Tag Archives: God’s Voice

Job 1-3; Psalm 29; Revelation 10

Psalm 29 (ICB)
God in the Thunderstorm
A song of David.

1Praise the Lord, you angels.
Praise the Lord’s glory and power.
2Praise the Lord for the glory of his name.
Worship the Lord because he is holy.

Yesappa,

You are glorious, full of power. I’m in awe of You. You are worthy to be praised. You are good. You are holy. You are full of righteousness. I lift my eyes to You and raise my hands in worship. I open my ears and my heart to You, trusting in Your grace, Your mercy, Your love.

3The Lord’s voice is heard over the sea.
The glorious God thunders.
The Lord thunders over the great ocean.
4The Lord’s voice is powerful.
The Lord’s voice is majestic.

I listen for Your voice in everything. I listen in the midst of moments of stillness. I listen in the midst of the tempests of life. I can find You in the quiet, yet Your voice is loud. I can find You in the thunder, yet Your voice is tranquil. Your voice can be heard no matter where I am. Your voice reverberates truth in my heart. Your powerful voice gives strength to me in my weakness and comforts me when I am feeling low, reminding me that I am Yours, I am the daughter of the King.

5The Lord’s voice breaks the trees.
The Lord breaks the cedars of Lebanon.
6He makes the land of Lebanon dance like a calf.
He makes Mount Hermon jump like a baby bull.
7The Lord’s voice makes the lightning flash.
8The Lord’s voice shakes the desert.
The Lord shakes the Desert of Kadesh.
9The Lord’s voice shakes the oaks.
The leaves fall off the trees.
In his Temple everyone says, “Glory to God!”

Your voice makes the earth respond to Your commands. With one word, You can build up. With one word, You can tear down. Your voice changes things; it changes the world around me. Your voice changes me, changes my heart.

10The Lord controls the flood.
The Lord will be King forever.
11The Lord gives strength to his people.
The Lord blesses his people with peace.

You are in control. Nothing is too big or too small. You are King. You will reign forever in the heavens and on the earth. Your name will ever be praised by Your creations.

You are more powerful than the storms in my life, thunderstorms that threaten my safety. You give me strength to withstand. You give me strength to overcome. Your peace that surpasses my understanding rests on me and Your truth brings triumph.

In Jesus’ name. Amen.

 

Blessings,
Julie (juliet2912)

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Filed under 66 Books, Job, Old Testament, Psalms, Revelation

Ezekiel 28-30; John 10

The people surrounded him and asked, “How long are you going to keep us in suspense? If you are the Messiah, tell us plainly.”

Jesus replied, “I have already told you, and you don’t believe me. The proof is the work I do in my Father’s name. But you don’t believe me because you are not my sheep. My sheep listen to my voice; I know them, and they follow me. I give them eternal life, and they will never perish. No one can snatch them away from me, for my Father has given them to me, and he is more powerful than anyone else. No one can snatch them from the Father’s hand. The Father and I are one.” John 10:24-30

 

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When I went to India the first time, I was able to see firsthand what shepherding looked like during Biblical times. No barns, no fenced-in green pastures, no troughs of food or water, just a mass of goats (most commonly) or sheep and in their midst their shepherd and sometimes his nomadic family.

A dried rice paddy, the ground resting after a harvest, the herd hired to fertilize the land in preparation for the next planting season. A lone shepherd crouched down in the shade, a sun-bleached towel wrapped around his head to protect him from the elements, his watchful eye missing nothing.

A herd journeying through the village toward new grazing land, some stragglers lingering in the road blocking traffic. The shepherd, carrying the newest addition to the flock under his arm, gently guiding them with his staff, a unique clicking sound coming from his mouth, a warning to move out of the way…and the sheep instantly respond.

When there is more than one herd in the area, to the untrained eye, it is just a swarm of bodies, chaos and pandemonium. Then each shepherd bellows out, both calling his sheep like children. The herds separate like the Red Sea and every sheep goes to right or left toward the voice it recognizes.

