Hearing God

river

God often speaks with an inside voice.

In fact, that’s His preferred method of communication.

Quiet.

Still.

Small.

It requires that you listen carefully, and in great faith.

Of course, there are different kinds of inside voices.  [click to continue…]

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(Fumes, Form and Fashion, Part 1)

Burned Match

Thomas Watson Sr., founder of IBM, often said, “Everybody, from time to time, should take a step back and watch himself go by.”

Good wisdom. But hardly lived.  It’s reminiscent of the often-repeated story of the African (or Incan, depending on what you read) porters who carried the goods of an English (or American) type-A personality through the jungle with increasing pace for three days. Finally, on the fourth day, they matter-of-factly refused to go further, despite the pleas of the Western, time-bound explorers.  When asked for an explanation, they simply said, “We have been traveling so fast, we have to wait for our souls to catch up with us.”

There’s a simple word for that, often reserved for quaint memories of the good old days or emergency sessions of the Jesus Name Disaster Management Club.  It’s called renewal.  [click to continue…]

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Sundet Prayer 2

Beyond the riot of the noise and the fury of the storm
I hear Your voice, and all else is peace and quiet.
Above the swelling of the sea and the tossing of the waves
I hear Your voice, and everything becomes so still.

Within the darkness of despair and the sinking in my soul
I hear Your voice, and rise again to living hope.
Against the doubts of unbelief and the questions in my mind
I hear Your voice, and rest in knowing You believe. [click to continue…]

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Contemplation

In his classic book, The Friendship Factor, Alan Loy McGinnis gives the following characteristics of a good listener:

1.  Good listeners listen with their eyes.

2.  Good listeners dispense advice sparingly.

3.  Good listeners never break a confidence.

4.  Good listeners “complete the loop” of communication.

5.  Good listeners show gratitude when someone confides.

That certainly works in your relationships with people. But it’s also an opportunity to remind you that the God of Heaven invites us into a friendship with Him.  In some ways, the things Dr. McGinnis has to say about listening well to other people can translate into listening to the Lord.  Based on his wise advice, let me offer a few suggestions for being a good listener in the spiritual realm: [click to continue…]

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Bible on Table

During World War II a South Sea Islander proudly displayed his Bible to an American GI.  “We’ve outgrown that sort of thing,” the American replied.

“It’s a good thing we haven’t,” smiled the native.  “If it wasn’t for this book, you’d have been a meal by now!”

Do you ever find yourself feeling restless or uncomfortable when you hear someone else quote the Bible in public?  Do you find yourself at times living like the American GI, as though you’d “outgrown that sort of thing?”

The truth is, you never outgrow your need for the word of God because you never outgrow your need for the voice of God.  Ever since the days of Eden, however, the enemy has tried to stand between us and our most authentic source of life.

Jesus said, “Man shall not live by bread alone, by every word that proceeds from the mouth of God.”  Why is it so important to hear God speak?  [click to continue…]

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IMG_7524I love photography for two reasons. First, I love capturing light and images and special moments that I can share and re-live. The one to the left is a recent sample.

Second, taking pictures puts me on the right side of the camera.  As long as I can stay away from that nosy lens, I can imagine that I actually look the way I do when I look at myself in the mirror.  No awkward angles. No unflattering poses. No ruthless inventory of how I really look.

The same kind of thing happens in the spiritual realm. There are plenty of ways to pose so that we get a flattering, but dishonest look at ourselves.  That’s unhealthy for two reasons. First, it can put us in denial of something that can really hurt us in the long run. Second, it can produce shame that blinds us to our great, great value to God and to the world.

How would you like a strategy for taking an honest inventory of your heart and soul?

Wait.

Maybe I should phrase that a different way…

Do you need a strategy for taking an honest inventory of your heart and soul? I don’t really care whether you want it or not.

Here are eight questions that can turn the lights on in your spiritual life.  They can be used alone or together. You can go through them in 15 minutes, or an hour, or an entire day. The questions are based on Paul’s energetic series of charges to the Thessalonians:

Rejoice always, pray without ceasing, in everything give thanks; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you. Do not quench the Spirit. Do not despise prophecies. Test all things; hold fast what is good. Abstain from every form of evil (1 Thessalonians 5:16-22).

Take a few minutes or however long you can. Get alone with a journal, legal pad, or an electronic tablet and write down some notes based on your first response to these questions: [click to continue…]

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joylessThis morning I have the privilege of preaching at Shadow Hills Baptist Church here in Lubbock.  After dreaming about hearing John Piper preaching in my head all night long that “God is most glorified when we are most satisfied in him” (and I’ve never actually listened all the way through to one of his messages), I believe the Lord was “instructing me in the night watches” (Psalm 16:7) to preach on joy, and specifically how we can lose it.  Here’s a quick summary of what I’m sharing there…

The most joyful people on the planet are believers in Jesus Christ.

The most joyless, miserable people on the planet are Christians, too.

Those who don’t have a relationship with Christ don’t know any better, and as they say, “Ignorance is bliss.”  But those of us who have tasted and seen that the Lord is good, then somehow lost that sense of His presence, know there is something missing.

I’d like to show you how that’s possible.  How can someone who has experienced this amazing joy suddenly find themselves without it? [click to continue…]

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To stay in Your presence, with a heart full-ready to hear your voice…
Yielded and trusting as You’re breathing life into these old, dry bones…
Oh, what joy! This sweet surrender!

To watch for Your smile while the rest of the world is sleeping…
Dreaming with open eyes of the beautiful hope to spend endless days with You…
Oh, what hope! This sweet surrender!

I am that one who had lost his way, who spent his whole fortune in search of illusions…
But now I treasure the Faithful and True – the stubbornly real – the everlasting prize…
Oh, what life! This sweet surrender!

If I close my heart, may it be to my pride and selfish ambition.
If ever I fall, may it be into Your strong arms of grace.
Whenever I miss the mark, may I miss on the tender side of love.
If I dream the impossible dream, may it be in delicious faith.
If I do the ridiculous deed, may it be with contagious hope.
Whenever I miss the mark, may I miss on the sweet side of surrender. [click to continue…]

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The Quiet Words

by Andy Wood on March 30, 2012

in Life Currency, Words

It’s 11:15.  Things are starting to wind down.  The day has had its share of sound and fury, and it isn’t quite over yet.  Not in the world I inhabit these days.  But as the curtain does begin downward on this day it brings a change in the vocabulary.  The language of commerce and connections gives way to something different.

I love it when I’m drawn to the rhythm and melody of The Quiet Words.

In a world filled with the shrill and loud words, the passionate and proud words, where turning up the volume and dialing down the listening are commonplace, does your heart ever yearn for something more… still?

Calm?

Intentionally peaceful?

Mine does.  I find myself drawn to, and longing for, The Quiet Words.

Behind the din of the marketplace, the duties of the workplace, and the drama and demonstrations of the worship-place, I’m ready for Elijah’s surprise[click to continue…]

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(Seven More Half-Baked Ideas I’m Still Working On)

If you sing a song and no one seems to hear it, is it still music? (A variation on the tree-in-the-woods question)

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It’s not the silence of God that bothers me so much as the times when I know He’s speaking, but only in a whisper.

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What you fear is not the thing you dread, but your inability – or God’s unwillingness – to stop or resist it.

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