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When God Speaks: And God Said

 
“So is my word that goes out from my mouth: It will not return to me empty,
but will accomplish what I desire and achieve the purpose for which I sent it.”
―Isaiah 55:11, NIV 

In the Scriptures, God expressed the fountain of His heart through prophetic scribes. Their writings continue to stand as a witness of His everlasting love and promises to humanity. Due to the faithful diligence of a few, the written Word of God speaks to and transforms the hearts of humankind to this day. This week, we’ll talk about hearing the voice of God through His Word and through the practice of journaling.

And God Said

“The words that I speak to you are spirit, and they are life.”
John 6:63, NKJV 

In the seventies and eighties, the stock brokerage firm E. F. Hutton aired television spots stating, “When E. F. Hutton talks, people listen.” In the commercials, the mere mention of the highly respected broker’s name in a noisy, crowded room brought every other conversation to a screeching halt as all ears turned to hear the words that would follow. Those listening expected to hear words they could rely on―words upon which they could act and from which their investments could profit.

Day_1_Photo_1_Bible-300x226The words “God said” and “Jesus said” appear in the New King James Bible 173 times. When you run across them, do you listen with expectation for the words that will follow―words from which you can profit as you put them into practice? All Scripture is God breathed, and every word He utters has an intended purpose (2 Timothy 3:16). God does not speak to hear the sound of His own voice. He speaks so that others will listen. He speaks to reveal Himself and to encourage, guide, and equip us for life.

If you have children—or have ever been a child—you know what it’s like for your words to go unheard. As parents, we sometimes feel that our children think we talk to hear our own heads roar. As children, we may feel that our parents think what we have to say isn’t important. Being heard is vital to all of us. When we know our words are heard, we feel valued and respected. When we respect and value God’s Word, we’ll listen attentively to what He has to say and put His words into practice.

God first spoke to man in the garden, and even though the Bible is complete, God hasn’t stopped talking. He has a lot more to say and invites us to converse with Him. God primarily speaks to us through Scripture, but He also reveals Himself through prayer, His creation, our circumstances, other believers, dreams and visions, and the still small voice of His Holy Spirit.

Day_1_Photo_2_Journal-300x203God does not speak to each of us the same way, nor does He speak to us the same way each time. The ways we hear Him are as creative as our God and as varied and unique as our personalities. But regardless of the way God chooses to reveal Himself, several things always remain constant: God’s spoken word never contradicts His written Word, and it always imparts life to our spirits and brings glory to God.

For me, journaling plays an important role in discerning God’s voice and receiving His words into my spirit. Drop by tomorrow as we consider the practice of journaling and the impact it can have on us.

In His Love,

Starr

Devoted to Prayer: “In Quiet Places”

 
“Devote yourselves to prayer … .”
Colossians 4:2, NASB 
“Draw near to God and He will draw near to you … .”
James 4:8 

Amazingly God doesn’t need to hear from us—He wants to. Privileged to pour out our hearts, we receive His comfort in exchange. Prayer intimately and powerfully connects us to God in every place.

 

“Devoted to Prayer: In Quiet Places”

 

“… that you, being rooted and grounded in love, may be able to comprehend with all the saints what is the breadth and length and height and depth, and to know the love of Christ which surpasses knowledge …”
Ephesians 3:17-19, NASB
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Remember My love …

After reading Ephesians 3, the truth of God’s love embraced me like a gentle hug. Though numerous responsibilities relentlessly demanded attention, the blessed peace of kneeling in God’s holy presence comforted me.  Softly He whispered, and I grabbed hold of His words with purpose—writing them down so I would indeed remember.

Drink it …

Seemingly unusual, I pondered what it meant to “drink” God’s love. Kindly the Lord flooded my mind with understanding: just as liquid seeps into our bodies and satisfies our thirst, Christ alone can satisfy our spiritual thirst. He yearns for His love to infiltrate every aspect of our being … to meet our need for love before we search for satisfaction elsewhere. He longs to be our first Love. Drink.