But how do I recognize my Shepherd’s voice? How do I really know how to hear God’s voice?

I don’t know that I’ve ever heard the audible voice of God – that big, booming, Charlton Heston-like voice portrayed in most religious movies – but over the years I have learned to recognize how He talks to me.

When He says something, it may be words that come through my head like thoughts, it may be a picture I see in my mind’s eye, or an impression I feel with my heart or my other sensations, etc. And, I know it’s God, the same way I know it’s my mom or dad or my sister, my husband, or my friend on the phone; I recognize His voice because I have practiced listening to Him.

I have learned to distinguish the difference between God talking to me, the enemy accusing me, and my own self-talk. I have learned to look for the proof by seeing the fruit of what each voice brings. God’s voice is loving, full of grace and mercy. He speaks life and encouragement to my heart, even when He reprimands me, calling out my sin and convicting my heart to turn back to Him. Hearing His voice helps me know Him better and helps me follow, choosing the right path and walking in the footsteps of Heaven.

“I am the good shepherd; I know my own sheep, and they know me, just as my Father knows me and I know the Father. So I sacrifice my life for the sheep. I have other sheep, too, that are not in this sheepfold. I must bring them also. They will listen to my voice, and there will be one flock with one shepherd. John 10:14-16

 

Blessings – Julie, Sholavandan, India (written in the U.S.A.

P.S. This video was filmed in Norway and is a superb example of sheep responding to their shepherds voice. When God calls His sheep we will come running.

 

Unless otherwise indicated, all Scripture quotations are taken from the Holy Bible, New Living Translation, copyright 1996, 2004, 2007 by Tyndale House Foundation. Used by permission of Tyndale House Publishers, Inc., Carol Stream, Illinois 60188. All rights reserved.

Image of shepherd in India: http://www.wsj.com/articles/SB10001424052970204520204577250391151923490

 

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Filed under 66 Books, Bible in a year reading plan, Ezekiel, John, New Testament, Old Testament

Joel; Matthew 10

…I will pour out my Spirit upon all people.

Your sons and daughters will prophesy.

Your old men will dream dreams,

and your young men will see visions.

In those days I will pour out my Spirit

even on servants—men and women alike. Joel 2:28-29

…don’t worry about how to respond or what to say. God will give you the right words at the right time. For it is not you who will be speaking—it will be the Spirit of your Father speaking through you. Matthew 10:19-20

12shepherdsvoice_niv500x373 Recently, I have been going to my parent’s house for small group. It isn’t a traditional small group where everyone gathers for Bible study; it is a group where people come to seek the voice of God, to quiet the soul and listen for His still, small voice.

There was a time that I believed that God didn’t speak to His people anymore, but I have come to realize that the only reason I can’t always hear what He is saying is because I’m not always listening, with my ears, my eyes, my mind, my heart. Life is SO busy, and it is very easy to get caught up in the day to day that it can be difficult to hear what God is saying to me.

Sometimes I wonder if it really is God’s voice speaking to me, sometimes I wonder, “Could it just be what I am thinking? My imagination?”

A mighty woman of God shared with me her revelation on God’s voice at the beginning of my faith journey. To paraphrase, when you answer the phone, without looking at caller ID, and it is your father, your mother, your sister, brother, friend, etc., you know who it is simply by hearing them speak. You recognized their voices and don’t need them to reveal who they are. It is the same with God. When you first meet Him, you may need introductions, but as you meet with Him more and more, it becomes easier and easier to identify God’s voice and differentiate between the many ‘voices’.

I have learned to pray for discernment when I am not sure of the source of what I am hearing or seeing – a good barometer is whether or not what I am perceiving is from the Lord is that it is encouraging, edifying, and exhorting and that it lines up with the things He has already told me in His Word.

