Says, "Let the wise listen and add to their learning". How often do I stop and listen?
I have asked myself that quiet a lot over the past few weeks. I know I do not stop and listen enough to the Lord. I don't even really listen enough to my family. With a household of nine, that's a lot of stopping! But sometimes, when I do just stop and listen in... I am so blessed!
This week in our Youth Sunday School lesson, we read in Isaiah about his encounter with God. Wow... can you imagine what you would do if the VERY PRESENCE OF GOD was speaking to you? My teens said "We'd die"... probably true!
This recollection helps us (me) to understand how God communicates. Isn't it awesome that God really does "speak" to us... maybe not an audible voice... but in many ways, if we just stop and listen.
Here is what I learned this week:
1. God speaks to His followers. I love the stories in the Bible of the few that God truly spoke too in an audible way. Don't you wish sometimes.... that it was just that clear today? Well, in truth it "kind of" is. How you ask? Good quesiton!
*God speaks through His Word. The Bible is "God-breathed". Just reading it IS hearing the voice of God. ( I know I have not spent enough time in His Word.)
* God speaks to us through prayer. Not the simple "now I lay me down to sleep" prayers, but those truly focused prayers. We need to take our questions and needs to him, opening a conversations that truly reflects our "innermost" being.
*God uses other's to speak to us. This one is tricky in today's world. Even the scriptures talk about "false" prophets and teachers. But all of us know "real" Godly people. You know those you see consistenly following the Lord. Especially those we fondly call "saints" of the church. We need to sometimes swallow our "pride" and go to someone for counsel.
*God can use circumstances, nature, art, movies, etc to help shape us and speak to us. I know this to be true. God has definately used some circumstances over the past year to get my attention. Sometimes, I think He was yelling at me. But I happily admit, although I'd been glad to do without some of these hard times, I've learned to "listen" a lot more! But one note... experineces must be grounded in the Bible as our ultimate source of truth.
2. Our encounters with God, sometimes leave us felling Overwhelmed, Sinful and Undone! Even when we feel our "best" in our relationship with God, when He truly reveals Himself to us... it might just be more than we are prepared for. Imagine if next Sunday, during "praise and worshp" if God's physical presence showed up? Are we ever worthy of that! ? ! Think about it... seeing God aged Moses (I have enough white hair already). Elijah hid in a cave. The shepherds saw an angel and became like "dead men". No matter how well "prepared" we are, God is perfect and holy, and any thing less can NOT survive His presence. What things in your life (or mine) do we need to be ashamed of and fix? Hmmm....
3. When God speaks..... We are Changed!!! This is my favorite part. When we finally admit we are so unworthy... we are right where God wants us! We realize we deserve death.... and yet.... He gives LIFE! Wow.... if you are sitting still... read that again! Isaiah's sin and shortcomings were taken care of by a Seraphim and a hot coal. He was NEVER the same again! I'd really like to find an easier way than that to be forgiven and cleansed! OH WAIT.... I did, it's called the precious blood of Jesus!
There is a pattern and a process that God uses for reaching into our lives... and it's pretty simple.
We encounter God.
We are humbled before Him.
We are forgiven and restored.
We are given a mission and a purpose!
Well I'm out of coffee... so I'm going for today. Hope these thoughts have blessed you!
(Note: Our SS class is using the Bible Study for Teens - "Essential Truth - Inviting Christ Into My Reality" published by Serendipity House.)