Chapter Eight – God Whispers

So imagine you are at a get together.  Things have been a little hectic in your life and its been awhile since you’ve seen or been able to chat with your best friend. You know your bestie will be at the party so wait with anticipation to see her/him because you have so much to tell them.  Finally, the bestie shows up and before they can get caught up in socializing you whisk them away from the noise to give them the rundown on the current events in your life.  Just to make sure your conversation isn’t overheard, you lean as close as possible and whisper.  We whisper because we want the intimacy of having a private and personal conversation with the person we trust more than life itself.

Sometimes when we are praying and seeking God’s counsel, we half expect him to literally shake mountains or uproot and replant trees right before our eyes in response to our requests.  Of course, God could very well do those things if he so chooses but God may also choose to respond to us in a much softer, gentler way. He may prefer to simply whisper.  A whisper from God is like getting an invitation to lean in just a little bit closer to him in order to really see and understand all that he is attempting to teach us.  When we lean in, we can enjoy the intimacy of a private and personal conversation with the one who gives us life.

In 1 Kings 19, Elijah felt weak, exhausted, tired and frustrated with the events happening in his life.  Even as he was ready to give up, God spoke to him in a clear, soft whisper.  God reminded Elijah that even in the worst of times He is still present.  There was no earthshaking, no mountains moved and no trees uprooted.  It was simply God’s soft whisper in the midst of all that chaos.

Even when life seems out of sorts and chaotic, God is aware and communicates with us even then.  We just have to lean in a little closer to hear His whisper.

 

Chapter Seven – God’s Personal Touch

Matthew 7:7-8 Ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you.  For everyone who asks receives; he who seeks finds; and to him who knocks, the door will be opened.

I love this passage of scripture.  It reminds me that no matter what challenges I face, God loves me so much that he is always available to hear my prayers and petitions.

As we seek to build a relationship with God, he stands ready, willing and open to building a relationship with us.  No matter what difficult situations we find ourselves in, if we ask for help, guidance and direction, God is there to deliver.  Now, his delivery may not come in the manner we would like or prefer but know that God is always doing what is best for us.

Each of our situations and struggles are personal to us.  Our troubles may resemble those of someone else’s but to us they are unique.  Therefore, we cannot expect our answers and responses from God to be the same as those received by someone else.  The plan that God has for each of our lives is different and specially designed for us as individuals.  That is God’s personal touch and promise to each of us.

Live in the moment…

Chapter Six – God’s Colorful Expressions

In this chapter I am reminded of the many different ways God has spoken to his people throughout the bible.  He uses whatever means necessary to communicate to those he loves.  He communicated clearly to Adam and Eve about their responsibilities.  He communicated with Cain about his anger.  He came to Noah about building an arc.  Moses literally got a burning bush of communication.  I could go on…Joseph had a dream, Ezekiel and Daniel saw visions.  God communicates to us in so many ways.

It may be a dream, a whisper, a loud voice or a vision during prayer but how God chooses to communicate with each of us is different.  Personally, I think that because we have so much going on in our lives that our minds and bodies are constantly on the move.  This constant moving makes it difficult for us to hear God trying to communicate with us which is why it is so important for us to spend quiet moments each morning in scripture and prayer.  In order to hear God express himself to us we must slow down and make daily quiet times a priority in our lives.

Not sure if I’ve mentioned this before but recently after talking with my doctor about all of the many, many stresses in my life she suggested that I research calming techniques.  Daily relaxation, yoga, just something, anything, to help me slow down my pace.  I love yoga so that was an easy place to start.  Again, with my crazy schedule, finding the time to go presented another problem.  During my research I came across meditation.  Of course, I know what it is but I’ve never read enough to understand the benefits.  However, after researching, I learned this was something I could do without leaving my house.  Yet…that finding time thing was still an issue.  As with everything I do, I jumped in feet first.  Decided to set my clock a few minutes earlier in the morning, have my quiet time as normal and then meditate for twenty minutes.

Needless to say, this time in the morning is the absolute best part of my day.  I’ve been doing this now for a little over a month.  I am surprised by how much more relaxed and clear headed I feel when I start my day.  More importantly, this has helped me to be able to discern God’s voice a bit more clearly.  This time in the morning allows God to speak to me and prepare me for the day ahead as well as the decisions that I will need to make.  Not only am I doing something healthy for my mind but it is definitely beneficial for my body.  It’s a win-win and my doctor is happy too!

For more information on mediation, I would recommend Success Through Meditation – by Russell Simmons

 

Enjoy every day…

 

Chapter Five – God’s Word as Foundation & Filter

I really loved this chapter!

As we grow in our understanding of how to discern God’s voice from all of the other thoughts and concerns that live in our minds, the greatest key is to unlocking this source is scripture.  To know God’s word from the bible can help us build a foundation that will ultimately lead us to hear his direction for our lives much more clearly.  Knowing God’s word and how his word impacts our lives gives us the filter we need to make better choices and decisions that will lead us into the men and women God has called us to be.

When I focus attention on reading God’s word, I am able to make connections to those I am reading about and their struggles to some of the things happening in my life or in the lives of those closest to me.  No, the situations may not be exactly the same but there are similarities we can draw on that will help guide us through our own difficult times.  In Matthew 4:1-11, when Jesus was tempted, he remembered God’s word and quoted it so that he was not confused by what the tempter said.  With access to God’s word, we too have that power.

