!

 

What Power Source Do You Rely On?

The electric went out this morning…and all of us were immediately aware of its absence.  The computer screen went blank; the fish filter went silent.  We took notice.  Can you imagine if our spiritual walk was that tuned in?

As believers, the Holy Spirit is our power source.  We can do nothing without Him:

Yes, I am the vine; you are the branches. Those who remain in me, and I in them, will produce much fruit. For apart from me you can do nothing.  John 15:5

Yet, the honest truth is that we don’t always notice when He has withdrawn.  How can that be?

Without the computer, my writing, research and communication options were greatly curtailed, so I opted for a walk with my dog.  He doesn’t rely on electricity–he relies on me.  But more on that later.  The impact of the electric outage was evident everywhere.  Business people stood in groups chatting, obviously waiting for power to return.  The post office customers headed for their cars.  Traffic moved cautiously at the intersection.   Life went on…with slightly altered priorities and a bit more effort.

Even though everyone likely took the presence of electricity for granted in the moments before it shut off, its absence was immediately noticed.  What we rely on isn’t always recognized in the day-to-day…but when we rely on something, its lack pulls us up short.  In the spiritual realm, this is truly a matter of life and death.  We don’t want to wait until the Spirit is absent–because the Spirit IS life.  We are to take that Life into this broken world; we can’t do that if we aren’t connected!

‘Get ‘er done’ is a way of life that disguises truth…and it can be deadly.  Humanly speaking, we can accomplish some pretty impressive things.  Human beings are amazing creatures…God’s favorite creation according to His account.  The problem is that we tend to rely on ourselves and don’t even notice what we are doing.

It isn’t until we are feeling under the weather, that we recognize how much we rely on our health.  Not until we need to move a heavy object, do we notice our muscles (or the lack thereof).  Our minds have incredible power and potential as well:  electricity is one magnificent result of intellectual ability.  Medical science is another.  Truly great things come out of pure human ability.

But in the matter of life and death, we come face-to-face with our limitations–and the reality that all we have comes from God, the Giver of Life:

“…He (God) Himself gives to all people life and breath and all things…” Acts 17:25b

We have plans, programs and projects that we use to measure our success.  That is not God’s plan.

He designed us to be God-directed, Spirit-controlled.  Failing to live that way creates dis-unity, ill-health and ultimately death.  His Spirit desires to speak into our spirit.

I am to rely on that communication channel like my dog relies on me! 

Deliberately trusting in the Holy Spirit is a necessity that requires the investment of our time:  attentiveness dies on the altar of busy-ness.  The beauty of disruptions to daily life is that they cause us to notice where our trust really lies.   I rejoice that this disruption today refocused my eyes on trusting the Spirit for direction!  My prayer is that it does the same for you!

Our body, mind and emotions are simply antennae that help us hear the world.  Our decisions are not to come from those things.  Sapphire Dream PhotographyIt is our spirit tuned into His Spirit that provides direction!  In the midst of the noise of life is the quiet voice of the Lord…the Prince of Peace.

He does direct those who listen to Him…He shows which way He desires us to go.  Our challenge is to receive His wisdom with quiet confidence in His goodness.

But the wisdom from above is first of all pure. It is also peace loving, gentle at all times, and willing to yield to others. It is full of mercy and good deeds. It shows no favoritism and is always sincere.  James 3:17

That really shouldn’t be that big of a challenge except for this truth: we are more accustomed to trusting in ourselves than in the King of Kings.  Stated openly, the foolishness is obvious. With the truth unveiled, let’s decide to choose the Living Truth, Life Himself!

 

Finding your way into the presence of God

My heart aches to understand that there are those who seldom enjoy time with God; those who feel puzzled when others speak of ‘feeling His touch’ or ‘hearing His voice.’  God is a personal God, desperately desiring to connect with us.  My greatest sadness is not for those who reject God but for those striving to “DO” something to get closer to Him.  Just as Paul said to the crowds in Rome, “He is never far from you.”  Entering into His presence is a possibility any time!

Made in the image of God–body, soul and spirit–seeking Him involves all aspects of us.  Frankly, we are the barrier to enjoying God.  On the physical level, busy-ness is the biggest blockade.  Even if the activities are God-oriented, busyness prevents real interaction the Father.  Vigilance that prioritizes private God-time is critical.  Fellowship with Christians, “church,” is part of the plan of God as well.  We must enjoy His presence individually and corporately.  If your church orchestrates details of every service, make it your personal ambition to enter the presence of God in those details.  He is still there; help others find Him by letting His light flood you!

Other physical world things that can keep from God are seeking pleasures from the world instead of him.  Over-eating is an easy example for many of us.  Stress and fatigue drive me to comfort foods on a regular basis.  God asks to be my Bread of Life.  Each of us will have areas of weakness the Spirit can reveal.  Ask God what in the physical world separates you from Him.  Any physical sin (any sin for that matter) will separate us from God.  They are idolatry; things we prefer to the presence of God.  Refuse to let your body keep you from the Creator!

Then there is that soul part of us:  our mind, will and emotions.  Much of the battle of life takes place in the mind.  We are to renew our minds with the Word.  That is not a dry, wearisome task—even if you never liked reading anything!  Technology gives you amazing options to listen or watch the Word.  Find a way to get Truth from the Word into your mind because that changes everything!  Emotions flow from our thoughts, and actions come out of our emotions.  Spending time in the Word is not optional, nor is it an item to check off from a ‘to do’ list.

Engage your heart and your mind with His words and you will feel His presence—and He will empower you to exercise your will and obey Him.  It is different than just ‘spending time in the Word’; it must be time with God!  For

Lawrence OP Let the Children Come We are all children!

Lawrence OP
Let the Children Come
We are all children!

me, an avid ‘student’—and self-professed geek, enjoying God through reading and writing is easy—it is my design.  Thoughts serve as propulsion jets shooting me toward the Father.  I may pause to gaze in awe at His beauty; I may ask a question for clarification from Him or dig into a word study for more thought jets.  Seek His heart as you read and even if it is not your default design, He will meet you!

Don’t stop there!  Keep seeking.  Find new ways to enter His glory, unique ways based on how He created you!  Find a mentor who can listen to your heart and help you hear the things God is speaking into your life.

Consider using music.  Scripture-based music helps me lay down the ‘soulish’ parts of self and enjoy Him.  It quiets my busy mind and lets me focus on feeling God.  On the other hand, some find their soul so engaged in music, they fail to connect with God.  Make Him the priority.  Continually seek His presence.  Be attentive for Him.  He promises to be found.  Do not give up.  God is not distant but imminently, impressively real!

I’ll leave you with one final tool that works for me when the press of life feels too weighty.  I go for a walk.  It helps me synchronize my overused mind and underused body.  The magnitude of creation, the details and activity of nature quietly working mostly unnoticed by busting humanity resets my spirit.  To my harm and shame, the stuff of life, the cares of this world, easily stifle the still, small voice of my humble, majestic God.  He is ever-present, yet I am blind to Him.  A walk—whether on a street or in the windows—engages me with a world bigger than my own.  It reminds me of my smallness and floods me with thanksgiving for His love and wisdom.

 What works for you to enter the presence of God.  Share here, share with others:  has there been a song, a book or a worship experience that stands out?

 We are to live this life of faith together.  God blesses that we can in turn bless another.

 If you struggle to find or feel God, zap a note.  Let’s talk it through.  He loves you beyond measure.  He is waiting for you to enjoy being with Him.  There is nothing more you need to do to be loved by Him…

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