Thursday, January 2, 2020

God Speaks To Us By His Spirit

According to Dr. Henry Blackaby in his book, Experiencing God, the Spirit uses the Word of God, your prayers, life circumstances and events, and other born-again Believers as the means of communication with you. The means by which God speaks to us are not mutually exclusive, but are mutually supportive. God uses one means to reinforce another. In other words, God will speak to you using more than one of these means. As I read the Word of God, the Spirit may impress a truth on my heart. Perhaps I have read the verse many times before, but in that moment in time, God had a word for me. Then the same day I will hear the same verse or someone will address the same issue with me. Or maybe two people, not related in any way, will talk to me about the very thing that God addressed in my heart while I prayed. The challenge is to have the discernment to know when it is the Spirit at work and not merely our flesh.

I was on staff with a ministry called Promise Keepers for a season. During the 1996 Promise Keeper’s Pastors’ conference in Atlanta there was a time of prayer – a solemn assembly if you will. We were called to a time of reverent silence as all 39,000 pastors prayed. As I stood there with my eyes closed, I asked God, “God, how are you going to show yourself? Are you going to split the roof of the Georgia Dome open and send down your Shekinah glory? Or maybe send a great rushing wind and flames will appear about the heads of your saints?” Well, I must admit that I peeked. And when I looked up, all I saw was a single dove flying in circles above the great throng of pastors. I closed my eyes again. After the prayer I looked up, but the dove was gone. I figured it had been my imagination running away with me. It was just then that the guy standing next to me said, “Hey, did you see that dove flying up there?” Guess it was not my imagination after all. I was reminded of Elijah in the cave.

And there he went into a cave, and spent the night in that place; and behold, the word of the Lord came to him, and He said to him, ‘What are you doing here, Elijah?’ So he said, ‘I have been very zealous for the Lord God of hosts; for the children of Israel have forsaken Your covenant, torn down Your altars, and killed Your prophets with the sword. I alone am left; and they seek to take my life.’ Then He said, ‘Go out, and stand on the mountain before the Lord.’ And behold, the Lord passed by, and a great and strong wind tore into the mountains and broke the rocks in pieces before the Lord, but the Lord was not in the wind; and after the wind an earth-quake, but the Lord was not in the earthquake; and after the earthquake a fire, but the Lord was not in the fire; and after the fire a still small voice.” – 1 Kings 19:9-12

God does not speak to us in the way we might expect. In this instance, it was as if God was confirming His presence through the dove. The next day I was at home. It was early morning, and as I do nearly every morning, I got up to put the coffee on. I looked out through our patio doors to the deck, and there, sitting on the deck rail was a dove, looking back at me. Seem odd? For the next week, I was convinced that I was being followed by doves! Sound crazy? I would drive down the road, stop at a corner and a dove was sitting on the ground at the corner. This didn’t happen just once, but many times. And you know what, it is still happening. Does that seem odd? It did to me, until I remembered what an optometrist friend would say. That is not odd my friend, it’s God.

Perhaps there was  a time when God has spoken to you; during prayer, while reading or hearing the Word, through life’s circumstances, or through other Christians. Dr. Henry Blackaby said that it is not knowing that it is God speaking that we struggle with.  Our struggle is obeying what He is telling us to do.  Do you remember a time when you knew that God was speaking, but you did not want to obey Him?

“While Samuel was lying down, that the Lord called Samuel. And he answered, ‘Here I am!’  So he ran to Eli and said, ‘Here I am, for you called me.’ And he said, ‘I did not call; lie down again.’ And he went and lay down. Then the Lord called yet again, ‘Samuel!’ So Samuel arose and went to Eli, and said, ‘Here I am, for you called me.’ He answered, “I did not call, my son; lie down again.” (Now Samuel did not yet know the Lord, nor was the word of the Lord yet revealed to him.) And the Lord called Samuel again the third time. So he arose and went to Eli, and said, ‘Here I am, for you did call me.’ Then Eli perceived that the Lord had called the boy. Therefore Eli said to Samuel, ‘Go, lie down; and it shall be, if He calls you, that you must say, ‘Speak, Lord, for Your servant hears.’ ‘ So Samuel went and lay down in his place. Now the Lord came and stood and called as at other times, ‘Samuel! Samuel!’ And Samuel answered, ‘Speak, for Your servant hears.’” – 1 Samuel 3:3-10

Sometimes we miss the fact that it is God speaking to us.  It takes someone with more maturity to recognize it and help us to see.  Do you have someone like Eli in your life? Who is it? How have they helped you in the past?

In my experience, God speaks to us using more than one of the methods.  Sometimes all four.  When God was sending us from Mississippi to Haiti was just such a time.  Through the Word and prayer, the Lord had been impressing on me that it was time to leave.  Our time in Mississippi was done.  It was then that three people, who did not know each other, living in different states, talked to me about leaving Mississippi and going to Haiti. I was talking with a friend in Mississippi who was not a Christian. When I told him we were going to Haiti, he drew close, looked me in the eyes, and asked “Are you Crazy?”  You see, he didn’t know it was God, he only heard thunder.  I told him, “It’s not my idea; it’s God’s.” 

You may not see doves, but you might.  You probably won’t hear a voice from heaven.  But if you seek Him, He will be found.  Listen and you will hear. Then obey.

By Faith Alone By His Grace Alone And For His Glory Alone

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