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When God Speaks: Hold On for the Ride

 
“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.

 

Hold On for the Ride

 

“Pile your troubles on God’s shoulders—he’ll carry your load, he’ll help you out.”
 Psalm 55:22, MSG

Day_4,_Photo_1,_WagonAs a child, I loved to pile my favorite dolls and stuffed animals into my little red wagon, plop myself in the middle of them, and charm my father into pulling me around. It was a lot more fun than pushing or pulling someone myself.

“Hold on! Here we go,” he’d warn.

With his big strong arms and long strides, he’d lean forward pulling me up the gravel drive in my wagon piled high with toys. The ride was bumpy, but it only added to the adventure. When he turned at the end of the drive, I’d squeal, “Faster, Daddy, faster!” Then with the breeze brushing my face, I’d open my mouth wide and say, “Ahhhhh,” just so I could hear the vibration of my voice as the wagon bounced along the gravel.

The fun was always over much too soon―much faster than when I was the one doing the pushing or pulling.

When was the last time you were simply along for the ride? There are times when God requires us to participate in our circumstances, asking us to draw upon his strength as we push or pull through. At other times, he asks us to relax in the process and wait on His timing.

Positioning myself in the presence of my Father through journaling helps me to discern my role as I travel through rocky situations. To pause and write out my concerns as I lift them up to the Lord helps fix my focus on Day_4,_Photo_2,_CupHim as I seek the answers I need. As I read in His Word of His marvelous works and His love for me, I’m reminded that my trials pale compared to His unmatched ability to carry my load and pull me through.

If you’ve never tried journaling, are you ready to give it a whirl? Grab a cup of coffee or tea and find a cozy place to curl up. Then, with a pretty journal and your Day_4,_Photo_3,_Write_Journalfavorite pen, write away. After you pour out your heart, don’t forget to listen for God’s voice. Give Him time to speak. Pull out the Word or a cherished devotional. As you study, listen for key words that leap off the page, phrases that relate to what you’ve written, or a running theme. Above all, pay attention to the gentle tug of the Holy Spirit upon your heart. If you fail to get clarity or receive peace concerning your issue, continue daily to bring your petitions to God and trust in His timing.

Until then―hop in! There’s room in my wagon for you.

“Faster, Daddy, faster!”

“I will be your God throughout your lifetime–until your hair is white with age. I made you, and I will care for you. I will carry you along and save you.”
Isaiah 46:4, NLT  

In His Love,

Starr

When God Speaks: Write It Down

 
“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.

 

Write It Down

 

“Now go and write down these words. Write them in a book. They will stand until the end of time as a witness.”
Isaiah 30:8, NLT

Day_3,_Photo_1,_White_JournalThe older I get, the more I need to write things down. I’ve even written appointments on my calendar and missed them because I forgot to look. When I write something down but fail to take it to heart, its presence upon the page is a witness against me: I’m without excuse. However, when I write something down and live by it, my life is the witness and no excuses are necessary.

As a believer, I want to be a positive witness for Christ. I may think my life isn’t noteworthy, but the accounts I write of God’s faithfulness through my joys and hardships can serve as a great source of inspiration and hope for me as well as those I love.

I recently came across my childhood journal. I find it amusing that there are only four lines allotted for each day’s entry. Since my social calendar was even more abbreviated then, I was able to stay within the allotted space and managed to pack parts of two years within its covers. Most of my entries are run-of-the-milltrips to Day_3,_Photo_2,_Drawer_of_Journalsthe grocery store with my parents, catching ten minnows in the creek with a friend, the combination to my school locker. However, tucked among the predictable details was a catastrophic event that changed the course of history and halted my age of naivety―November 22, 1963, the assassination of President John F. Kennedy. In spite of subsequent empty pages, that was the final entry in my girlhood journal.

I resumed journaling in the late eighties and now have drawers of journals spanning several decades. They shelter predictable as well as unpredictable portions of my life. As I look back through their pages, I’m reminded of God’s faithfulness and encouraged as I face new challenges. I know that what God did before, He can do again.

Day_3,_Photo_3,_Blue_JournalMost of us approach life with a preconceived idea of how we want things to turn out. When life takes an unexpected turn, it’s easy to get discouraged. Journaling helps me step back and gain God’s perspective as I focus on His goodness instead of my circumstances.

A good way to begin journaling is to write a letter to God. Water doesn’t flow from a faucet that is turned off. Someone must turn it on. Words that start as a trickle soon develop into phrases that expand into paragraphs and flow into pages. As you pour out your thanksgiving, praise, confessions, and petitions, your words will open up a pipeline of communication. Once you’ve written your letter, wait for God’s reply. Then write it down.

Are you ready to get started? Grab a journal and pen and let’s meet here tomorrow.

“Speak [Lord], your servant is listening.”
1 Samuel 3:10, NIV  

In His Love,

Starr

When God Speaks: Heart to Heart

 
“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.

 

Heart to Heart

“Samuel was lying down in the temple, where the ark of God was. Then the Lord called Samuel. Samuel answered, ‘Here I am.’”
1 Samuel 3:3–4, NIV

Day_2_Photo_1_TV_Tower-203x300We have a small television in our bathroom that operates off of an air antenna. One morning, I was getting ready at the sink and my movements got in the way of the signal. Right away, the screen went black, and the words “Failed to receive broadcast popped up in large letters. As soon as I stepped to one side, the broadcast resumed.

That morning, God used an interrupted signal to connect me to Him. He reminded me of how constant activity hinders the reception of His voice. When I crowd my schedule with my own programs, I’m unable to receive His plans for me. God’s solution was simple: “Step out of the way of My signal and realign your heart with Mine.”

Journaling is a tool I use to connect with God. Contemporary author Donald S. Whitney expressed it like this: “A journal is a place where we give expression to the fountain of our hearts, where we can unreservedly pour out our passion before the Lord.” Within my journals, I record significant events, tape special cards and photos, sort through my thoughts, and process my feelings. But above all, my journals are a safe place to pour out the contents of my heart to God and record His words to me.  Day_2,_Photo_2,_Journaling

The process of hearing God’s voice is not as complicated as one may think. Anyone can hear God speak provided you’ve fulfilled one essential prerequisite―entering into a personal relationship with God. When we acknowledge our sin and our need for a Savior, we can confess our sin to God and receive His gift of salvation through the death and resurrection of His Son, Jesus Christ. The Holy Spirit then comes to dwell within us. It’s His presence in our hearts that enables us to hear the voice of God.

Aside from accepting Christ as Savior, another step to hearing the voice of God is to show up. Just as young Day_2,_Photo_3,_CrossSamuel in today’s text positioned himself near the ark of God in the temple, we also must position ourselves in God’s presence. It sounds simple enough, but relentless distractions creep in and attempt to crowd out our intended time with Him. If we persist in our commitment to focus our hearts and minds on Christ through regular times of Bible study and prayer, our ability to discern God’s voice will increase.

Tomorrow, we’ll resume our journaling discussion, but for now, if you’ve never acknowledged Jesus Christ as your Savior, I pray you’ll make the decision to do so. Even now, God is calling your name. Respond as Samuel did: “Here I am.”

“If you declare with your mouth, ‘Jesus is Lord,’ and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved. For it is with your heart that you believe and are justified, and it is with your mouth that you profess your faith and are saved.”
Romans 10:9–10, NIV  

In His Love,

Starr