My sheep recognize his voice and come to him. He calls his own sheep by name and leads them out. John 10:3
Sometimes people think it is craziness when others talk about hearing from God and no doubt there are some ungodly things done because someone says, God told me… But don’t let the mysterious nature of hearing from God nor the fact that people do sinful things keep you from pressing in to know God better and to serve Him more effectively.
Don’t miss the fact that hearing from God is predicated on being in relationship with Him. The sheep know the shepherd and that is why they recognize His voice. The scripture also says the shepherd knows their name which implies His intimate concern for you. It is natural in a healthy relationship to have regular dialog. Unfortunately many of us miss out on what God has to say and we reduce serving Him to guesswork. Are your prayers one way prayers?
I was in Mexico speaking at a Pastor’s Conference when, after the final message, I walked out of the meeting hall and into the courtyard. As I did I heard a thought very clearly in my mind say, you will be asked to go to China and India and when you are asked you are to say yes. That almost stopped me in my tracks but since I expect to hear from God I simply replied in my thoughts okay.
Donna Thomas the Founder of Project Partner walked over to me less than one minute later and asked would you like to go to China or India with me? I said, yes. She said, No one says yes the first time they are asked! So I explained what happened. That conversation led to two trips to India and now six to China. Four years ago she asked me to lead Project Partner (www.projectpartner.org). It was the Holy Spirit who prompted me to say yes again. My daughter Kristen Levitt is the Director and she is in China now.
So this story begs the question. How do you know when God is speaking? Here are a couple of quick thoughts. First God only speaks in tandem with the written Word, the Bible. If what you hear isn’t consistent with what is written you didn’t hear from God. Secondly, the words usually come in like a thought. It is not the “sound” that is recognizable as much as it is the “nature” of what you hear—it is godly in its purpose and it must ultimately glorify Him. Sometimes it is more of a nudge in your spirit than a word or phrase. Often it will point you to the scripture. For example recently I heard, read Psalm 37. In that Psalm I found exactly what I needed to know. Many times the timing will help you know that thought didn’t come from you—it comes when you least expect it. This helps because you know you didn’t manufacture it. Finally, a good thing to do is to ask God to confirm it through something you can’t control. This helps ensure that the enemy isn’t manipulating you or posing as an angel of light.
So are you listening? Do you expect God to speak? I’ve found from personal experience that when I listen and obey I hear more and more. If I ignore or treat God’s speaking like an option, I hear less.
By the way, I felt prompted to write this devo today not just to talk about hearing from God but also to help out my good friend Jon DeWitt. I asked Jon if I could write this devo today and make a special plea. Many of you know Jon as a man who faithfully gets up at 5 nearly every morning and sends out killer devos. There are 1,000 people on his list. Many times they hit me square between the eyes. Thank you Jon! And many of you know Jon gets a lot of follow up emails and phone calls to talk through how the devos are connecting with people. He regularly invests time to pray for the people he serves. Some of you know Jon and Glynis are very generous in helping other people out. They often give out of their own funds to help someone through a tight spot.
Now it is our turn to help. Consider it a “pay it forward” since he is always helping others. He’s in a tight spot between jobs and we can help him by being generous. I’m sending a gift online today to Indian Creek Community Church http://bit.ly/akly8Z . For the account type Benevolence. Your gift will help Jon and others in similar situations. Thank you for being the Body to each other.
Posted on Fri, November 12, 2010
by Gary Kendall filed under