Whenever I position myself to hear from God, I do, and last night was no exception. I want to share what He communicated to me, because I know that it isn’t just for me:


I see a picture of a person in a vast body of water, deep enough that there is no perceivable bottom. I know that this person has been swimming for a while because no land is nearby. The person has stopped – he or she can go no further and can’t go back. Exhausted the person is slowly treading water to conserve energy, understanding that it is only a matter of time before he or she is even able to tread water anymore. Some time has passed and the person begins flailing, a last ditch effort for survival. Out of nowhere a life-saving ring is tossed in front of the person. At first, the person doesn’t even see the floatation device in front of him or her and continues grasping at air in desperation. As I look closer at the floatation device, I see that there is a rope attached to it, but rather than the rope leading to a boat as I would expect, it reaches into the clouds and the other end can’t be seen. I am hearing the words “Life Line”. All the person has to do is realize it’s in front of him or her, ready and available to help…

”I’m here. I’m ALWAYS here – in good times and bad, in sickness and health, for richer or poorer – nothing matters but you – loving you, caring for you, providing for you – the struggles are nothing to Me – they aren’t greater than Me, they can’t defeat Me, they won’t overcome Me, they aren’t ‘too much’ for Me – I love you with and everlasting love, incomprehensible to you, but fully unconditional – reach out, reach out for the life line I’ve thrown you, grab on and hold on tight – I’ll rescue you, I’ll bring you away from the fear, away from the panic, far away from the feeling of defeat. Grab onto Me and hold on tight.

Desperation is no longer yours – you’ll no longer feel like you’re drowning; you’ll no longer be afraid because My life line is yours, grasped tightly in your hand – always there, always rescuing you – hold on tightly to Me – hold on, hold on”…

And then I saw this: CONNEXTION


Yesappa, Thank You for meeting me. Thank You for speaking to me and showing me a piece of Your heart. Allow this word to minister to Your children. Open ears to hear and eyes to see You; and give courage to share what You are speaking. In Jesus’ name. Amen.

Blessings – Julie, Sholavandan, India (written in the U.S.A.)

Unless otherwise indicated, all Scripture quotations are taken from the Holy Bible, New Living Translation, copyright 1996, 2004, 2007 by Tyndale House Foundation. Used by permission of Tyndale House Publishers, Inc., Carol Stream, Illinois 60188. All rights reserved.

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Filed under 66 Books, Bible in a year reading plan, Matthew, New Testament, Old Testament

Genesis 3-5; Matthew 2

The serpent persuaded her with words. (Her eyes sealed the deal with want.)

The following verses are like stepping stones leading down a path. The Lord speaks, and there is choice. Listen, or don’t.

He cares. He warns. He commands. Those who listen show wisdom–those who don’t believe to be wise in their own eyes.

  • So when the woman saw that the tree was good for food, and that it was a delight to the eyes, and that the tree was to be desired to make one wise, she took of its fruit and ate, and she also gave some to her husband who was with her, and he ate. Genesis 3:6 ESV.
  • 11 He said, “Who told you that you were naked? Have you eaten of the tree of which I commanded you not to eat?” Genesis 3:11 ESV.
  • but for Cain and his offering he had no regard. So Cain was very angry, and his face fell. The Lord said to Cain, “Why are you angry, and why has your face fallen? If you do well, will you not be accepted? And if you do not do well, sin is crouching at the door. Its desire is for you, but you must rule over it.” Genesis 4:5-7
  • 21 When Enoch had lived 65 years, he fathered Methuselah. 22 Enoch walked with God after he fathered Methuselah 300 years and had other sons and daughters. 23 Thus all the days of Enoch were 365 years. 24 Enoch walked with God, and he was not, for God took him. Genesis 5:21-24 ESV
  • 12 And being warned in a dream not to return to Herod, they departed to their own country by another way. Matthew 2:12 ESV
  • 13 Now when they had departed, behold, an angel of the Lord appeared to Joseph in a dream and said, “Rise, take the child and his mother, and flee to Egypt, and remain there until I tell you, for Herod is about to search for the child, to destroy him.” 14 And he rose and took the child and his mother by night and departed to Egypt … Matthew 2:13-14 ESV
  • 19 But when Herod died, behold, an angel of the Lord appeared in a dream to Joseph in Egypt, 20 saying, “Rise, take the child and his mother and go …” Matthew 2:19-22 ESV

