Learning to Hear from God

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I’m waiting for that phone call from God.

Moses, the man God called to lead the Israelites out of slavery in Egypt, spoke to God face to face. Saul, who wrote much of the New Testament, met Jesus on the road to Damascus and heard Him speak audibly. How often do we wish God would communicate so directly with us? We want clear directions.

We do have detailed guidance from Him is His word, the Bible. To truly understand God and His will it’s crucial to know and comprehend Scripture. God never leads us contradictory to His word and His revelation to us is complete.

The first step to hear from God is to know the Bible well. He most often speaks to us through its message.

We don’t see God’s face but we can still talk to Him directly. We can pray anytime, anywhere, and tell Him whatever is on our hearts bringing any request to Him. He tells us to pray about everything and to ask Him for anything. (Philippians 4:6-7) That doesn’t mean He’ll always answer as we want but He’ll do what’s best.

With faith, we study and obey His word seeking Him in prayer, and He directs our steps.

What about those who say, “God told me to do such and such,” God told them how much to give, where to serve, or whom they needed to reach out to? He does speak to our hearts when we are open to Him. But how do we know when it’s Him?

The Holy Spirit moves and speaks to us as He wills. But we need to be listening with open hearts and believe it is Him by faith.

As I was singing praise to God in church one Sunday, the thought came, “I want you to come early on Sunday mornings to pray for the church.” I dismissed it because I enjoyed attending church with my husband and son. I didn’t want to get up earlier and come alone. But I heard the message again the next week and the week after that. I felt God telling me to invite others to join me each Sunday morning to pray. By the third time, I started bargaining, “What if no one else comes?” God answered, “I want you to pray even if you’re the only one.”

These were thoughts. I’ve never heard the audible voice of God. How did I know it was Him speaking? First, it was in line with His word. Second, it was persistent. I would never come up with that plan on my own. And finally, I knew it was God because He gave me the grace to follow through.

I think we make hearing from God more difficult than it needs to be. He’s always speaking to us through the Bible, nature, other believers, and in our thoughts. The problem is we’re often distracted, not listening, or avoiding His message out of fear.

We can come to Him in faith, trusting Him to speak, and knowing He is good.

Scripture tells us, “And without faith it is impossible to please Him, for whoever would draw near to God must believe that He exists and that He rewards those who seek Him.” Hebrews 11:6 ESV

In other words, when we seek Him, through prayer, meditation, and Scripture reading, we can trust He’ll reveal Himself and His will to us.

How has God spoken to you recently?

Are you willing to hear what He has to say?

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Originally published on Wholly Loved

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Peace vs. Anxiety

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S – “Therefore I tell you, do not be anxious about your life, what you will eat or what you will drink, nor about your body, what you will put on. Is not life more than food, and the body more than clothing?…And which of you by being anxious can add a single hour to his span of life?” Matthew 6:25, 27

O – Anxious – “a part as opposed to the whole” – “properly, drawn in opposite directions; divided into parts” figuratively “to go to pieces” pulled apart in different directions (https://biblehub.com/greek/3309.htm)

Luke 7:50 – Jesus told the woman to “go in peace”. “peace” – “to join, tie together into a whole. ie- when all essential parts are joined together – peace (God’s gift of wholeness) (https://biblehub.com/greek/1515.htm)

Anxiety is the opposite of peace. When we are anxious, we “go to pieces”, we are divided in mind and heart. When we are at peace, we are whole. All our pieces are joined together.

Anxiety never solved a problem, added days to a life, or accomplished anything good. Anxiety hinders our walk.

A/P – Father, please bring all my pieces together and help me to walk in peace. Help me to let go of all anxiety.

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Living in a Glass Box

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As an extremely shy, introverted, and fearful youth I often retreated into my easily controlled fantasy world. I was reluctant to open up or talk to people or didn’t know how. I’d sit in a high school classroom and fantasize about putting a glass box around myself. A place where I could read, observe, or do what I wanted unseen by others.

Unfortunately, that wasn’t a fantasy. I succeeded but my hiding resulted in the reverse of what I thought. I put myself in a box that blinded me to others. I shut myself away so I became almost unreachable.

I escaped into a self-protective mindset that caused me to avoid eye contact, especially with strangers and to engage in non-committal conversations. It caused me, as someone once told me, to be “like a knight in impenetrable armor.” I felt safe in that armor. I could look out and determine when and where to let someone in. The problem is I isolated myself and prevented others from knowing me. I developed the habit of keeping people at an emotional distance.

