Hearing God—Series Wrap-up

Our church’s Young Professionals group had asked if someone could speak with them on the topic of hearing God and discerning His voice, and one of our pastors suggested me. We had a wonderful time of teaching and sharing, and of questions and answers. That evening sent me down this blog path on the crucial topic of hearing God: we began this series on July 21 and conclude today—16 posts and 80-something Bible verses later. We have covered a lot of ground, and so I offer this topical summary and links to the respective posts. Perhaps they will be a helpful reference for you in the future and/or thought-provoking discussion material for your small group . . . 

Hearing God and knowing His voice begins at relationship—Draw Near and Hear
God speaks to us for one ultimate purpose: to glorify Him—Our Purpose and God’s Voice
God speaks to us through the Word—The Bible is Changing Me
God speaks to us through prayer—As One Speaks to a Friend
God speaks to us through events around us—Of People, Circumstances and Timing
God speaks to us as we meditate on Scripture—Sitting Quietly with God
We perceive God’s voice as He wills—This Is the Way; Walk in It
God’s voice comes to us and sends us in His direction— The Still, Small Voice
God speaks to us in His timing; we wait for Him—The P Word
We sometimes hear God long after He has spoken— Hearing God in Retrospect
God speaks His will to whomever He chooses—Should We Be Surprised?
We recognize God’s voice by His character—The Frequency of Life
God speaks advocacy in the face of accusation—The Accuser and the Advocate
As we seek God’s voice, He seeks our obedience—The Other Side of Hearing God
God calls us to share His words with others—A Time To Speak

There is no formula in speaking with and hearing from God. There is no if/then coding logic. Moreover, we cannot manipulate Him, control Him, or even accurately predict Him. Rather, we trust Him, knowing He will speak truth in love from His character of holiness. In a sense, it all comes down to this: God loves us as a Father loves His children. He has much to say, and He wants us to hear Him. Walk with Him, talk with Him; sit with Him and listen. It’s called, “relationship.” We are His desire, and He is ours.

Glory be to God.

Father, You chose us through the work of Your Spirit for obedience to Jesus Christ.1 Grace us to relate with You throughout the day as people who are loved so exceedingly well. May we hear Your voice and know it above all others, and in the wonder and freedom of Your love, find us joyful to hear and eager to obey. We love you as Your people in Christ in whose name we pray. Amen.

1 1 Peter 1:1-2


Should We Be Surprised?

“Tammy, all your life you have been ashamed and embarrassed. Now you have a way to make dignity for all others. Trust me. Trust me. Open a dignity center.” Thus spoke God to Tammy Jewell. She knew very little about the Bible and she hadn’t gone to church in close to 40 years, but she always believed Jesus was real. “Oh my God, a prostitute, a broken prostitute?!?” she thought to herself. Tammy had been raised in extreme poverty and quit school after the fifth grade because she was dirty and bullied for it. Then sold into human trafficking at a very young age, she lived much of her life tethered to prostitution by the invisible chains of addiction and intimidation before escaping its confines. But now she kept hearing God’s voice “clearer and louder each day.” “Father,” she said, “if it’s you, then you know my education’s only in the fifth grade.” But God persisted in His call: “Tammy! If you listen to me, Tammy, you will provide [dignity to] hundreds and thousands of others. Do not worry about your education. Do not worry about the money. Do not worry. Do what I’m telling you to do.”

Jesus surprises us. Returning to Jacob’s well from the village of Sychar, His disciples “were surprised to find him talking with a woman. But no one asked, ‘What do you want?’ or ‘Why are you talking with her?’”1 But then why should we be surprised by One who will not let the cultural conventions of human construct isolate Him from His people whom He loves? If Jesus never engaged us face-to-face or heart-to-heart, how could He preach good news to the poor . . . bind up the brokenhearted . . . proclaim freedom for the captives and release from darkness for the prisoners . . . or comfort all who mourn”?2 Of course, God speaks to us—He loves us. And as we long to hear His voice, even more so does He desire for us to trust Him and do what He says.

Tammy did. In 2015, she opened God’s Hygiene Help Center (GHHC) in Columbus, Ohio, which now serves between 400 and 500 people each month from their primary location. GHHC has added two more help centers in the meantime and now partners with other service organizations and government agencies in the area. Plans are underway to collaborate with still more support organizations and to provide hygiene products—and the dignity they provide—through additional help centers. All because God spoke, and Tammy heard. Tammy obeyed God, and through her, One has blessed hundreds. Should we be surprised?

Father, You speak to us because You love us. Find us to be humble that we would hear Your voice; find us to be faithful, that we would trust and obey. In Christ we pray. Amen.

1 John 4:27
2 Isaiah 61:1-2


A Time To Speak

Very truly I tell you, we speak of what we know, and we testify to what we have seen.1—Jesus, to Nicodemus.

I didn’t talk until I was two years old. Oh, there was “Mommy” and “Daddy” and a few other words—very few—but that was about it. But when the time finally came, my thoughts poured forth in sentences: “I want some foup (soup),” I said to my startled mother, and there it began. For two years, I had absorbed the world around me—watching and listening—and now it was time to engage it. To this day, I prefer listening over talking, and gathering my thoughts before voicing them. Yet as Solomon said, there is “a time to be silent and a time to speak.”2

We long to bask in the presence of God and to hear His voice, yet there comes a time for us to share what we have heard. For as a friend once observed, “When God speaks to me for something, it is always to accomplish an overall objective greater than [myself].” The apostle Paul wrote that the Spirit of God knows the thoughts of God, and He shares them with all who have received the Spirit through faith in Christ. This is very empowering to us, for in Christ “we speak not in words taught us by human wisdom but in words taught by the Spirit, explaining spiritual realities with Spirit-taught words.”3 God’s voice is the voice of truth—whether it proceeds through His Word, or a still, small voice within—that we would both receive it for own well-being and share it, when called, for the well-being of others.

And here is the greater beauty of it all: When the God of all creation engages us, He speaks truth that sets us free.4 His whispers of comfort release us with the witness of hope. His words of assurance equip us with contagious joy. His personal promise of forgiveness emboldens us with good news of unending life. God’s personal presence is uncontainable. Proclaimed Peter to those who would silence the gospel, “We cannot stop speaking about what we have seen and heard.”5 This is freedom. These are the words of one who has heard God. This is you, and this is me.

Father, every word You speak accomplishes what You desire and achieves Your purpose.6 Grace me to hear words I cannot contain. In Christ I pray. Amen.

1 John 3:11
2 Ecclesiastes 3:7
3 1 Corinthians 2:13
4 John 8:32
5 Acts 4:20 NASB
6 Isaiah 55:11