Thursday, September 27, 2012

Did you hear that ....?!!?


Probably the most common question I have heard from individuals serious about their recovery and honestly seeking change in their lives is: “How do I know what God’s will is for my life?” 
Unfortunately, there are very few references to “God’s will” in the Bible.  I did a search on of the New Living Translation and the New International Version of the Bible and found only 5 scripture verses stating God’s will for an individual. (Romans 12, 1 Thessalonians 4 & 5, Hebrews 10, and 1 Peter 2.)
Even though there isn’t a recipe for knowing and doing the will of God, there are several Scripture passages that give us guidance. 
Let’s look at one in Luke 17.11 – 14. 
To discover God’s will for your life, you need to: 1. Surrender, 2. Learn to hear His voice, and 3. Obey what He says to you.  In the simplest of terms, “Hear and Obey.” 
Verses 12 and 13 – The lepers cried out to Jesus saying, “Jesus, Master …” They recognized Jesus as their Master.
To assist you to know God’s will for your life, the first step is to surrender your life to Christ.  Give up control to Him.  It is impossible to do the will of God if you don’t know Him!   Be reconciled to God through Christ! 
However, believing in God and being able to discern His voice in a plethora of divine manifestations are two entirely different things. 
Verse 14 – Jesus spoke to them and they obviously heard his voice even though they “stood at a distance.”   
The second step is to learn to discern God’s voice.  In the Old Testament, He spoke directly to people, like Moses, and other times He sent His angels.  How does God speak to us in today’s world?   Do we have to have an encounter with a burning bush like Moses? 
I believe that God speaks to us in several ways. 
God speaks to us through:
Prayer.  If we’re going to hear God’s voice, we need to listen!  That’s one of the challenges of hearing God’s voice as there are so many competing voices in our world it is often times hard to discern God’s voice.  How do we discern God’s voice in the midst of the din and clamor of so many competing voices? 
Let me be clear on one point before we move on.  God’s voice sounds a lot like your own.  It is that voice from within that speaks to you with words and thoughts that are not your own. 
Bible.  Most people in today’s world hear God’s voice through the Spirit-inspired word of God.  The key here is to open your heart to hear God’s voice through the reading of Scripture. 
I encourage you to read on a regular basis and begin with a simple prayer: “God speak to me through Your word.” 
God will never tell you to do anything or say anything that is contrary to Scripture!  NEVER.  If there is a voice in your head telling you to harm yourself or others or to seek revenge – that voice is not of God! 
The Holy Spirit.  When the Holy Spirit speaks it isn’t some creepy sound coming from a closet or underneath our bed.  The Holy Spirit’s role is to convict, correct, and challenge.  He will nudge you toward places you had no intention of traveling.  He will guide you on paths you have never been before.  He will convict you of sin.  He will empower you to do what you think is impossible.  Once again, the Holy Spirit will not speak to you in any way that is contrary to Scripture. 
Others.  God speaks to you through other people in your life.  God spoke through Mike Wheeler at Remedy-CAC to encourage and challenge Pete to move closer to God. 
Circumstances.  Dawn and I encountered a man on the bike path in Sioux Falls; we both sensed we were in very dangerous circumstances and in the presence of evil.  God spoke to us and told us to “flee from evil.”  The day after our encounter, we learned the man had murdered a homeless individual just a few blocks from where we had encountered him!   
Psalm 19.1-3 - The heavens proclaim the glory of God.
The skies display his craftsmanship.
2 Day after day they continue to speak;
night after night they make him known.
3 They speak without a sound or word;
their voice is never heard.
A few years back I was camping at the base of “my mountain.”  During the night I was awakened by coyotes communicating almost non-stop for over an hour.  Unable to sleep, I crawled out of my tent and encountered the most magnificent display of God’s craftsmanship I have ever seen.  The “heavens proclaimed the glory of God.”  I was awe struck as I gazed at the heavens!  God spoke to my heart and said, “I made the heavens and earth in all its vastness.  Even in the midst of all the enormity of what I have created, I chose to know you, Ron.”
I felt so connected to and part of something far bigger than myself that I was overwhelmed with praises to HIM!  He created all that vastness and yet still cares about each individual.
Ever been captivated by a sunset?  Have you been awe struck at a sunrise and had an overwhelming feeling that God was saying, “Today is a new day.  I made it just for you.”?
Again, believing in God and discerning His voice in the plethora of divine manifestations are two entirely different things.  Whichever divine manifestation God choses to speak to you, He will NEVER contradict Scripture!    
Every time you hear God speak, it creates a “crisis of belief.”  And what you do next, says more about what you believe about God than what you say you believe. 
This “crisis of belief” creates the opportunity for choice.  You’ve heard His voice and now you must decide whether you will OBEY or DISOBEY! 
Verse 14b – “[Jesus] said, ‘Go, show yourselves to the priests.’  And as they went, they were cleansed of their leprosy.”  The lepers were healed “as they went.”  Not as they stood there or debated among themselves what to do next!  They were obedient to Jesus.  
I’m convinced that knowing God’s will for your life is a series of “next steps.”  When you “hear and obey,” you are one step closer to doing God’s will for your life.  When you “hear and disobey,” you are on step further away from doing God’s will for your life. 
Do we ever do God’s will for our life perfectly?  No.  But that doesn’t stop us from seeking it out by “listening and doing.”  We do what God tells us to do and then we start the process over again and again. 
So, what do we do when God seems silent?  Keep doing the last thing He told you! 
Want to know and do the will of God in your life? 
Learn to hear His voice and take the next step by obeying what He tells you. 

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