As Jesus quoted the old testament when he was tempted, the significance here is that God’s word is God’s word.  Old Testament or New, God’s word was spoken by Him and no matter where it is found in the bible it can still be applied to our lives and situations.

Unleash the power…

 

Chapter Four – God’s Voice Surprises

Faith is believing in things when common sense tells you not to. – George Stanton

When God calls for us as individuals to do certain things to fulfill his word, he may not always look for or call on the most wise, well put together, strong individual who is well versed in scripture.  He may not even call on the one considered to be the smartest or one who has been called before.  How we see ourselves and those around us is very different from how God sees us.  When God looks down at us he doesn’t see or judge us by the same light in which we judge ourselves or others. There is no one thing in particular we can do to be a worthy or qualified choice for God.  God uses a responsive and willing heart to do amazing things.

Many in the bible were surprised by God when they were called to fulfill his word.  How would you describe Moses’ reaction in Exodus 3, Jeremiah’s reaction in Jeremiah 1 or Samuel’s call in 1 Samuel 3?  Let’s not forget Jonah.  And we all know David’s story.  Each call was different.  Each responded in a different way.  Not only were these individuals surprised by God’s call, many of their families and friends were surprised as well.  Family and friends tend to remember the times when “so and so did…” or when “so and so said…”  Thank goodness God uses a different filtered lens!  God sees what he can do through us.

What’s most important is that our hearts and minds are clear enough to hear God’s voice when he calls us.  No, we may not be called to lead a church, organization or other ministry that will shine a spotlight on us for the world to see.  Our individual call may be to simply lead in our homes, teaching our children God’s word or in our community, loving our neighbors and helping in their time of need.  Then again, our call may be as simple as allowing God’s word and voice to strengthen and encourage our own faith as we struggle in our daily lives.  Whatever or however the call comes… be surprised but answer the call!

Chapter Three – God’s Voice Exposes

When God speaks, His words expose.  They reveal things about ourselves that we could not know on our own (chp. 3, pg. 16).

My grandmother used to say, “what goes on in the dark, will always come out in the light.”  I used to think she was just trying to scare us kids into always doing right or at least to be smart enough to not get caught doing something not so right.  Now that I’m a little older, a little wiser and a lot more in tune with my relationship with God I understand what my sweet grandmother was trying to get us to recognize.

When God works, he can’t work in the dark.  Things in the dark are usually hidden there for a reason.  It may be something about ourselves we don’t want anyone else to know, some secret we’ve tucked away for safe keeping, some lie we’ve told, some flaw we have, some insecurity, some something we would much rather no one else on the planet knew about.  We think as long as it is safely hidden away, no one would be the wiser.  The only problem with that is you live in constant fear of what may happen if somehow, someway that secret, dark door is opened and the real deal was exposed!  What would happen then?  So you have to always be on guard of the “Dark Door”.  Never saying too much, never letting others get too close, never quite stepping out of that comfort zone for fear of the unknown.  All the while we are being eaten alive from the inside out.

In Genesis, God separated the light from the darkness.  Even then, at the beginning of time he was revealing that the two can not coexist at the same time.  When we live in darkness, that gnawing, that tugging, that whisper in our subconscious…that’s God trying his absolute best to move us into the light.  He wants to free us from that which holds us back from living our purest, truest, most authentic selves.  He isn’t trying to “expose” us so that all the world will finally know the truth about us, that we weren’t as perfect as we pretended to be or so the people could say, “see…look, she isn’t all that!”  He is exposing our hearts to set us free!

My grandmother used to also say, “when you know better, you sho’nough ought to be doing better!”  With God, the more he exposes about us and our hearts the more it should be helping us to do and be better.  Being exposed not only draws us closer to God, but it helps us to live a truly free life.

Don’t let what’s hidden in the darkness keep you from finding peace with God…♥

Chapter Two – God’s Voice Invites

What I often find simply amazing is that, when I am studying and having my daily quiet times I am learning so much about my relationship with God and why it is so very important to maintain an authentic relationship with him. And then, just like that (snap your fingers), he opens my eyes and my heart to understand and make a connection to how his word impacts my life in the most profound ways…simply amazing!

The past few weeks have been very challenging for me but through it all I have continued working through this book study and having my daily quiet times each morning. I know how difficult it is to try to maintain your focus and daily prayer life when everything around you seems to be falling apart. Our first instinct is to shift our focus to that which seems to be getting out of control. In reading the second chapter of this book study, I am reminded of all the times during the past week when I wanted to skip my morning quiet time because there were so many other pressing things that needed my attention and I just wanted to get to them done quick, fast and in a hurry. However, I had a very strong passion to continue with my daily routine. I know I keep saying it’s amazing but it really is because in this chapter I learned that we are invited and have a wonderful opportunity to express our thoughts, cares and concerns to God and the most beautiful thing of all…he has to opportunity to share his voice with us. I love it!!!

My best friend has been a wonderful source of strength for me as I have faced these challenges the past few weeks. He has gently reminded me that everything happens for a reason and it is in those still, quiet moments with God that true understanding comes. So there is no need for me or for you to shift our focus from God to whatever challenges we may be having in our lives because it is our relationship with Him that we will get the direction and clear understanding we need of how to handle each challenge as they come. Amen.

Find your voice in God’s 🙂