C.S. Lewis said, “God whispers to us in our pleasures, speaks to us in our conscience, but shouts in our pains: It is His megaphone to rouse a deaf world”

When things are going well, He often speaks in a whisper and we have to listen closely.  How do you know if it is God speaking to your conscience or if it is bad pizza from the night before?  I won’t tell you that it is always easy, but I’ll give a few guidelines that I believe will help you distinguish between the two.

Before you begin seeking God’s will, make sure your heart is in a position to do WHATEVER God says.  It’s important to decide that before asking God for His will.

Next, ask yourself if one of the options or possibilities are in disagreement with the Bible’s teachings.  (This assumes that you have to be reading the Bible and learning so you can know it’s teachings.)

For example, if you see three options and one of them calls on a little white lie, go ahead and mark that one off.  It is NOT God’s will even if it is the easy option or most attractive to you.

If you still have two options and you aren’t feeling God’s leading strongly towards one of them, remember that God also speaks through the “Church.”  (The “Church” is the people, not a building.)

Don’t ask everyone you know for their opinion.  Go to a few trustworthy, wise, godly people that care about you and explain the situation.  God can sometimes make things a bit clearer by talking to other people that love Him and you.

You can also look at the circumstances.  Once again, you have to interpret the circumstances through the Bible.  It’s not always a “given” that you take the most attractive option that presents itself.

If the options are:

  1. Take a high paying job.
  2. Keep the job that you have.

God may want you to stay at your present job to reach someone.  That’s where listening to God is more important than a knee jerk decision to the most attractive option that seems to present itself.

If you have sincerely prayed, “God, I’ll do WHATEVER You ask me to do” and you have really sought His will through the Bible, prayer, circumstances, and the Church, and you don’t feel like He is saying “wait,” then make the best decision that you can.

I really believe if you “delight yourself in the Lord, that He will give you the desires of your heart.”  After going through all of these steps with a sincere heart, make a choice and don’t look back.

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Shut Up and Listen!

December 21, 2012

Most Christ followers would say that their prayer life is not what they feel like it should be.  While saying this, they have in mind that they aren’t TALKING to God enough.

Jesus had a specific time in the morning while it was still dark when He went by himself to a quiet place to pray.  We probably picture Jesus pouring out His heart to God as He prayed.  I think that is one thing that He did during this time, but I also believe He was simply quiet during this time too.

Have you ever been in a relationship where the other person did all the talking and you couldn’t get a word in anywhere?  Maybe they didn’t seem to care about what you had to say?  You just want to staple their lips together!

If you’re in a relationship with God, He isn’t only interested in hearing the shopping list of the things that you want Him to do.  He wants time to speak too.  Most Christ followers say they want to hear from Him but won’t be still and shut their own mouth long enough for Him to say anything.

Psalm 46:10 says, “Be still and know that I am God.”  Other versions says, “Cease striving and know that I am God.”

Sometimes we need to sit and listen!

How does God speak?  Henry Blackaby teaches that God speaks to us mainly in 4 ways.  He speaks through the Bible, through prayer, circumstances, and through the church.

Let’s look at the first way that I mentioned.  God speaks to us through the Bible.  For example, if you are a Christ follower and haven’t been baptized, you don’t need to ask Him if you should be baptized.  He’s already told you to do that in the Bible!  Just DO IT!

If you are holding a grudge against family member or an old business associate, you need to forgive them!  The only prayer that you need to pray regarding forgiving is perhaps for the strength to follow through on forgiving them.  Don’t even ask if you should forgive them.  (That’s another subject, but if you’re interested further in forgiveness, try:  https://eddiepoole.wordpress.com/2012/04/19/she-cant-forgive-him/)

Sometimes God only gives us one step at a time.  If He’s revealed to us that we need to spend more time with Him and we haven’t done that, he may not tell us anything more until we do the last thing that He’s told us to do.

Pray about your next step with God, shut up, and LISTEN.   When he reveals that step, TAKE THE STEP.  THEN ask for the next one.  

Westboro Baptist Church

God gets the blame for ALOT of dumb things that humans do.  Jim Jones had people drink poison Kool Aide because “God” told him to do that.  “God” regularly tells the Westboro Baptist Church “Wackos” to protest at funerals of our country’s heros.    I’ve heard of pediphiles say that “God” told them to molest the kids that they harmed.  Did God REALLY tell these FRUITCAKES to do those things?  How do we know?

