Let God Speak
Diane Markins, Author, 1.cbn.com.
Does your prayer time seem a little lack-luster on occasion? I know mine does. God wants to hear from us. He expects us to show up and delights in the minutes we give solely to him. But once in a while it starts to feel a bit contrived and obligatory… going through the motions.
When this happens to me, I change things up. I let God speak to me, through me. Yeah, I know… you’re thinking, “What did she just say?”
When I’ve done the usual: praising, examining my life, sharing it all with the Lord and still feel like I’m in the room alone – I try letting Him talk to me. Based on many years of reading the Bible and getting to know God’s ways, I speak out loud to me as though Jesus were uttering the words. If we follow what it says in Philippians 2:5, this becomes second nature:
“Your attitude should be the same as that of Christ Jesus.”
It may sound a little wacky, but there have been times God has revealed a deep truth, brought renewed joy, increased my faith, and healed my wounded spirit through my own voice using His mind. 1 Corinthians 2:16 says,
“For who has known the mind of the Lord that he may instruct him? But we have the mind of Christ.”
I simply give voice to what I believe God is telling me through His word.
But what if you don’t have the time or place to be alone and share a verbal dialog with God? Write a letter from the Lord to you. It seems that just the right measure of encouragement, wisdom, conviction, and peace will begin to appear on the paper as you allow your Father to speak intimately to you.
This is an example:
My precious child,
I am here. You are not alone. I have held you in my hands for all of the days of your life. I will move mightily and you will be amazed. Do not fear, do not doubt, trust in me and know that I am God. Be patient, I am working things you will never understand, and I am.
Dear one, turn your heart to me, and remember that I am not against you. I find you in my favor and because of where you are I will be able to move mountains. Do not question me, but allow me to work in my way in my timing. (Reprinted with permission from Ally Johnson.)
Your words may not be as beautiful or poetic as Ally’s but they will reflect yourpersonality and God’s heart; the message a very private one, for your eyes only.
If you’re new to this journey of Christian faith and maybe don’t know too much about God’s character or what He might say to you, dig in and begin finding out. Maybe a book of Bible promises will help jump-start the process.
While the Lord cherishes hearing our praises and requests, He also longs to speak to us, saying exactly what we need to hear.
Have you ever noticed that children have selective hearing—the convenient ability to tune out an adult’s voice? Sometimes, if they don’t like what’s said, they ignore it. On other occasions, they may be so absorbed in their own activities that their minds don’t register the words. An adult is speaking, but you would never know it by the child’s response.
At times we behave the same way toward our heavenly Father, don’t we? Today the Lord speaks to us through His Word, just as He always has. The Bible contains the complete revelation of God; it was written by men who were under the control of the Holy Spirit (2 Timothy 3:16). If we are inattentive to the Scriptures, then we have turned away from God’s voice.
But if we open His Word, we will hear what He wants to say to us. Sometimes He speaks words of admonishment and correction, but He’ll also assure us of His love. When we spend time fellowshipping with God in His Word, our relationship with Him deepens. And as He expresses His love to us, we love Him in return.
From Scripture, we also receive direction for our life (Jer. 29:11). Although the world, our own selfish nature, and Satan clamor for us to choose their ways, God provides us with His wisdom to make right decisions.
The Bible offers God’s comfort and hope, which we desperately need in our trials, failures, humiliations, and sorrows. And His Holy Spirit helps us understand and obey whatever He says. God is still speaking, but in order to benefit, we must listen.
How much more will your Father in Heaven give good gifts to those who ask Him! — Matthew 7:11
No one wants to spend Thanksgiving Day in the ICU. Especially not a girl who has long claimed it’s her favorite holiday. But last year I did exactly that.
After a difficult, daylong surgery to remove two-thirds of my tongue and the cancer lurking inside, doctors sent me to the intensive care unit to guard against further complications. I appreciated their attention to detail, valued their concern. But spending Thanksgiving in the hospital wasn’t my idea of a festive holiday celebration.
While the rest of America carved up turkeys and served up thick slices of pie, I lay in a hospital room enjoying a delicious IV drip. I wasn’t allowed to eat or drink, not even ice chips. Instead, I listened to the sounds of nurses celebrating the holiday from their station. I smelled hints of a holiday meal being whipped up in the hospital cafeteria. Even with my door closed, I couldn’t escape the constant reminders of all I was missing.
It’s hard for a girl not to feel sorry for herself when faced with such a day. I remember looking out my window at the quiet Denver streets, imagining the memories being made inside so many cozy homes. With each beep of my many lifesaving devices, with each twinge of hunger in my stomach, I felt farther and farther away from the holiday.
Thanksgiving is about gratitude for God’s blessings, for good food, sweet relationships, and laughter. Alone in a hospital room, I enjoyed none of the above.
