Friday, June 25, 2010

Hearing God's Voice

As promised, here are some steps you can take if you'd like to learn to hear God's voice.

1) Ask Him to speak to you. Believe He wants to. Ask Him to lead you. As a born-again believer, the Holy Spirit already dwells inside you. He longs to dialogue with you.

2) Grab a journal and get ready to write. This is an act of faith, but you’ll be glad you recorded what He said. When I was first learning to prayer journal, I used different pen (ink) colors for my own words and for God’s. Now, I use a symbol to delineate. I can easily go back to an old journal and discover His answers to my questions, or His prophetic direction/insight. It’s phenomenal when it hits me: “This could never have been me. I don’t even think like this!” Or all the things He tells me ahead of time.

3) Trust Him to speak. He wants to talk to you. Wait on Him. Listen.

"My sheep hear My voice, and I know them,
and they follow Me." ~ Jesus (John 10:27)

4) Read a passage of the Bible first. Worship. Get into His presence.

5) Don’t be in a hurry and don’t give up.

6) Ask God for discernment and keep reading His Word so you don’t get off course. Stay connected to a Bible believing body of believers (church) and be accountable. Remain teachable.

7) Be aware God’s voice will sound like your own, because He’ll use your mind and that’s the voice of your mind. (This is a new concept to people, but it’s true. Think about your own thoughts and how you hear them. They’re probably “spoken” in your own “voice.”) God is not condemning, though, so if the “voice” is condemning, it may be your own (raise your hand if you're sometimes hard on yourself), or it may be the enemy. Be careful. And always seek confirmation until you’re sure. God doesn’t mind confirming His words to His kids. He’s looking for humble followers. It’s a learning process, so keep with it.

Rejoice! God wants to speak to you!

"Everyone who is of the truth hears My voice." ~ Jesus (John 18:37d)

Sunday, June 20, 2010

The Voice of My Beloved

This summer, my husband and I will celebrate 19 years of marriage. When I’m having a bad day or worried about something, just hearing his voice calms me—helps me know I’m not alone. I can relax and know we’ll shoulder the burden together, pray about it, trust God. The voice of my earthly beloved—my husband—soothes my heart.

In July, I will have been a Christian 30 years. What an anniversary!

I remember, as a child, I had two “wishes” in my relationship with God:

One, I wanted to “feel” love for Him when I said, “I love you, Jesus.” I remember saying the words often (out of duty, I guess), but I couldn’t access any feeling when I said them for many years. God has answered that prayer.

And two, I wanted to hear Him speak to me.

When my husband and I were first married, we attended a Christian retreat where the leadership taught us how to listen for God’s voice. The teachers began by building our faith—telling us God wanted to speak to us. What a concept! Thinking back on it now, I wonder how we went so long as Christians without believing that. I knew God spoke through the Bible, but a personal, intimate dialogue with Him seemed impossible. A wish.

But as we broke from the group, having heard the teaching, we toted journals and pens to quiet places of solitude and just listened. And God spoke. What an amazing experience! I’ve never been the same. The God of the universe wants a personal relationship with me, and He will speak to me directly. (Of course, learning discernment has been a life-long process.)

How often do you take advantage of the awesome privilege it is to be able to speak to God and hear from Him directly? As I write this, I’m challenged. My schedule is hectic and though I try to keep God on my mind, in my thoughts, in my decisions, I’m so imperfect at this.

Still, the voice of my Beloved changed everything all those years ago. And He’s still changing my life today.

Next time, here on Net's Bridal Notes, I’ll share some keys to learning to hear His voice.

Tuesday, June 8, 2010

Eyes Only For God

But Stephen, full of the Holy Spirit, hardly noticed—he only had eyes for God, whom he saw in all his glory with Jesus standing at his side. He said, "Oh! I see heaven wide open and the Son of Man standing at God's side!"

I’ve been reading the book of Acts in my new Message Bible. Yum! This morning a specific line stuck out to me. “[Stephen] only had eyes for God”

That’s the way I want to live. Locking eyes on Jesus. Undistracted. Undeterred. In love.

There are a million things, pain among them, that can distract us from keeping our eyes on Jesus. But if we lock eyes with Him, and stay intentionally focused, things of this world will fade away.

Stephen knew he’d give his life as a martyr in this moment. He’d told the people their history, ending with the news “and you’re just like your ancestors who disobeyed God and missed His chosen ones, the prophets. You missed Jesus and you condemn His followers.” For that they stoned him, but in the midst of it all, he kept his eyes fixed on his Savior. And had a glorious vision, not to mention amazing courage in the midst of the stoning.

Sounds like a good example to follow.

I want to only have eyes for God.