Tuesday, February 11, 2014

I'm listening…..

How many of you want to hear from God? Show of hands….
….I think that makes all of us.
I don't know about you, but sometimes I feel seriously out of the loop, even envious, of my husband who produces sermon after sermon, and gets these great word pictures and nuggets from God.
And then there's me.
Now, don't get me wrong, I hear from God; a feeling in my gut, an intuition, a song that comes on the radio at just the right time, or a scripture read 'at random' exactly when I need it. I know that's God.

Sometimes, though, when I'm in the very front room of my house at dark-thiry in the morning so I can turn a light on without waking anyone up, coffee-less because the Keurig is really loud, I sit and read my Bible and pray, waiting for this sweet moment with God, an epiphany He's saving just for me, a proverbial burning bush, and….nuthin.
Hello? God? I'm here. I'm listening…..whenever you're ready….lay it on me.
Anytime.
Anytime at all.

Do you ever feel that way?

Peter says in Acts 10, that God shows no partiality to any group of people over another. He doesn't like your pastor husband more than he likes you. 
Acts 10:34-35 -- So Peter opened his mouth and said: "Truly I understand that God shows no partiality, but in every nation anyone who fears him and does what is right is acceptable to him." (ESV)

God speaks to His children. All of us. 
He spoke to them in the Bible, and He speaks to us now in so many different ways, too many to list out right now.

So, what is it that keeps us from hearing Him?


Here are 3 big things that can keep us from hearing from the Lord.


1) Unconfessed sin
This, to me, is the obvious one.
Psalm 66:18 -- "If I had cherished sin in my heart, the Lord would not have listened."(NIV)
Of course some sin is just blatant disregard for God's holiness, but what about when you feel like you're 'doing ok?' (See what I did there with the 'quotes'. We are truly imperfect people.)
When my kids were younger, I would sometimes wake up in the middle of the night and just feel that there was someone near me, not my husband. Sure enough, I would open my eyes and there would be this little face mere inches from mine. Seriously. So creepy. Sin can do that, little by little. One day we open our eyes and there it is, having snuck up on us without even realizing it.
Psalm 139:23-24 -- "Search me, O God, and know my heart; test me and know my anxious thoughts. Point out anything in me that offends you, and lead me along the path of everlasting life."(NLT) Even if you think you're 'doing ok,' examine your heart, and ask the Lord to reveal any area to you that maybe you're overlooking, or minimizing. Ouch. I might have just stepped on my own toes.

2) Absence of reverence
This one hit me. Like a dodgeball. To the face.
In Jen Hatmaker's book Tune In she points out that we are called God's temple; 1 Corinthians 3:17 -- "God's temple is sacred, and you are that temple."(NIV) She also points out that God's original purpose for the Holy Place (aka the sacred temple) is clearly stated in Exodus 29:42 -- "There I will meet you and speak to you."(NIV) So if the temple was originally intended as a place for God to meet with His people and speak to them, and through Jesus Christ we are now that sacred temple. Am I living that out? Do the ins and outs of my life reflect awe, reverence, and adoration for God?

"Your life is that Holy Place. A place of worship and purity, sacrifice, and glory. A place of daily offerings and praise. Jesus changed its location, not its sanctity. Just because worship became more accessible does not make it less sacred. Our freedom was never meant to become our complacency."
-Jen Hatmaker


3) He's growing you
The first two reasons are on us. This one is different. Sometimes God's silence is not because of something we have or haven't done. It's simply to create in us a hunger for him. And, my friend, if we hunger for him, we will be filled. Matthew 5:6 -- "Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they will be filled."(NIV) I love the Message translation of this verse, too. It says, "You're blessed when you've worked up a good appetite for God. He's food and drink in the best meal you'll ever eat." God just wants us to have a healthy appetite for him. An article from Relevant Magazine puts it perfectly.

"Think about you own appetite for a moment. When you're full, it's easy to be choosy in your selection of what you want to eat. Sometimes we come to God and we are already full. We are full of our own ideas and our own plans. We pray to Him not for His presence, but for things we "need" answers for and the specific answers we want. We pray 'accomplish my will, God' not 'accomplish your will.' Ask yourself this: do you want God, or do you want God to do something?"


I think so often we sit still and wait for God to 'speak to us.' All the while he's saying. "I gave you a whole freaking book!!" OK, so he doesn't say it quite that way. That's how I say it. But we have His Word and it's chock-full of stuff He's said to us.

Micah 6:8 -- No, O people, the Lord has told you what is good, and this is what he requires of you: to do what is right, to love mercy, and to walk humbly with your God. (NLT)

James 1:27 -- Religion that God our Father accepts as pure and faultless is this: to look after orphans and widows in their distress and to keep oneself from being polluted by the world. (NIV)

Luke 10:27 -- The man answered, "'You must love the Lord your God with all your heart, all your soul, all your strength, and all your mind.' And, 'Love your neighbor as yourself.'" (NLT)


God speaks in so many different ways. I'm reading/working thru Tune In by Jen Hatmaker (I mentioned it in reason #2). Now, before you go all 7th grade girl on me, "What?!? Jen has a new book I haven't hear about?!?" It's actually one of the first Bible studies she wrote. 2006. Old school. It's making me more aware of God at work around me, and the ways He wants to communicate with us. He's so much bigger than the box I'm all too often guilty of putting Him in. 
So, with all that said, I would like to announce (drumroll…………) a blog giveaway!!! Yay!!!
I want to bless someone with a copy of this book.


I know there are tens of people that are reading each week, and I thank you all for your kind words on Allen's Facebook page, where he so faithfully shares my weekly blog posts. (You're the best, babe.) However, this will require you to leave a comment on here

Tell me how you best hear from God. Thru His Word? Thru other believers? Thru prayer? Music? What's your sweet spot. OR tell me what you've been hearing from Him lately. 

