Week 12

Faith: Hearing His Voice

Prayer is like saying, "Hello, God, it's me. I believe You created me and that You know way more about how I should live my life than I do. I'd like to get to know You better. Here's what's going on in my life, and I'd sure like Your thoughts on how to handle it. Would You please speak to me about this today?"

When you pray aren’t you really hoping for an answer? Prayer is such an important part of hearing His voice. If you want to hear from God you have to have faith that He will answer. In Psalm 91 God says

“Because he loves me," says the LORD, "I will rescue him;
 I will protect him, for he acknowledges my name.

He will call upon me, and I will answer him;”

God says if you love Him, He will rescue you, if you acknowledge Him, He will protect you and if you call upon Him, He WILL answer. 

If you are calling out to Him and long to hear His voice but haven’t, it might be because you aren’t quite sure how to listen. A question I hear often is, “How do you know it’s God? Does He speak with an audible voice?”

Some will hear His voice loud and clear but for most we “hear” His voice in other ways. Henry and Richard Blackaby’s book, “Hearing God’s Voice,” explains that people typically hear God speak through:

The Bible

The Holy Spirit 

Thoughts and Prayers 

Circumstances 

Conversations

The Bible

It is so important for any Christ follower to read the Bible. In 2 Timothy 3:16 it says, “All Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness”. The Bible is the word of God. God used several different authors but all the words come from God.

In the book “Hearing God’s Voice” it states that “When God speaks He does not give new revelation about himself that contradicts what He has already revealed in Scripture. Rather, God speaks to give application of His word to the specific circumstances in your life.” In order for you to know if you are hearing from God you must know God and the best way to know God is to read the Bible. You won’t know if something contradicts God’s character unless you really know God.

“My sheep listen to my voice; I know them, and they follow me.” John 10:27

It amazes me how often scripture has brought clarity to tough situations in my life. I can recall multiple times when a verse jumped out at me and gave me the answer I was looking for.

The Bible also tells you that Jesus is God in the flesh. Therefore, if you want to hear the voice of God, it is helpful to learn what Jesus taught and how He lived. Reading the Red Letters in the Bible is such a great way to learn more about Jesus. The Red Letters are found in the Gospels and are the words Jesus actually spoke. 

Have you ever tried to carry on a conversation of any depth with a person you did not know? It doesn't usually go very far. Take time to get to know God and study the gospels to learn more about Jesus. The more you know about Him, the more meaningful and personal your conversations will be.

The Holy Spirit

Shortly before He was crucified, Jesus met with His disciples to reassure them of what would happen after He was gone. He promised them a helper: "And I will ask the Father, and he will give you another Counselor to be with you forever - the Spirit of truth. The world cannot accept him, because it neither sees him nor knows him. But you know him, for he lives with you and will be in you." (John 14:16-17).

This to me is so amazing. When we believe that Jesus died and was resurrected, part of God lives in us. Take a moment to let this sink in. 

The Holy Spirit lives in you. God planned this from the beginning. He wants to communicate with you and guide you through life so He came to live in you. Wow! 

But the Counselor, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in my name, will teach you all things and will remind you of everything I have said to you." (John 14:26). We are told that God sent the Holy Spirit, to teach us which means He must communicate with us. 

I know what you might be saying, “I believe the Holy Spirit is in me and He wants to teach me, but how do I know His voice from mine?” I have to go back to the Bible to answer this. In verse      it says, “The sheep know the shepherds voice. We have to know Jesus if we want to know His voice. Also, God will never say something to you have goes against what He already told you in the Bible. He won’t contradict Himself. 

A great book to read about the Holy Spirit is, “Forgotten God” by Francis Chan.

Thoughts and Prayers

“What God has to say to us is infinitely more important than what we have to say to Him, yet we generally monopolize the conversation” (from Hearing God’s Voice). Do you look at God as a “911” call or do you really want His advice in all areas of your life. When you pray, don’t go at it with a “to do” list that when you are done reading you say “Amen”and end the conversation. You must leave time to be quiet. During that quiet moment, listen for God. It is then that you might have a name come into your mind or a situation you feel the need to pray for. Don’t ‘blow it off’ and say ‘I wonder why that came into my mind?’ That very thought might be God getting your attention. 

One morning I woke up with this strange feeling that I needed to pray for a friend. I remember praying, “God I don’t know why I am praying about this person but I know you have put her name on my heart.” A few nights later I woke up dreaming of the same person. She was doing something that she shouldn’t be doing...something that goes against God’s word.

God was trying to get my attention but instead of continuing to pray for my friend and going and talk to her, I went on with my days. I wish I had taken God’s voice more seriously. A few weeks later the dream came true and it caused my friend to experience so much pain. If I could go back in time I would have prayed more fervently for her, taken the dream more seriously and stayed closer to her. God was speaking to me but I didn’t act the way I should have.

If you are praying and asking God to speak to you and something comes into your mind, it’s a good chance it is God. In Jeremiah 29:13 He says “You will seek me and find me when you seek me with all your heart.” When you pray, seek God with all your heart and you will hear from him.

A great practice is to journal while you pray. Write down what you believe God is saying to you. This is one of the best ways to bring clarity to your thoughts.

Circumstances

God will use circumstances to communicate to you. This does not mean you need to read too deeply into everything that happens, but you should keep your heart and mind open to hearing God speak through a situation. Circumstances can be a bit confusing so pray and ask the Holy Spirit to help you understand the circumstances. 