Captive to my circumstances, I wrestled with questions I couldn’t resolve. What if I’d never gotten sick? What if the doctors had followed a different plan? What if… What if… What if? Those were the questions on which I feasted that Thanksgiving Day. And with each question, I felt more and more sick. Like bars of a cell, the what-if’s penned me in, interfering with my ability to practice gratitude.
At times I wonder how Paul — once named Saul — managed to live without the what-if’s. In all of his New Testament writings, I don’t hear him pining away about what might’ve been. I don’t read any self-loathing for his years of misdirected zeal. I don’t see him griping about his hardships or whining about his pain. I’m sure he had his hard moments. He was human, after all, and had plenty of reasons to play the victim. Still, he didn’t look at his life as a series of unfortunate events.
I count all things to be loss in view of the surpassing value of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord, for whom I have suffered the loss of all things, and count them but rubbish so that I may gain Christ, and may be found in Him. — Philippians 3:8-9 NASB
You see, blessedness is more a matter of perspective than a change of circumstance. Paul understood this, after enduring far more pain and persecution than one person should have to endure. This makes his words in 2 Corinthians 4:16-18 both hard-earned and profound:
Therefore we do not lose heart. Though outwardly we are wasting away, yet inwardly we are being renewed day by day. For our light and momentary troubles are achieving for us an eternal glory that far outweighs them all. So we fix our eyes not on what is seen, but on what is unseen, since what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal.
Paul didn’t catalog his losses, he counted his gains. And his greatest reason for thanksgiving — among many others — was the fact that Jesus had found him, a proud, sinful, self-righteous man. And in spite of his ugly history, God granted him a future glory. It took me a couple of days to pull myself out of my hospital-induced self-pity. It’s not my favorite Thanksgiving memory, but it’s by far the most powerful one.
It was a day when my earthly treasure was taken away. In its place I held nothing but Jesus. A Thanksgiving-worthy gift, indeed.
I still have days when I struggle to celebrate Thanksgiving. It’s not always easy to fix my eyes on what I cannot see. But if the ugliness in my story leads me to the feet of Christ, then my legacy is a beautiful and blessed thing indeed. The story I long to change is the same story that brought me to an enduring knowledge of the God who rescued me. In releasing the vision of what could have been, I’m finally able to see what God has done. And continues to do.
In the letting go of losses, you and I finally see what we’ve gained. We may lose the world, but we’ve gained the maker of it.
Pardon for sin and a peace that endureth,
Thine own dear presence to cheer and to guide;
Strength for today and bright hope for tomorrow,
Blessings all mine, with ten thousand beside!
“Great is Thy faithfulness!”
“Great is Thy faithfulness!”
Morning by morning new mercies I see;
All I have needed Thy hand hath provided —
“Great is Thy faithfulness,” Lord, unto me!
~ Thomas Obediah Chisholm, “Great Is Thy Faithfulness”
Streams in the Desert – November 24
Mrs. Charles Cowman, Author
Times have changed, but life’s hard times haven’t
Be still, and know that I am God (Ps. 46:10).
Is there any note of music in all the chorus as mighty as the emphatic pause? Is there any word in all the Psalter more eloquent than that one word, Selah (Pause)? Is there anything more thrilling and awful than the hush that comes before the bursting of the tempest and the strange quiet that seems to fall upon all nature before some preternatural phenomenon or convulsion? Is there anything that can touch our hearts as the power of stillness?
There is for the heart that will cease from itself, “the peace of God that passeth all understanding,” a “quietness and confidence” which is the source of all strength, a sweet peace “which nothing can offend,” a deep rest which the world can neither give nor take away. There is in the deepest center of the soul a chamber of peace where God dwells, and where, if we will only enter in and hush every other sound, we can hear His still, small voice.
There is in the swiftest wheel that revolves upon its axis a place in the very center, where there is no movement at all; and so in the busiest life there may be a place where we dwell alone with God, in eternal stillness.
There is only one way to know God. “Be still, and know.” “God is in his holy temple; let all the earth keep silence before him.”
“All-loving Father, sometimes we have walked under starless skies that dripped darkness like drenching rain. We despaired of starshine or moonlight or sunrise. The sullen blackness gloomed above us as if it would last forever. And out of the dark there spoke no soothing voice to mend our broken hearts. We would gladly have welcomed some wild thunder peal to break the torturing stillness of that over-brooding night.
“But Thy winsome whisper of eternal love spoke more sweetly to our bruised and bleeding souls than any winds that breathe across Aeolian harps. It was Thy ‘still small voice’ that spoke to us. We were listening and we heard. We looked and saw Thy face radiant with the light of love. And when we heard Thy voice and saw Thy face, new life came back to us as life comes back to withered blooms that drink the summer rain.”