Lord, You speak still. I want to be like Enoch and walk with You. I want to know Your voice (to hear it and heed it), and not be persuaded and deceived by unsteady and changing influences of a culture (or even my very own whims). I pray to draw even closer to You through Your Word this year.

Courtney (66books365)

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Filed under 66 Books, Bible in a year reading plan, ESV Through the Bible in a Year

2 Chronicles 36; Revelation 22; Malachi 4; John 21

The Spirit and the bride say, “Come!” Let the one who hears this say, “Come!” Let whoever is thirsty come; whoever wishes may have the water of life as a free gift. Revelation 22:17 (NCV)

Jesus said to them, “Come and eat”…Jesus came and took the bread and gave it to them, along with the fish. John 21:12-13 (NCV)

The end of the year is a perfect time to remember my past, not in such a way that bogs me down and makes me depressed over my failings, but in a way that lifts me up and gives testimony to God’s goodness in my life. It is a time to reflect on His timely provision, His faithfulness, and His constant beckoning.

This year has been a difficult one for me. Spending the first half of the year in the U.S. as a single mom to my two daughters while my husband ministered in India and then spending the second half of the year re-adjusting to life in a third world country has made for a lot of stress and struggle. I have dwelled much of the year in a desert place – physically, mentally, emotionally, spiritually – hungry and thirsty for more connection, especially with Jesus.

“But for you who honor me, goodness will shine on you like the sun, with healing in its rays…” Malachi 4:2 (NCV)

As I look back, I am reminded of the oases that God offered me throughout the year, havens that allowed me to be refreshed, to heal, to be encouraged, to taste and see that He is good:

  • My family’s support. Though my parent’s house became overrun with baby paraphernalia and toddler’s toys, Nick Jr. and Sprout cornered the TV airways, and temper tantrums and time outs were a moment by moment occurrence, they welcomed us with open arms. They helped me love my kids on purpose and made it possible for me to care for myself as I transitioned into a mom of two.
  • My friends’ encouragement. I was re-united with women I’ve known for years and I experienced divine encounters with new friends. Bonding over coffee, playdates, and MOPS meetings gave me time for adult conversation and helped me remember that I am not alone in my journey as a woman, as a wife, and as a mother.
  • My church body’s acceptance. I am blessed to call many places of worship ‘home’; communities where I am readily received whether I’ve been there every week or only visit once in a blue moon. The people are caring, the corporate prayer and worship is a breath of fresh air, the pastors’ messages fill my spirit, and the nursery workers are God-sent, allowing me precious moments to spend time with God without worrying about my children.
  • My husband’s and in-laws’ provision. I grappled with the thought of returning to India because our living arrangements in the past had been less than ideal (150+/- square feet of living space without a place for a kitchen and without running water). When my daughters and I arrived, I was pleasantly surprised by an apartment on the second floor of my in-laws house which tripled our living space and provided a kitchen, a bathroom on the same level, and running water.
  • My daughters’ unconditional love. No matter how unruly and high-spirited my girls are, no matter how many times they do things that infuriate me and break my heart, there is nothing in the world quiet like the sweet, and sometimes sticky, hugs and kisses from my children. Their expressions of love melt my heart and strengthen my revelation of love with the Father.

The end of the year is also an opportunity to think about my hopes for the coming months. It is a time to make future plans, to make choices about what paths my journey will take. It is a time to listen to what the Lord is saying about His will for my life.