The truth is some events occur and we don’t really understand them until years later. We must remember Romans 8:28, “And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose” God can use all the circumstances we go through for good. It’s so important that we remember this and ask God to show us how He is at work in each circumstance. 

Conversations

The first examples of God using people to speak for him were the prophets in the Bible. God still uses people to speak His words to others. Christ can use anyone to be a messenger. One of the clearest ways to hear God through others comes from the Church. Ever since Jesus went up to heaven the plan has been for Christians to gather together. You don’t have to attend church to have a relationship with Christ but you will be missing out on all God has to say if you don’t gather with other believers on a regular basis.

You can also go to friends who you know are believers, and ask their advice on a situation. Ideally, ask them to pray and see if God gives them direction. Be careful, though, if anyone gives you advice that goes against who you know God to be --- then you know that advice is not from God.

I might have told you this before, but I did not understand who Jesus was and the importance of the Bible until 2002 when I was 40 years old!

I can remember the first time I really believed God was talking to me. I was sleeping one night when I clearly heard “Feed the hungry,” Was it an audible voice or was it in my thoughts? I don’t know but it woke me up from a deep sleep and I had this overwhelming feeling that it came from God.

In the morning I mentioned it to my close friend and she replied, “I was at a meeting last night and Loaves and Fishes, a local food bank, who is trying to find someone to cook a hot meal for their shoppers” That night I went to a party and there was the women in charge of Loaves and Fishes (I had never met her before). I went up to her and mentioned all that had happened. She said “We’ve been praying for someone to come along who could cook a weekly meal.”

Being a new believer at the time, I was so thankful that God made His voice so clear to me. I had read in the Bible that Jesus wants us to care for the poor. God gave me the love and passion for cooking, He put the thought “Feed the hungry” in my mind, in a conversation with my friend I heard about a need. At just that time God put me in contact with the organization in need. It hasn’t always been that clear, but in this situation I knew it was time to start cooking!

If you are having a hard time hearing God’s voice, dig deep and think if there is any part of your life you are trying to hide from God because you know His plan is different then what you are doing? Talk to Him about this and ask for Him to help you get back on His path for your life. If you have broken relationships have your tried to mend them. I am not saying God is ignoring you because you aren’t perfect, but you might not have the ears to hear what He wants to say because of something in your life. 

Think of a time in your life when you heard God most clearly. Which of the five ways did you hear Him? What can you do to be led by God’s voice more consistently? 

Food: Something to Try

Our bodies will perform best when they are properly fueled.  Ideally, you should be feeding your body a minimum of 7 servings of fruits & veggies. Yes, you read that right SEVEN (not 7 fruit and 7 veggie but combined). Taking in enough fruits and veggies is challenging for so many of us. Here are some easy recipes to help you make it happen:

Fruit Smoothie

5 large frozen strawberries  

1/2 banana 

1 cup 100% juice

1/2 cup low-fat Greek yogurt

Vegetable Soup

6 Cups low-sodium vegetable broth 

28 ounce can diced tomatoes with juice 1 cup diced carrots 

1/2 cup diced celery

1/2 cup peas

1 cup diced red peppers

Season to taste

Put all ingredients in a pot and cook over low heat until vegetables are slightly softened (approx. 30 min)

 

Mexican Salad

1 cup chopped lettuce

1/4 cup diced tomatoes 

1/4 cup black beans

1/4 cup organic corn 

1/4 cup diced red pepper  

1/4 cup plain yogurt

1/4 cup salsa

For salad dressing blend yogurt and salsa (if it is too thick add a little milk). Mix together all ingredients and enjoy!

Roasted Vegetables

Sweet Potatoes - peeled and diced                                                 

Cauliflower broken into smaller sections                                          

Broccoli broken into smaller sections

Red Pepper diced 

Zucchini diced

Onion Diced

Grapeseed Oil (good oil for high heat) 

Salt, pepper, oregano (or any spices you like)

Preheat the oven to 450 degrees. Put all vegetables in large baking pan add oil and spices and stir. Cook for 45 minutes or until vegetables are softened and browning. I don't have quantities listed but I suggest making a big batch. They are great to have on hand when you need a snack you can warm a bit up.

Omelet

2 Tblsp. Vegetable Broth or 1 Tblsp Olive Oil                                               

2 eggs

1/2 cup cooked diced broccoli                                                                 

1/2 cup cooked diced zucchini                                                                                         

1⁄4 cup black beans

Salt and pepper to taste

Put broth or oil in a frying pan. Add broccoli and zucchini, cook over medium heat covered for about 8 min. Add black beans. Beat eggs and add to pan. Turn to low heat and cover. Cook until eggs are set.

Snacks

If you have healthy snacks ready to go you are more likely to eat them. I always carry a snack in my purse. Slice up some peppers and put them in snack bags. Wash your grapes and bag them so you can take them with you. Have apples, bananas, pears in your home. Making a small change like snacking on fruits and vegetables rather than packaged goods will make a difference in how you feel and look!

 

Weekly Goals

Each week you will be asked to set goals. Your goals can be about faith, fitness or food (or all 3). I highly recommend that you write them down and post them on your mirror or someplace you will see them often. When setting goals make them action oriented goals, not result goals.  Stay focused on doing the next right thing and be patient with the results. 

 

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