Tag Archives: hearing God

Numbers 22-25; Luke 1

“Here I am, Lord.” I’ve read this response throughout the Bible and have felt strengthened and hopeful. I have wondered if I found myself in a circumstance that the Lord would call my name, would I too reply, “Here I am, Lord”? The reading today makes me think on that.

An angel of the Lord appears to people in these chapters, and their responses cause me to pause.

31 Then the Lord opened Balaam’s eyes, and he saw the angel of the Lord standing in the roadway with a drawn sword in his hand. Balaam bowed his head and fell face down on the ground before him.

32 “Why did you beat your donkey those three times?” the angel of the Lord demanded. “Look, I have come to block your way because you are stubbornly resisting me. 33 Three times the donkey saw me and shied away; otherwise, I would certainly have killed you by now and spared the donkey.”

34 Then Balaam confessed to the angel of the Lord, “I have sinned. I didn’t realize you were standing in the road to block my way. I will return home if you are against my going.”

35 But the angel of the Lord told Balaam, “Go with these men, but say only what I tell you to say.” So Balaam went on with Balak’s officials. (Numbers 22:31-35, NLT)

11 While Zechariah was in the sanctuary, an angel of the Lord appeared to him, standing to the right of the incense altar. 12 Zechariah was shaken and overwhelmed with fear when he saw him. 13 But the angel said, “Don’t be afraid, Zechariah! God has heard your prayer. Your wife, Elizabeth, will give you a son, and you are to name him John. 14 You will have great joy and gladness, and many will rejoice at his birth, 15 for he will be great in the eyes of the Lord. He must never touch wine or other alcoholic drinks. He will be filled with the Holy Spirit, even before his birth. 16 And he will turn many Israelites to the Lord their God. 17 He will be a man with the spirit and power of Elijah. He will prepare the people for the coming of the Lord. He will turn the hearts of the fathers to their children, and he will cause those who are rebellious to accept the wisdom of the godly.”

18 Zechariah said to the angel, “How can I be sure this will happen? I’m an old man now, and my wife is also well along in years.”

19 Then the angel said, “I am Gabriel! I stand in the very presence of God. It was he who sent me to bring you this good news! 20 But now, since you didn’t believe what I said, you will be silent and unable to speak until the child is born. For my words will certainly be fulfilled at the proper time.” (Luke 1:11-20, NLT)

And this:

38 Mary responded, “I am the Lord’s servant. May everything you have said about me come true.” And then the angel left her. (Luke 1:38, NLT)

Oh, Lord, when your spirit instructs me, help me to hear and be obedient. It’s one thing to read a story of how God moves in someone’s life and to want to be part of something like that, wondering how I’d respond in that moment. But how do I respond when God asks of me today? Am I looking for him throughout my day? Have I become desensitized to his voice because of my own thoughts and concerns? Lord, help me to hear. Help me to see.

Courtney (66books365)

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1 Samuel 3-5; Psalm 23; Acts 6

1The boy Samuel served the Lord under Eli. In those days the Lord did not speak directly to people very often. There were very few visions.

2Eli’s eyes were so weak he was almost blind. One night he was lying in bed. 3Samuel was also in bed in the Lord’s Holy Tent. The Ark of the Covenant was in the Holy Tent. God’s lamp was still burning.

4Then the Lord called Samuel. Samuel answered, “I am here!” 5He ran to Eli and said, “I am here. You called me.”

But Eli said, “I didn’t call you. Go back to bed.” So Samuel went back to bed.

6The Lord called again, “Samuel!”

Samuel again went to Eli and said, “I am here. You called me.”

Again Eli said, “I didn’t call you. Go back to bed.”

7Samuel did not yet know the Lord. The Lord had not spoken directly to him yet.

8The Lord called Samuel for the third time. Samuel got up and went to Eli. He said, “I am here. You called me.”

Then Eli realized the Lord was calling the boy. 9So he told Samuel, “Go to bed. If he calls you again, say, ‘Speak, Lord. I am your servant, and I am listening.’” So Samuel went and lay down in bed.

10The Lord came and stood there. He called as he had before. He said, “Samuel, Samuel!”

Samuel said, “Speak, Lord. I am your servant, and I am listening.” 1 Samuel 3:1-10

How do I hear God’s voice?

I think at times I hoped for the deep, imposing Charlton Heston-voiced God from the Moses movie – something recognizable as a supreme being. I’ve never heard that voice.

