Monday, March 5, 2007

The God Who Speaks

“I am He who speaks…Behold it is I “ (Isaiah 52:6)

While there are people who deny that God speaks today, I know that He does.
If God Himself declares that He is the God who speaks, and also says in Mal. 3:6 “for I am the Lord , I do not change.” and Heb. 6:18 tells us “it is impossible for God to lie”… then, the answer to the question must be that God definitely speaks today.
For years I had a little card on my fridge that said, “God said it , I believe it and that settles it for me.”

I believe that one of our greatest regrets on that great judgment day will be that we did not hear God more, in fact, I am afraid that we will be shocked at how often we simply tuned Him out, or listened to other voices!

On my 40th birthday I was given an Angora goat, whom I named Tasha. I learned a lot from her (mostly understanding why God calls rebellious people 'goats') but she also demonstrated to me how important it is to listen to the right voice.
Tasha was very young when I got her and so she simply transferred her dependence on her mother to me. I had to spend a lot of time with her the first weeks because she would stand and scream if she couldn’t see me. ( Do we stand and scream when we feel God is too far away ?) But during that time she got to know my voice.
Friends and family enjoyed Tasha's antics especially when we played the following game. We would be outside, with Tasha happily grazing close by and then I would sneak away and hide behind a tree or building. The others would repeatedly call out Tasha’s name , she would pay them absolutely no mind at all, pretending to be deaf. Then I would from my hiding place very softly call, “Tasha!” Instantly! her head would rear up and she would bolt in the direction of my voice to find me.
Wouldn’t it be wonderful if we were like that in response to God’s voice?
But I also found it interesting that it didn’t matter how much people tried to imitate my voice…she was never fooled.
(John 10:5) "And a stranger they will not follow, but will flee from him; for they know not the voice of strangers."
Jesus’ says, “My sheep hear My voice.” ( John 10:27) The problem is not that God does not speak, but the problem today is that many people do not discern His voice from all the false voices.

There is no other way to become confident that you hear God speak other than to first become confident in knowing His voice.
It is in studying the word that you learn to know the heart of God - how He talks and interacts with His people. Then when you know His voice because you KNOW His character , you will not be fooled by all the ‘imitation’ voices vying for your attention.
God will never speak to you anything that is contrary to His word.

If you have learned to know the voice of God in your life then you will find that He is very personal in how He communicates to you. He will use the particular bent to your personality or character and will speak in such a way that you find it easy to hear Him. And the more you listen and ‘hear’ the more ways you will find that He speaks to you . God may speak in different ways to you than He does to me …but regardless of the ‘how’ the message is given, it will always line up with the ‘what’ we find in our ‘ruler’ , the Bible.

One interesting and perhaps unusual way that God sometimes uses to speak to me is through ‘previous impressions’. I am an observer by nature but sometimes I observe something that makes , for no reason known to me, a bigger than normal impression. Then months, even years later, something will happen in my life that connects to that ‘previous impression’. Let me give you some examples.

When I was still living at home as a young teenager, my younger brother was given a Bible as an award gift from his Sunday School teacher. We attended a fairly large church at the time and I did not know everyone by name, and I did not know who his teacher was. One of my chores at the time was dusting and so every Saturday I dutifully went around the house , including my brother’s bedroom. I remember , every Saturday, I would pick up his bible lying on his dresser and would open it to stare at the signature of his teacher on the fly leaf. I don’t know why it fascinated me but it did, and I wondered what kind of person this was.
The man who signed that gift bible has for the past 42 years been my husband.

Someone invited me to go to a Women's Aglow meeting and since I had the time off work I was happy to go. The speaker was a lady whose husband was the pastor of a church I did not know nor did I remember the name of it. I really didn’t hear much of what she said, I was so preoccupied with observing her and wondering what it would be like to have her as a pastor’s wife.
A year or two later, we were looking for a church and felt impressed to attend one that was meeting in a school gym. We did not know anything about this church , nor did we know anyone who attended it. The first Sunday the pastor made his way toward us after the service and remarked, “I wonder why God sent you to our church?” He made us feel very welcome and so we continued to attend. After several Sundays, the pastor’s wife was called on to make an announcement and I gasped in surprise…. It was the same lady who had spoken at the ladies meeting ! We had a closer relationship with that pastor and wife than we ever had with any other, and are still in contact today.

About seven or eight years ago, my husband and I went for a Sunday drive. We had no particular destination in mind so just drove when where our whim took us. We ended up in a lovely mountainous area, a good hour’s drive away from our home. Suddenly , in the middle of nowhere we came upon a new little subdivision and a new elementary school. We were surprised and wondered where the children would come from to fill that school. The little community made a deep impression and I never forgot it. Today our grand daughters attend that same school, and we have moved to be close to them.

I am someone who likes to know for sure that I am where God wants me to be. When I find myself in a place that unexpectedly connects to a previous strong impression then I hear God saying, “See, I whispered to you long ago to take note, because this is where I was going to take you !”

There is nothing more exhilarating or comforting to know that God speaks to His children.
To hear the voice of God … is there a greater privilege in life?

(I came across a good article this week, written by a professor in Christianity Today
Conversation With God” )


Demara said...

I wonder if I know that Pastor and his wife? But yes impressions are so very interesting!!! I love how you saw my Mom when she was about 7 years old or so...and you two didn't even know eachother but WE met here in cyberspace 44 years later!!! I believe it is truly GOD, what an awesome God we serve!

(Since it's rather late I will have to read that article later. Talk to you then, Julie.)

Lovella ♥ said...

Some people would say those situations are just coincidence but for those of us who know how personal our Heavenly Father is, we know that he orchestrates things so beautifully, just for us.