Thankfully, God began to open my eyes in my early twenties and He’s been helping me since to learn. I’m in my sixties and continue to see what I’ve reaped from that box. I still avoid eye contact with strangers and honestly have to be intentional about looking friends in the eye.

I’ve come a long way since high school and I’ve had some great moments over the years of opening up to others. But, I’m still learning and always will be. The awesome news is my heavenly Father loves me exactly as I am and always has. But He also loves me enough to help me change. The grace of Jesus Christ covers every moment I ever shut someone out even though I still reap consequences. His love for me is eternal and secure. In spite of my weaknesses I have a husband and a son who love and respect me, and many faithful friends and loved ones.

My prayer is that my Father will help me take a sledgehammer and smash the rest of that glass box and crush the armor to pieces.

Is it possible I can live being who I am and stop trying to manage perceptions or keep people at a distance? No one can live perfectly open and free. Hey, we’re human! But with the help of Jesus, I’m learning to walk freely knowing He loves me as I am, knows all my sin and weakness, has already covered them on the cross, and has called me to walk in freedom.

And when I’m tempted to retreat, I can remember Psalm 32:7, which says, “You” God “are my hiding place…”

I don’t need a box, a suit of armor or any other self-protective stance.

God is my hiding place.

I first published this at Jennifer Slattery Lives Out Loud

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He Cares!

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S – “Humble yourselves, therefore, under the mighty hand of God so that at the proper time he may exalt you, casting all your anxieties on him, because he cares for you.” 1 Peter 5:7

O – Humble yourself – bring low, submit, do not resist, as opposed to lifting yourself up or demanding your way or resisting His will. Submit willingly to Him and His will for you. Humble yourself under His mighty hand (knowing He has all power and that He will bless you) and
cast – throw, let go of all at once, your anxieties (fears, worries) throw it on Him – get rid of them. Throw them like a hot potato into His capable hands. BECAUSE He cares for you. He loves you. He cares about every worry. He can take care of you.

A – He cares for me. He CARES for me! The Almighty, All-Powerful, Creator, God of the universe cares for ME. Words cannot express what that means. That is everything. I want to throw all my worries onto Him. He is able to take care of me.

P – Thank you Dear Father for loving me. Thank you that you care. I love you so much!

SOAP Bible Study

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Perfected Forever

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S – “For by a single offering he has perfected for all time those who are being sanctified.” Hebrews 10:14

O – When Jesus offered Himself as a sacrifice for our sins, that was a one time offering. Unlike the animal sacrifices (which had no power and only served as a picture of what was to come), the sacrifice of Jesus was a one time offering that perfected those being sanctified (all believers in Jesus) forever. Forever!

A – I believe in Jesus Christ. I know He lived a perfect life, died for me, rose again, and will return one day. Because I believe in His offering, I am perfected forever! My sins are washed away. When I sin now (and I will sin as long as I’m in this flesh), those sins are already paid for. My eternal future is secure in His hands and no one can take me away from Him. Because I believe in Him, His Spirit lives in me and He is working to sanctify me. To make me more like Jesus. I will be a work in progress until the day I see Jesus in heaven. These things are true for all who will believe in Him.

P – Father, thank you for the sacrifice of Jesus! Thank you that I belong to you. Please open the eyes of anyone who reads these words so they will believe in you.

 

SOAP Bible Study method

 

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Use Your Shield

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August 10, 2018 · 9:17 pm

Who Does God Notice With Pleasure?

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S“…These are the ones I look on with favor: those who are humble and contrite in spirit, and who tremble at my word.” Isaiah 66:2

O – Humans may think in terms of impressing God with their great sacrifices or righteous lives but He looks for the one who is humble and contrite (literally means lame in the feet; dejected) and who trembles at His word (who is reverent and acknowledges the holiness of God). Who am I to stand before a holy God? Contrite in spirit – lame in spirit as lame in the feet. Being lame brings humility. To be humble before God is to acknowledge that He is great and I am not; He is holy and all-powerful; I am at His mercy. Yes, in Christ and because of Christ we come boldly to the throne but still in humility. Still acknowledging that apart from His holiness, we deserve death.

A – Do I tremble at His word? Do I realize the amazing gift it is that our Holy, Perfect God would allow me to read His Word? Because of Jesus, I who am a sinner, I who am unclean can come to my Father wrapped in the Holiness and Purity of Jesus Christ. That is the best news ever! Praise His holy name.

P – Father, please cleanse my heart of any arrogance and pride. I stand before you covered by the grace of the Lord Jesus but apart from Him I am a sinner, impure, unclean, unworthy. Please help me walk with a humble and contrite spirit. Help me to always tremble at your word.

How do I do the SOAP Bible Study method?

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