Tuesday, September 23, 2008

God's Talking but am I listening?

Hi Friends,
I am posting today in response to a question Edie posed last Friday over at http://richgifts.blogspot.com (wonderful blog go see her...you'll love her like I do.)

Her question was about how we hear God. I have heard God. Not His audible voice...but I know His voice when He speaks to my spirit.

Like Chatty Kelly at http://chattykelly.blogspot.com (another good one...I love her writings and insights!) I believe the voice of God can never contradict the Word of God! So that is a litmus test for me...does this sound like the God I know from Scripture?

Henry Blackaby in his study Experiencing God (A must do Bible study!) says there are four ways God will reveal His will to us.

Through Prayer
Through Scripture
Through The church body
Through circumstances

When Experiencing God first came out, I got to spend time with Henry Blackaby and his family. A friend of mine from seminary new his family and introduced us. In fact, if you have been through the study and saw the video... then you saw me several times.
Henry was able to really clarify this for me one night as a group of us sat with him asking questions.

God is always talking to His children. We sometimes do not understand, or we miss what He is saying. He uses the above four ways in most circumstances. The first two are the most reliable when discerning God's direction. The last two, then are the least reliable. We can be fooled by the church. We have all experienced well meaning church people who have gone in a wrong direction, believing they were acting according to God. Saul was that way. Long before Saul met Jesus, he loved and served God. In fact, his persecution of the followers of Jesus came about from His devotion to what he believed was right from God. Church people can be lead away by misplaced devotion.

Circumstances can tell us God's will and direction. God has often used circumstances in my life to direct my path But this too can be unreliable if not tested against the other three.

As I was getting ready to graduate from seminary, I knew that God wanted me to continue my part-time ministry at the church I served. I also knew that I would need other housing, because I would no longer be eligible for seminary housing. As I was praying about this one afternoon my phone rang. It was one of the secretaries at the church where I worked. She asked me what my plans were after graduation. She then offered me a place to stay with her elderly aunt who needed someone to be there at night, and who could help her a little around the house. I could live there free by looking after her aunt. I said yes! I just knew this was my direct answer to prayer. However it was all circumstantial. It turned out to be one of the biggest regrets of my life! It was a nightmare for all of us. The aunt needed much more care than just someone to check in on her. She was paranoid and unstable. God used it to reveal to her family that she needed greater care, but the harm it caused with everyone involved could have been avoided if I had sought God further and not jumped at circumstances.

Most of the times I have heard God speak to me it has been through scripture. Occasionally He will speak in a soft humorous voice, so out of the blue from my own thoughts, that I know it is my Father. And sometimes it is firm and strong and to be obeyed immediately. Like this morning when my husband and I were having a small discussion. The right fighter in me wanted to correct something he said. It really was just a matter of a wrong noun, and not relevant to the discussion at hand. As I started to correct him...I heard strongly..."Quiet Pamela! Do you want to be right or have a right relationship? This is the time to be quiet my daughter. No! Do Not Speak!"
I obeyed and the discussion was soon resolved and blissful harmony restored. God gave me a wonderful husband! My wanting to be right would have hurt him and cut off the ground we had made. It was hard! I like being right.....but I love my husband more than I ever want to be right....And I LOVE MY GOD MORE THAN THAT!!!!

One of my favorite psalms is Psalm 19: 1-3
"The heavens declare the glory of God; and the firmament shows His handiwork. Day unto day utters speech, and night unto night reveals knowledge. There is no speech nor language where their voice is not heard."

He is talking...read His Word, pray and seek His face, be with His people, look outside today....He's got something to tell you! Are you listening?



Runner Mom said...

Hey, Pamela!
Great post. Experiencing God was the first Bible study I ever took--I loved it! Great insight in your words.
Love ya,

Chatty Kelly said...

Hi Pamela - thank you for mentioning me in your blog. God is so amazing, and I just love him.

I think you are so right, we need to listen, listen, listen. I am working on it right now.

Good words.

On Purpose said...

Pam...you are so wonderful! In time with God this morning, He talked so BIG and so LOUD to me that I could feel my breathing slow down...I honestly am in complete awe of how great He is. His word spoke conviction to my heart today...which could hurt...but I want God to change me, He loves me and Him changing me, means He brings me in closer to Him...so I will say it again...Bring It On! Speak Lord for your servant is listening.

Thank you Pam for your words today, for you let God speak through you to my heart!

Love to you!

Edie said...

Hi Pamela! Thank you for joining in the Random Question today and for your very kind words. I like you too! :)

I always love your insight. You are so right that God is always talking. Listenting is our first step in hearing isn't it.

I enjoyed this!

Beverly said...

WOW, that is one topic discussed in our Bible Study tonite. A quote from the video "The Word is where you will get a Word from God".

Great post. We sure missed you tonite!

Have a great week,

My ADHD Me said...

Hi. Sometimes It is hard to know which direction is God's will and which is our own. You were praying about a houseing situation and then was laid in your lap. Maybe God wanted someone at that house that wouldn't harm the lady until the family was able to recognise that see needed help.

I'm glad you didn't correct your husband. My mother used to correct my dad's English/proper nouns/verbs etc on a regular basis. As a child I always hated that she did that and would be embarrassed for him. Also, it makes the person telling the story lose interest in telling it at all.

As for the balloons...HAHA. Too funny! Funny enough that they appeared out of no where but hilarious that they ended up attached to your car. I would have loved to have seen you driving down the street!

Regina said...

Great post Pamela! It goes right along with our Bible Study. We gotta have a "meaty diet" of God's word on a regular basis in order to recognize His speaking.

We missed you last night. I hope and pray that all is well.

Zoe said...

Hey Pamela,

Thanks for your insightful post on my blog.
I enjoyed reading your today.
My husband always reminds me:
God gave us 2 ears and 1 mouth.
I should listen twice as much as I talk.

Hugs to you sweet friend,

Kimberly said...

This is terrific! And SUCH a good reminder that we need to be sure that we aren't just looking to circumstances or others! Just because something looks good and sounds good doesn't mean it's God!

And thanks for the great examples, too! I need to listen to Him more on the keeping my mouth shut thing! :) Sigh. I sure do love being right, too. But it definitely is NOT worth it!

Blessings, sweet friend! I pray your back is doing better!

Kay Martin said...

Loved this post from you. I have held onto the truth of Experiencing God since it first came out. I have taught the Bible study many times and I always get new revelations when I teach it. Today it is as needed as when it first was published. How blessed you are to know Henry personally.

Yes.......to all you said here. I get grief from folks that don't want to hear me speak of listening to God in all things, at all times. But...I believe He is here and He calls me to listen to Him!

Thanks for this encouragement.

Beverlydru said...

Well said. I saw this post earlier but wanted to come back and savor your thoughts because of the depth and importance of this subject. Thank you for expressing the truth of the matter so well.