The Lord has been whispering the word ‘COME’ to me recently. “Come near to Me. Be connected to Me. Position yourself in My arms. Let Me be your priority. Let Me give you what you need, the desires of your heart. Let Me give you joy. Let Me show you the truth about who I made you to be. Let Me be your fulfillment. Let Me feed you and give you drink. Let Me give you peace, freedom. Rest in Me.”

The follower whom Jesus loved said to Peter, “It is the Lord!” When Peter heard him say this, he wrapped his coat around himself. (Peter had taken his clothes off.) Then he jumped into the water. John 21:7 (NCV)

When I hear these words spoken to me, I want to dive into His Glory. I want to drink His living water, His new wine until my thirst is abated. I want to be renewed by the rivers, baptized in His restorative blood once again. I want to run toward my Creator, my Savior. I want to embrace Him and never let go. I want to abide in His oasis and be filled by His daily bread. I want to draw close to His heart and rest forever in His presence. And, I am grateful that I am His daughter, His beloved.

Blessings – Julie (writing from Sholavandan, India)

HAPPY NEW YEAR!

May it be your best year yet, full of abundance and blessings!

Scripture taken from the New Century Version®. Copyright © 2005 by Thomas Nelson, Inc. Used by permission. All rights reserved.

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Filed under 2 Chronicles, 66 Books, John, M'Cheyne Bible reading plan, Malachi, New Testament, Old Testament, Revelation

I kings 8, Ezekiel 38, Ephesians 5, & Psalm 28, 29

DISCLAIMER: God is no respecter of persons!

Whenever I am asked, “How do you know when God is speaking to you,” I hesitate to answer – not because I do not believe He speaks to me, but because I know whatever follows next from my mouth will sound foolish to many. Yet, I have to say that God chooses many ways to speak to me: His Word (that is, the Bible, using various versions); His people (those taught by schools of divinity, those self-taught by years of study, and those who have pure hearts devoted to God); His correction (my hard earned mistakes and the mistakes of others); His creation (the signs He displays – think rainbows); and His humor (He can speak through a donkey, by having a man walk around naked for a year, by giving strength to a man if he lets his hair grow long). So I do not put limits on how God can speak to me.  What I humbly submit is that even my foolish heart cannot outwit God’s plan for me each day.

Like yesterday when I reflected on all that I had wanted to accomplish. I raced to complete each task hoping to do my best and praying that God would show up.  At the end of the day, I had to laugh at myself.  Though everything was done, I realize that God does not dwell in my works. He reminded me of this when I read in 1 Kings 8, “The heavens, even the highest heaven, cannot contain you. How much less this temple I have built!”  Reading those lines reminds me to not take my purpose in life so seriously because my relationship with God is more than doing good deeds.

I also heard God’s voice assuring me that my prayers to be used for the salvation of others is not going unheard.  In Ezekiel 38, God says, “In days to come, Gog, I will bring you against my land, so that the nations may know me when I am proved holy through you before their eyes.” Ok, some of you know that my nickname for grandmother is Gog, so I may be stretching this one a bit.  (I hope so since Gog is not exactly in the Lord’s army!) Still, I know for certain that God encourages us to intercede for the world.

God also speaks in a personal way to me when I need Him the most. For example, Psalm 28:6, “Praise be to the Lord, for he has heard my cry for mercy.” This verse has been rolling around in my head for the last several weeks after my ex-husband proposed to me.  We were divorced in January of this year, and though I had accepted the separation and divorce as necessary, my heart remained broken over the love we had shared.  If you think this verse too general to apply to this situation, you may be caught off guard to hear that on our wedding day, I had decided to study the books, chapters, and verses mentioned in this blog, and I literally fell to my knees when I read this one: Ephesians 5.  Now anyone who has ever been married or is contemplating getting married is familiar with this text (or ought to be).  This chapter has the famous words, “Submit ye one to another,” and other commands for wives and husbands.   Wow! I had no idea that these words would be applicable to me any time soon.  Then that same morning, we stood before the pastor, and he began to speak about marriage.  Guess what passage of Scripture he used…just saying!