It's not hard. I believe in you. Make it happen!
I'll pick a winner at random with one of those generator thingies, and post the results on Friday. 

I look forward to hearing from you!!!!



17 comments:

Karen Lambert said...

All of the above......over my life, I believe that God uses whatever method He knows we will respond to at the exact time we need it. Not when we WANT it, but when we NEED it. He is GOD after all and He knows exactly what we need.

Victoria Slayton said...

Music has always been a big way that God speaks to me and refocuses me!

Jennifer Kindle said...

I hear best in the wee, coffee-less hours because the keurig is too loud. I hear through praying as i pray through Scripture. Its there where he affirms what he has already promised and has called me to do.

Jeff Boyd said...

Not for entry in the contest, but just to express appreciation for this amazing word! Thanks for sharing your heart.

sara said...

I agree with Karen that God will use whatever method will get my attention at the moment. But lately I have heard more from Him through His Word and from digging deep in it.

Shelly C said...

this is a hard question to answer because I'm walking through the desert so much right now, thankfully he's blessing me with oases (yes, I had to look up the plural) sometimes they are just mud holes, a quick Word, a song on the radio, my kids smiles, and sometimes they are lush green gardens like the past two weekends but I know I'm not allowed to just stay there, he's got something he's trying to show me and it's going to require more time plodding along. I am so ready to get beyond this time though and be able to spend years hearing Him more clearly.
Blessed to call you friend and so thankful for your your transparency.

Kristen Kellough said...

Definitely music! Or a word from a friend at just the right time.

Casey Kipp said...

I hear Him best in Jen Hatmaker books ;) No, but seriously as a mom with young kiddos I have a hard time getting up in the morning before them to get in the Word or having uninterrupted prayer time. I hear Him best in the car with worship music on!!!!

Amy Frans said...

HA! This made me laugh audibly. Even if you don't win the drawing, i give you 20 points for wit!! ;-)

Amy Frans said...

Thank you so much, Jeff!

kristina said...

For me, music is my sweet spot. I feel like my most intimate times with him are when I am worshipping Him in song. I have not been blessed with a good singing voice, so thankfully He does not mind when this off-tune singer worships Him and it's not the sound that matters! This past year was a very difficult one for me. Being in the hospital gave me a lot of time to just be still. Some of my most intimate times with Him have been in the midst of those days. I am thankful that even though being sick so much took a toll on me, I was still able to rest and find so many moments to be with Him.

Kristen Clements said...

I find that God really speaks to me in the quiet of reading His word and also through the everyday mundane-when I am paying attention to all His work around me, that is. He has a funny way of speaking to me through unique, and sometimes silly, ways. Like many mentioned above, I believe God will do whatever it takes to get our undivided attention :) So thankful that in His grace to do that!! So thankful for YOU and your willingness to encourage us towards Christ, He is using you :)

Lauren said...

God speaks to me through music and and His word.

Anne Clement said...

Music is the number one way for me, but I really have to be listening.

BrandyJ-jeremiah29:11 said...

Still posting even though the drawing is over because I love what you expressed here so much.:-)

I hear Him differently every time. Sometimes it is a song that speaks to me right where I am, or it could be a devotional that I open up and not surprisingly, it addresses the very thing that is plaguing me or maybe it is a sermon or a friend who is able to speak honestly with me at just the right time. So much of it is timing for me...... but then, there are those moments, that honestly I can only count on one hand, where He does something miraculous to get my attention. Like position the sun just right so that the sunlight flowing into my window (while I am praying in tears) reflects that of a cross. Or the time that a piece of paper blows to my feet and when opened it has scripture on it to bind up the wound in my heart after losing a baby. Or the night that I sat on my driveway alone, crying out to Him - asking Him to send a sign that He was hearing me - and then looking up to see the biggest, brightest shining star (if that is what it could be called) to show me He was present and listening. Or maybe just the time I know I heard the audible voice of God simply state - WAIT ON ME when I was asking for guidance. All of these things just show me how incredibly personal the God we worship and love is. He is in the moments. The good ones, the bad ones, the hard ones and the happy ones and I just love that about Him. Thanks for sharing yourself with all of us, Amy. Honesty and transparency in ministry is so important and very, very refreshing. Blessings!

BrandyJ-jeremiah29:11 said...

Still posting even though the drawing is over because I love what you expressed here so much.:-)

I hear Him differently every time. Sometimes it is a song that speaks to me right where I am, or it could be a devotional that I open up and not surprisingly, it addresses the very thing that is plaguing me or maybe it is a sermon or a friend who is able to speak honestly with me at just the right time. So much of it is timing for me...... but then, there are those moments, that honestly I can only count on one hand, where He does something miraculous to get my attention. Like position the sun just right so that the sunlight flowing into my window (while I am praying in tears) reflects that of a cross. Or the time that a piece of paper blows to my feet and when opened it has scripture on it to bind up the wound in my heart after losing a baby. Or the night that I sat on my driveway alone, crying out to Him - asking Him to send a sign that He was hearing me - and then looking up to see the biggest, brightest shining star (if that is what it could be called) to show me He was present and listening. Or maybe just the time I know I heard the audible voice of God simply state - WAIT ON ME when I was asking for guidance. All of these things just show me how incredibly personal the God we worship and love is. He is in the moments. The good ones, the bad ones, the hard ones and the happy ones and I just love that about Him. Thanks for sharing yourself with all of us, Amy. Honesty and transparency in ministry is so important and very, very refreshing. Blessings!

KSanchez said...

Hi Jennifer! How did you find this blog?! Amy is my children's youth pastor's wife. That's a mouthful! She is wonderful, and I'm glad you are connected here.