Have you ever wanted to know if it was God speaking to you? Leading you? Have you ever felt like it was just your own thoughts? I’ve questioned all three, but that’s why I write today. It’s so important to hear from God yourself and that is why I want to make it clear that you can! If you seek Him, He will be found!
The First Attack
What was the first attack Satan launched on Adam and Eve? Do you know what his question was? It’s important you do because that exact same question has been launched today against ordinary people like you and I in order to keep us from life’s best and God’s voice. Actually this question I’m about to tell you has kept more people from God and left others in skepticism more than possibly anything else. Here is the question:
“Did God really say?” – (Genesis 3:1 – NIV)
You heard right. Satan questioned God’s own words. He questioned God’s voice.
See the debilitating spark? Satan’s question sparked Eve’s question sparking Eve and Adam’s questioning of God and His goodness.
Now one of the biggest reasons people don’t turn to God for a relationship with Him today is because they question His goodness. They question His character. They actually question His words and what He has to say.
But we have His Word: The Bible! But the attack has persisted ever since the garden of Eden. Many still question the authenticity of the actual Bible. The Bible defends itself. Literally, it is more historically accurate than any other book. Scholars agree on this. The Bible is where God is always speaking.
“It is the ingenuity of God to use people to accomplish His purposes and take His message to the world.” – Chris James
“Pause for a moment. God gave the Church the mission of evangelizing the world, insisting that unless we do it the job will not get done. It is a mission of staggering consequence, and God hands the whole thing over to the Church, for heaven’s sake–meaning, your aunt Gladys and her knitting club, the boys making a wreck just now of the Sunday school room, Henry the janitor who will not open the building for you because it is after hours and you haven’t gotten a note from the trustees. These are the people God sends forth in His bid to save the world.
It helps if you appreciate the stakes He loves to play at. Noah and his little family put out upon an endless sea. David in a do-or-die charge against the brute Philistine; Daniel in the lion’s den. Esther- in a bid to save her people-risks the head upon her shoulders on the chance that the king is in a good mood. The Savior of the world at the breast of a teenage girl. Do you see the thread? Insurmountable odds by the most unlikely heroes.” -John Eldredge, Love and War
And yet His mission will be accomplished! I want to describe an experience I had where I felt God clearly speak to me about something only He would’ve known, through a person who hadn’t known. Actually, this person was a stranger on top of that!
Ordinary Monday, Extraordinary God
This story sticks out to me. It was a Monday and I was on my way to see one of my new clients for the first time. I have worked in a field where I met new people often. I love people and love learning about them, their story, and what’s shaped them and I’m usually in the mood to do so. Not on this day.
It was a Monday after I’d not been able to get past 4 hours of sleep. You know those nights? I was feeling it, the fog and the scattered thoughts as I marched to the door of the apartment complex and rung the buzzer to meet this guy already. He buzzed me in and I had trouble opening the door. I flung it open and muttered something like “C’MON really. It figures!” A janitor passed me just then. I was past the point of caring. I went up to the elevator and arrived. I located the man’s apartment and knocked on the door expecting an ordinary encounter. The usual.
He opened up. He was older but not old. He immediately stood out to me as someone with something unique about him. We sat down at the table and began talking about his background, his story. About 10 minutes in I looked over to the wall to see a huge photo hung that had a quote about life and learning. It was Bohemian looking. We talked some more and I noticed an open Bible with a small book in it on the table, a devotional book. Listen, seeing a Bible is nothing, really. Many people have them. Whether they read them or not an entirely different question. The fact that the Bible had actually been open showed me he’d likely been reading it. And not just reading it but receiving it. And not just receiving it but digesting it.
He’d been through some STUFF as I’d find throughout the conversation. He came across as rough around the edges yet that’s not the heart I saw behind his mannerisms and way of talking.
Might I remind you that God looks at the heart while man looks at the outward appearance?
There was so much more. He was brass but it was not something that intimidated me though it might intimidate many people. He had a way of talking about things that was poignant and direct, but with class and with love. With clarity. With wisdom. With understanding. But he certainly was not “polished.” But who cares? I didn’t. Often times in life we think that we have to have polished, proper, and have near perfect appearances in what we portray to others. Have you scrolled through social media lately? What you see is the highlights.
How about all of the life in between?
When the Counselor becomes the Counseled
There were specific situations that had been on my mind from weeks prior, even months. On this day in particular I was down. Many involved other people, some of these situations involved myself. Anxiety, stress, details, circumstances. You name it. I could, and I knew how painful some of them were. Beyond words.
It is in these times we forget how near God is. He is “not far from each of us.” His eyes are on His children. His eyes are on believers everywhere.
Jesus Himself said “My sheep know my voice,” so the first key to understanding how to hear from God is to make sure you are one of His sheep. A believer; a Christ follower! That is the only starting place to hearing from God, for Christ is the bridge between God and man. He made a way to Him because we will never be perfect, here and now. But Christ was and is. If we trust Christ here and now and confess with our heart that He is Lord, we will be saved. -(Romans 10:9-14 NIV)
Acts – 17:27 – “He is actually not far from each of us.” ESV
Had I forgotten God’s goodness? Not intellectually. I knew it in my head and if there was one thing I knew, it was that. But I’d forgotten it in my heart for the moment. I didn’t feel it. I was going through a time of having a hard time receiving from God and hearing Him.
That’s when the man noticed my bracelet on my wrist and pointed it out. It said “Unbroken” and had a Bible verse on it. He liked it. His eyes lit up as I told him I was a believer. He began to talk to me about life and situations in his own life that he’d learned from and offered wisdom that I hadn’t asked for yet spoke to me in a way I knew was God and spoke to me about my specific situations on my mind at that moment and in the weeks prior. He had me pause and read out of his devotional book on his table. It was open to a specific page actually. It had to do with rainfall and the turning of seasons. As I read the entirety of it, out loud for some reason, tears began to crawl down my face. Woah. What I was reading was specifically designed for me. How in the world? I see you God. I feel you. That’s what I thought. In reflecting more and more upon this, I realize how amazing it was. How divinely orchestrated. How great God’s love is for us, individually!
And God’s people are His “oracles.”
1 Peter 4:11 ESV – “As one who speaks oracles of God.”
We speak the things of God to the people of God.
Speak the mysteries of God (Christ Jesus) to a waiting world. A watching world. We show them the reality of His love, forgiveness, and redemption.
The funny thing is I almost did not come to work this day because of how little sleep I’d gotten and how I was feeling. But something in my spirit said to just press through.
I, the counselor, had just clearly been counseled. The wisdom of God!
And yet every believer can experience this! Many have and many do. All should!
It’s so funny how the Word of God gets around: Through the mouth of His people. Many times Christians who are following God through opening His Word can speak exactly what God wants them to, to others without even knowing it, simply because the Word of God is strong in them. What that means is that they’ve meditated and thought deeply about His Word and put it into practice. They “activated it!” And it in turn now activates others. God will use it in miraculous ways like this. He loves people!
I’ve had many encounters like this, but this one sticks out to me because we often forget that when we suffer and go through trials, we can also sense the nearness of God more clearly than ever. We learn in the valleys. We grow in the hard times. God knows and He cares. He speaks.
Details: Times, dates, details and information of the story changed to respect confidentiality *.