Sometimes I hear God’s voice quietly, but a lot of the times it comes like King David describes in Psalm 29.  “The voice of the Lord thunders over the waters; The voice of the Lord breaks the cedars in pieces; The voice of the Lord strikes with flashes of lightning; The voice of the Lord shakes the desert; The voice of the Lord twists the oaks… And in his temple all cry, “Glory!”  I often cry at the sound of God’s voice.

JSWilkinson

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Filed under 1 Kings, 66 Books, Bible in a year reading plan, Ephesians, Ezekiel, M'Cheyne Bible reading plan, New Testament, Old Testament, Psalms

Numbers 5, 6; Mark 13:1-20

God spoke this to Moses. God spoke that to Moses. God spoke to Moses.

It struck me that in much of the early Old Testament and especially in my reading today that God only spoke to Moses. Thinking back on previous readings, I realize that God did try to speak to the people of Israel after He brought them out of Egypt. They were afraid for their lives and hardened their hearts against hearing the voice of God. The Israelites begged Moses to be the one that listened. At this point, even the priests were not hearing the voice of God as He had to tell Moses, to tell Aaron and his sons how to bless the people.

That is not how God wants it. He wants us to be able to hear His voice. He wants to walk with us and talk with us in the cool of the day, the way He was able to with Adam before the fall. That is why He sent His Son to earth to restore our relationship to Him through Jesus’ death and resurrection.

Even before He died and rose from the dead. Jesus was comforting His disciples and sharing with them that Holy Spirit would be here, speaking to us, giving us the words we need to say under any circumstance, especially when we are put on trial on account of our relationship with Christ.

…don’t worry about what you’ll say. When the time comes, say what’s on your heart—the Holy Spirit will make his witness in and through you. Mark 13:11 (MSG)

I have experienced this help from Holy Spirit countless times as a missionary in India. I feel blessed that to date I have not been in a position where my freedom or my life has been threatened as a result of being a Christian. For the most part, I live in an area that is relatively receptive of Jesus and His sacrifice for us. But I still must rely on hearing God’s voice to be able to share, witness, and minister to the people in the area where I live.

When I first came to India, the pastor I worked with, the man who eventually became my husband, would frequently surprise me and have me preach ‘off cuff’ in the villages. It was the hardest thing for me as I didn’t really feel studied enough to do it, I didn’t feel prepared. I was fearful that I would make a mistake or not remember to tell a significant part of a Bible story or, worse yet, not be relevant to the people.

I was put in a position where I had to trust that Holy Spirit would help me and tell me what I need to say, what the people needed to hear. Over and over, as I trusted more and more, I heard God’s voice, His prompts: say this, say that, tell them this, tell them that. And repeatedly, everything that I felt I was hearing from God would be confirmed when villager after villager would come to us and share through my husband that they had received the answer to what they had been struggling with that day. The people were encouraged because they felt God’s love for them; they felt like Jesus really cared about what they were going through.

It is a reassurance to me that God has always been there for me, is there for me now, and will always be there for me. He will never leave me or forsake me, in good times or in bad. He won’t leave me alone with nothing to say when I am being put on trial, literally or figuratively, for my belief in Him. If my heart stays soft before Him and my ears are always open to hear His voice, He will always speak with me and give me the words I need in every situation.

Thank you, Yesappa, for speaking with me, for blessing me and keeping me. Thank you for shining your face on me and being gracious, even when I don’t deserve it. Thank you for lifting your countenance upon me and thank you for giving me peace. Amen.

 

Blessings – Julie, Vadipatti, India

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Filed under 66 Books, Bible in a year reading plan, Mark, New Testament, Numbers, Old Testament