Sometimes my wife will speak a sentence to me and I know EXACTLY what she means because I’ve known her since college and we’ve been married long enough to have a 19 year old child.  I understand where she’s coming from.

I also have a couple of old friends that come to my church.  Sometimes we might say something in reference to an adventure that we had in our college years and the other one will “get it”.  Other friends standing nearby may hear the same words but won’t “get it” until we explain what we meant.

What makes that understanding possible when such few words are exchanged?

We understand each other.  We have a history with each other.  We also know the personality, passions, and hearts of each other.

Hearing God is like that too.  That’s why it is SO important to know His word when listening to Him.

I once had someone tell me that it must be God’s will that they continue the affair that they were having with a married man.  They had prayed, “God, take these feelings that I have for him away.”  When the feelings didn’t leave, she reasoned that it must be God’s will for them to be together.

She would never had thought along those lines if she had known God better through the pages of the Bible.  If you think you’re hearing from God. there is a test to measure it by.

If what you’re hearing conflicts with clear instructions in His Word or His character, it’s not God.

The 66 books of the Bible tell us what God is like.  We learn His passions, what He loves, and even some things that he doesn’t like very much.  The Bible tells us things that we shouldn’t be involved in if we want to know Him.  It even gives us some instructions on how to know God’s heart.

It’s hard to hear and understand someone that you don’t know very well.  It’s also hard to understand what someone means when you don’t know their background.

If you’re REALLY interested in hearing from God, get to know Him through the Bible. Then when He speaks, you will be prepared to better understand Him.

He will also speak to you through the Bible when you prayerfully read it in the quiet.  Make a habit of it!

Sometimes I wish I could just pick up the phone and call God like I can my friends.  When I want to do His will but I’m just not sure what His will is, that can be frustrating!

Then, when you start hearing Him speak, do you ever begin doubting and wondering if it’s just bad broccoli from the night before?  Maybe it’s just me.  lol

5 Reasons We May Not Hear From God:

1.  You Don’t Belong to Him:  

This is a tough one to start out with but I didn’t write the book.

“Whoever belongs to God hears what God says. The reason you do not hear is that you do not belong to God.” John 8:47

People aren’t born Christians.  Being an America doesn’t make you a Christian.

Growing up in a Christian family doesn’t make you a Christian & God doesn’t have grandkids.

If you don’t belong to God, you won’t hear Him speak.  Each person has to make the decision by himself as to if he will follow Christ.

A  person that wants to hear from God should ask themselves if they have ever given their lives to God, through Christ, and accepted His forgiveness of sin.

2.  Sin In Your Life:  

“If I had been cozy with evil, the Lord would never have listened. But He most surely did listen, He came on the double when He heard my prayer.” Psalm 66:18-19  The Message

If God has been telling you that there is sin in your life and you won’t listen to Him, the next time you talk to Him, guess what He’s likely to say?  He’s going to remind you about the sin.

“If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just and will forgive our sins.”

1 John 1:9

3.  Mistreat Your Wife:  

Husbands, in the same way be considerate as you live with your wives, and treat them with respect as the weaker partner and as heirs with you of the gracious gift of life, so that nothing will hinder your prayers.”  1 Peter 3:7

What does this mean?  God won’t hear your prayer if you mistreat your wife.  God is serious about loving her as Christ loved the church.  (NOTE:  Christ gave His life for the church.)

4.  Lack of Quiet:  

“Be Still and Know that I am God”  Psalm 46:10

Life gets too loud.  There are alot of voices telling you what to do all day long.

-Radio

-Television

-Kids

-Boss

If we want to get hear God’s heart, we have to find time to shut off all of the noise so we can hear God’s voice.

HE USUALLY DOESN’T SHOUT.  

You have to really take time to listen.

5.  We Forget the Poor  

Whoever shuts their ears to the cry of the poor will also cry out and not be answered.”  Proverbs 21:13

This is a barrier that people don’t usually think about.  Proverbs is really clear here.  God won’t be speaking to us if we only think of ourselves and not those who aren’t as fortunate.  God is serious about showing compassion to others too.  Be a jerk to the poor and He won’t hear your cries.

God wants to communicate with us.  He took drastic measures to make that possible when He sent His only Son to die in our place.  Communicating with Him must take place on His terms and not ours.  He is serious about this following Jesus thing.

I’m sure there are other barriers that may keep a person from hearing from God.   This list challenges me.  Does it challenge anyone else?