Stop and Take Time to Listen to God
Taking regular time to stop and listen to God is not a strong suit of mine. I do hear from God on a fairly regular basis. I know his voice and how he talks to me. Unfortunately I hate to admit that I kind of stink at being intentional about taking time to listen to God. This topic isn’t what I was going to originally write about this week. It was only because of taking time to listen to God that I decided to write about listening to God!
My notes are lost
I seem to have lost my notes for my original topic. I’m serious – I can’t find them anywhere! I searched my quiet time journal. I’ve looked through my Bible and sermon notes. I looked through my computer documents. I’ve looked through my phone notes. I even looked around for random post-it notes where I may have written some things down. Nothing. Now, I can’t even remember if I even wrote the notes down to begin with, but I could’ve sworn that I did.
After searching around frantically for my notes for well over an hour, I decided to just pray about it and ask God to help me find them. Then I remembered my quiet time about stopping and listening to God. It was about taking time to just stop and be quiet. So I decided to do that after I prayed about losing my notes.
Maybe they were “lost” on purpose
I began to think that maybe my notes were “lost” on purpose because God had other intentions of what he wanted me to write about this week. If I’m right, it’s what he’s been gently correcting me about recently. It’s about making time to stop and listen to him on purpose.
While listening, I had the thought, “Well, maybe they’re lost on purpose because I’m not supposed to write about them. Maybe I’m supposed to write about something else. I usually pray every week about what I’m going to write about, but I don’t think I did this week. I think I just decided last week what this week’s topic would be and then didn’t really spend a whole lot of time in prayer about it. Well, I guess it serves me right!” Leave it to God to conveniently cause my notes to go missing when I try to do things my way without consulting him or listening to him!
Oh, the irony
God Talks Like Bumblebee the Transformer
“And He said, Go out and stand on the mount before the Lord. And behold, the Lord passed by, and a great and strong wind rent the mountains and broke in pieces the rocks before the Lord, but the Lord was not in the wind; and after the wind an earthquake, 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 sound of gentle stillness and a still, small voice.” 1 Kings 19:11-12 (AMP)
It feels weird to say that God speaks to me or that God told me something. I often wonder if people think I’m a little crazy when I say things like that! I don’t hear voices in my head, and I’ve never heard an audible voice. It’s just simply my own thoughts that sometimes seem to come out of nowhere or reading a word or phrase in one or more bible verses that just seem to stick out for some reason. In the bible, God spoke to Elijah. It says in 1 Kings 19:11-12 that there was a strong wind but the Lord was not in the wind, and after the wind an earthquake, 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 was a still, small voice which was the Lord’s. Many times I think that people believe that if God is going to speak to us it is going to be a big, grand ordeal, but that is rarely the case.
Here’s one picture that comes to my mind when I think of how God talks to us…that God talks like Bumblebee the Transformer. 🙂 In the Transformers movies, you know how Bumblebee used to talk to Sam? He used parts of songs on the radio or audio clips to get what he wanted to say across to Sam because he couldn’t actually talk to him since his voice box had been damaged. It was funny because he would actually take different parts of different verses and choruses from various songs or audio clips or quotes from movies and piece them together to form his message.
That’s kind of how God talks to us sometimes. God talks like Bumblebee in that He uses bit and pieces of things to get messages across to us at times. Sometimes He uses different verses, or parts of verses, out of the Bible. Sometimes it’s the same words or phrases repeated in different verses of the bible that we come across. Other times He uses our thoughts or even other people. God can speak to us in many ways—often with just one word or a phrase. Sometimes He’ll speak to us through our surroundings—it may be a bumper sticker or billboard, a song on the radio, something we read online, an overheard conversation or something on TV. Sometimes we’ll come across a repeated theme in various areas (i.e. you might hear a church sermon, hear a song and/or read a devotion that all seem to coincidentally have the same message or theme).
God talks like Bumblebee because Continue reading
How to Recognize God’s Voice
“Then he (Jesus) added, ‘Pay close attention to what you hear. The closer you listen the more understanding you will be given—and you will receive even more.’” Mark 4:24 (NLT)
I previously shared a post on What Does God’s Voice Sound Like? I’d like to share some more tips on how to learn and recognize God’s voice. God’s voice becomes more familiar as we grow in relationship with Him.
This is very similar to meeting a new friend. At first, we probably don’t recognize their voice very well, and they have to introduce themselves when they call on the phone. However, the longer we are friends and the more time we spend with them (and hear them talk), the easier it is to recognize their voice. Eventually, they won’t even have to say who they are or introduce themselves.
The more time spent with someone makes them more familiar and more recognizable. My husband, Eric, just loves to tell the story (aka make fun of me 🙂 ) about the time we went on our first “official” date. I went to meet him at a mall. He was waiting outside the front door for me, and I walked right past him because I didn’t recognize him. In my defense, we hadn’t known each other very long, and he DID have a baseball hat on pulled down low over his eyes! Nevertheless, he will NEVER let me live it down. I shudder to think of all the times I must have done the EXACT same thing to God—walk right past Him due to not recognizing Him when He was standing right in front of me.
It’s getting easier for me to recognize God’s voice the more I mature and the closer I get to God. In hindsight, I wish I would have learned to recognize God’s voice a lot sooner. I can look back on my life now and see poor choices and/or missed opportunities where I had a “red flag” but didn’t realize at the time that God was speaking to me. Some things that I’ve learned along the way are the “What”, the “When”, the “How” and the “Why” of God speaking. My goal is to share a few of these things with you in hopes that you too can learn to recognize God’s voice so that you might miss fewer opportunities or make fewer poor choices.
Recognize God’s Voice in WHAT to listen for: Continue reading