Statement of faith

2 Timothy 3:16-17 "All Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness, so that the man of God may be thoroughly equipped for every good work." (NIV)

"The Spirit of God uses the Word of God to make us like the Son of God. To become like Jesus, we must fill our lives with his Word.
- Warren

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

Quiet-Time Reflections

Week of: September 5, 2011                      
Sharing by: Pam Crawford

                                                  Jeremiah 24:7
                  “I will give them a heart to know me, that I am the LORD.”

How do you know for sure when the Lord is speaking to you? According to Dr. Henry Blackaby it’s a fairly simple answer; “The more you know God, the better you will be able to discern His voice.”  J.I. Packer says, “A little knowledge of God is worth more than a great deal of knowledge about Him.” This reaffirms to me how important it is to move beyond just knowing about God to actually getting to know God. When we take God outside of the Sunday box we discover that He has much to say.

I wonder if any of you can relate to calling someone and halfway through the conversation you are told, or you realize that you’re talking to the wrong person. It’s kind of embarrassing isn’t it? In her book Discerning the Voice of God, author Priscilla Shirer explains how she is able to recognize the difference between her father and brother’s voice that many people miss when talking to them on the phone. She explains that her brother is quite crafty in his attempts to fool people into thinking they are talking to his dad Dr. Tony Evans; however, it doesn’t work with her. Priscilla explains that, “No matter how alike my brother’s and father’s voices sound, my brother can’t fool me! Just a couple seconds on the phone with him reveals to me exactly who is on the other end of the line. I have spent enough time with both of them to know the small but distinct differences in their voices.”

If you have not yet read the book Discerning the Voice of God, I highly recommend it. Today I am going to share some key points from the chapter titled “A Revealing Voice.” Because I am at a place in my walk with God where I just have to know that I’m not being deceived, I keep going over and over this particular chapter. Priscilla Shirer does a remarkable job in relaying that “God wants our relationship with Him to be so close that Satan’s voice can never deceive us.” Please don’t miss the word “never.”

As I move through this book I am learning that the closer I grow in my relationship with God and His Word, the less opportunity there will be for Satan to deceive me any longer. This is exactly what we learn all throughout God’s Holy Word. By focusing our priorities on learning God’s attributes, His goals, priorities and His responsibility, we will be able to clearly hear from God. We will be able to discern His voice over the worlds voice and the deceit spewed from the mouth of the enemy. We will also be blessed to recognize proper guidance. Oh, how I want this! Anyone else?

The following are my notes. I pray that something within them will help you discover the gift that you have been given when you accepted Christ into your heart. If you are not there yet, I pray that something prompts you to begin exploring. God has such blessings for those who chose to know Him.

Psalm 23:1, 6
“The Lord is my shepherd, I shall not want.
…Surely goodness and loving kindness will follow me all the days of my life, and I will dwell in the house of the Lord forever.”

Notes from Discerning God’s Voice by Priscilla Shirer
Chapter 7

“When God speaks, His voice will be revealing for He passionately desires for us to know who He is. In fact, that’s what salvation is all about – knowing God. (John 17:3) God doesn’t want you just to hear about Him or from Him; He wants you to experience Him in your life, so you will know Him.

In The Word we read examples of people who sought God in prayer and Bible study.God spoke to them about His love for them, and that gave them the assurance they needed to do what He was asking of them. They decided that obeying God’s voice, no matter how crazy it might appear to others, would enable them to experience God in a real and personal way. They believed that He would go before them and that His goodness and loving-kindness would follow them. So they moved forward in obedience.

Within the Word we learn the attributes of God. We discover He is our provider, our Sheppard, and our All-Sufficient God to mention a few. Without understanding the nature of God, obedience to Him becomes more difficult, if not impossible. The more you know and believe to be true about who God is and what He can do, the more willing you become to obey what He commands.

To recognize Satan’s lies, all we have to do is spend our time in intimate fellowship with the Truth. When God speaks, His voice will reveal the same attributes as He reveals in His Word. The Apostle Paul warns us that Satan disguises himself as an angel of light (2 Corinthians 11:14). He deliberately tries to speak to us in a way that sounds like the Holy Spirit. But as hard as he tries to imitate the voice of God, he will never sound exactly like the real thing, and the more intimate we are with God, the more quickly we’ll be able to tell who is speaking.

If we wish to discern God’s voice, we must make His priorities our priorities. The first thing Paul asked when he met the risen Savior on the road to Damascus was, “Who are You, Lord?” (Acts 9:5 NASB). Later he wrote, “Nothing is as wonderful as knowing Christ Jesus my Lord. I have given up everything else and count it all as garbage. All I want is Christ: (Philippians 3:8 CEV).

Nothing, Paul says, is as wonderful as knowing God – not even hearing His voice and knowing His will. As precious as those things are, they were never Paul’s primary goal because he understood that if he knew God, they would automatically follow. From the very beginning of his relationship with Christ, Paul had his priorities straight.

Pause a moment to take a personal inventory. Could it be that you can’t discern God’s voice because you have somehow bypassed the need to know who He really is? Hunting for the voice more than hunting for God can trip us up.

You know when you’re seeking something other than God when you’re in one of those “in between” stages where nothing seems to be happening and God doesn’t seem to be speaking, so you stop pursuing Him. This indicates that you’re more interested in what you think He is going to do for you that you are in knowing Him in order to have an intimate relationship with Him. To discern God’s voice, you have to get your priorities straight. You have to want Him, His glory, and a relationship with Him more than you want anything else.”

Ok, I believe this is a lot to absorb in one session, so I’ll save my notes on God’s responsibilities for next week. Please come back as I don’t want you to miss an amazing reveal.

“There is no sweeter manner of living in the world than continuous communion with God. Only those who have experienced it can understand. However, I don’t advise you to practice it for the sole purpose of gaining consolation from your problems. Seek it, rather because God wills it and out of love for Him.” 

                                                               - Brother Lawrence.

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