Breathe it …

And what did He mean by this? As daily breaths infuse our lungs with air, God wants His love to fill us … motivate us … move us. To give us life! Ardently He desires us to be rooted and grounded in His love, that we might be stable and secure. Whatever storms come our way, His love will steady us. Breathe.

Speak it …

Finally God calls us to speak of His overwhelming love. Immeasurable and divine, brought to life in the Person of His Son, the Lord Jesus Christ, love defines God. God IS love. Overarching all of His other characteristics, the enormity and reality of His love–for the sinner, the saint, the broken, and the restored—God’s love shows no partiality. It’s available for all. But some reject it. Speak.

Christ’s love exists experientially, not just as truth to know intellectually. Swiftly life rushes by, yet the Lord persistently beckons us to slow down and listen to His tender, penetrating whisper:

Remember My love. Drink it. Breathe it. Speak it.

Lord, You are the One who whispers love into my heart. Thank You for communicating so tenderly. Please lead me to quiet places where I can be still in Your presence, listening intently for Your voice. Enable me to hear and respond to Your affirmations of love along with Your Spirit’s guidance. In Your cherished name I pray, Amen.

Emily

Image courtesy of klygror www.flickr.com/photos/little-angle/2389750639/

via www.photopin.com

Devoted to Prayer: “In Desperate Places”

“Devote yourselves to prayer … .”
Colossians 4:2, NASB 
“Draw near to God and He will draw near to you … .”
James 4:8 

Amazingly God doesn’t need to hear from us—He wants to. Privileged to pour out our hearts, we receive His comfort in exchange. Prayer intimately and powerfully connects us to God in every place.

“Devoted to Prayer: In Desperate Places”

 

“In the days of His flesh, He offered up both prayers and supplications with loud crying and tears to the One able to save Him from death, and He was heard because of His piety.” Hebrews 5:7, NASB

medium_8050708619-300x198“Please, Mommy—please!” Anyone with children has heard that before, and the response often requires tremendous wisdom. Sometimes I hold the line, and other times I’m a softie mom. I find it especially hard to resist tears, which still occasionally well up in my daughter’s eyes. Either I relent or firmly maintain what’s already been determined. When I do say no, it’s usually because I believe that answer will benefit my child more in the long run.

Jesus earnestly prayed daily throughout His earthly life. Sometimes His prayers were more urgent, thus offered with wrenching cries and tears. Because of His piety (godly fear), His Father heeded His petitions. Jesus knew who held the power to grant His desires, so He withheld nothing in His honest, heartfelt requests. He always asked.

God hears our requests too. He sees the tears. He listens to our anguish. But that doesn’t mean He always gives what we want. Why?

God says no because His plans are better than our desires.

Agonizingly Jesus pleaded with His Father before He went to the cross: “Father, if Thou art willing, remove this cup from Me; yet not My will, but Thine be done” (Luke 22:42). As He prayed, He didn’t sweat normal tears—His consisted of blood. Yet His Father still said no … so hard to imagine. The perfect Man, the sinless Son labored in prayer to the “One able to save Him from death.” And He said no. Why?

Because our Father’s plan superseded saving His Son—it involved saving us. 

God’s plan existed before time began. Lovingly He determined to buy us back through His beloved Son’s blood. Generously He gave His only Son. Selfishly sinners rejected and killed Christ. But God won! Today Jesus sits at God’s right hand—offering up prayers and supplications—for us (see Rom. 8:34).

Maybe you’ve been crying to the Lord for something or someone in particular. Like Jesus, keep asking. Like Jesus, stay surrendered to God’s will. Then like Jesus, God’s perfect plan will be enacted through your life.

If God says no, we can rest in knowing His plan surpasses that desire.

Gracious Father, please empower me to always ask … and always accept Your answer. In Jesus’ holy name, Amen.

Drawing Near,

Emily

Image courtesy of Mick Amato www.flickr.com/photos/mickamato/8050708619/

via www.photopin.com