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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

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/

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