The voice that I hear, sounds more like my own voice, echoing in the chambers of my mind and my heart. I know it’s not me because the words spoken are much kinder and more loving, inspired and not exhausted. The voice of God, still, quiet, and yet with full authority, meets me exactly where I am in any given moment, in a way that I am able to understand, in a way that is relevant, relatable, authentic. Whether resonating through the words of the Bible, a worship song, the encouragement of a friend, or the urging of Holy Spirit, everything that is spoken is borne of truth and brings light into the darkness.

I know that it’s God the same way I know that it’s my husband, my mom, my sister, my friend…when they call me on the phone and the way I know which one of my kids is yelling for me from the other room. I recognize His voice. When I meet someone new, I won’t know her voice if she calls me; she would have to introduce herself on the phone. But as I get to know her, I’ll hear her voice and I’ll know who is calling without needing an introduction. It may take some time, but my brain will make the connections, just as my heart recognizes the connection to my Creator.

Sometimes I go through seasons where I feel like I don’t hear much of His voice. Life is too loud around me and I struggle to quiet my spirit enough to discern God’s voice through the cacophony of running to and fro, children bickering and screaming their “Mommy! Mommy!”, never-ending to-do lists, piles of laundry, dirty dishes, and on and on. It’s difficult to find chunks of silence on any given day and at most I may only find a moment here or there.

I am learning that when I “can’t” hear His voice, it’s time be intentional, to ask Him. It’s a chance to purposely set aside a few, fleeting minutes to ask, “What do You want to tell me? What do You have to say?” And, then stop talking, and listen.

Yesappa, open my ears to hear, quiet my spirit to listen. Amen.

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Filed under 1 Samuel, 66 Books, Acts, Bible in a year reading plan, New Testament, Old Testament, Psalms

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

I Kings 22, I Thessalonians 5, Daniel 4, & Psalm 45

I Kings 22 – The Lord has put a lying spirit in the mouth of all the prophets of yours, and the Lord has declared disaster against you.

I Thess, 5 – Do not say quench the Spirit.  (Do not resist His influence, like trying to smother a fire.)

Daniel 4 – Nebuchadnezzar said to Daniel, “…but you are able [to interpret the dream], for the Spirit of the Holy God is in you.”

Psalm 45– “Therefore God , Your God, has anointed You with the oil of gladness…”

Listening for God’s voice and speaking the words He gives me sounds grandiose, doesn’t it.  I mean, when I think about how to explain to anyone why I believe a certain way, make seemingly insignificant choices or major decisions, speak assertively or refrain from letting the words fly, I almost want to minimize the importance of seeking God.  How many times have we heard televangelists spout prophecies that do not come true and serve only to sell books or garner large donations?  How many kooks do we see standing on the corner shouting that everyone is going to hell if they don’t repent?  Have you ever felt queasy from manipulative pastors who say, “Thus saith the Lord,” before convincing you to get involved in the church – ministries where no one wants to volunteer (think children’s ministry), duties that the church doesn’t want to pay for (think lawn care or renovating the parsonage), or leading Bible studies in your home?

So I hesitate to add my insignificant voice to the clanging symbols of those I discern to have ‘lying spirits.’  Oh, and yes, listening to God and speaking His word sometimes means taking a stand against religious nuts.

So what is the litmus test for knowing the Spirit of truth and hearing the voice of God? I am certainly no theologian, and I can only speak from my personal spiritual walk, yet I do use a method, if you will, to hear from God and to choose when and what to say.

First, I go to the Source.  God, the Father, Christ Jesus, our Savior, and the Holy Spirit of God are but a heartbeat away anywhere, anytime.  With each breath and pulse I consciously and unconsciously reach for the Trinity.  Beginning with praise and letting go of any illusion of control, I begin to surrender spirit, soul, and body.

Next, I confess my biggest fear.  What could be worse than that I miss hearing God, mishandle His word, and bring harm to another?  Nothing; therefore, I am sometimes fearful to the point of passing over the tasks He has prepared for me.  Yet, I stay surrendered to His will.

Finally, I agree to be a fool.  This is the hardest step for me to take given my need to look smart and sound reasonable.  My ways, my perspective, the world’s expectations – all may have to be thrown out in order to let God have His way with me.  By this point, there is no way to smother His all-consuming Fire; the Holy Spirit will speak when I am willing to give Him my voice.

I wish I could say my method works every time, but I belong in the category of fallen man, redeemed, nonetheless.  So forgive me when I err and praise God when I do His will.  I am under a mighty compulsion to listen and speak to our great God, regardless.

Janet

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Filed under 1 Kings, 1 Thessalonians, 66 Books, Daniel, M'Cheyne Bible reading plan, Psalms