I’m only one week into my DTS, but already the Lord has taught me some pretty mind-blowing things about Himself. Sunday through Tuesday were dedicated to registration and orientation; just getting all of the basics out of the way so we could start focusing on the bigger things. YWAM has a list of foundational values that they live by and these values are evident in how they live and how they make decisions. One of the things they value is family. This value can be seen in many aspects here in Perth, from morning chores to daily work duties. Everyone pitches in to take care of the facilities the Lord has entrusted to us as a family. Each student has 30 minutes of assigned morning chores and two hours of work duties each weekday. Work duties include food preparation, registrar’s office, dishes, maintenance, and cleaning. I, by the grace of God, was assigned to work in the café. This means I’ll be cranking out delicious drinks and free smiles each afternoon. The memories from my glory days at Dunkin’ Donuts are flooding in…
Now to the super fun and exciting part of my week: Lecture. Each week we’ll dig into different aspects of the knowledge of God. At the end of the week we’ll turn in a journal that contains answers to specific questions that are designed to help us process through the things we’ve learned that week. Our journal has to have a title and after praying about what the title should be, I came up with “All in.” I’m ready to go all in. I don’t want to be lukewarm and fit God into my day when it’s convenient. I want my life to be consumed by God and the only way this will happen is if I’m all in. Here is the cover I put together for my journal…
This week’s topic was Hearing God’s Voice. I have lots of pages of notes, so the re-cap below is only the tip of the iceberg when it comes to everything that we learned.
There are 3,000+ references in the Bible to God speaking. God spoke the world into being. He didn’t create with His hands, and He didn’t create from raw material. He created something from nothing, and He did it by speaking.
John 10:1-4, 27 says:
“I tell you the truth, the man who does not enter the sheep pen by the gate, but climbs in by some other way, is a thief and a robber. The man who enters by the gate is the shepherd of his sheep. The watchman opens the gate for him, and the sheep listen to his voice. He calls his own sheep by name and leads them out. When he has brought out all his own, he goes on ahead of them, and his sheep follow him because they know his voice… My sheep listen to my voice; I know them, and they follow me.”
Our speaker highlighted that the verse doesn’t say, “The sheep who have known him for 10 years know his voice” or “The sheep who graduated from seminary know his voice.” The verse says that his sheep follow him because they know his voice. If you have accepted Jesus as your Savior, you’ve already heard His voice. God speaks, and we as His sheep have the ability to hear His voice.
God is infinite; He is immeasurable; He is unlimited. We are finite; We are measurable; We are limited. God is infinite, yet He’s also personal. Have you ever thought about that? He’s relational. He communicates. He became human. He wants us to relate to Him and wants us to know Him. He wants to be intensely and personally involved. This is mind-blowing. The creator of the universe, the One who spoke the earth into being from nothing, wants to talk with you. Luke 12:7 says that “indeed, the very hairs on your head are all numbered.” How many hairs are on my head? I have no clue, but God does. Our speaker gave a great visual. He said there are 7+ billion people on the earth. If there were a slideshow displaying 5 faces a second, it would take roughly 44 years to watch, and that’s not including pee breaks. That’s a lot of people. So why does God want to talk to you? Let’s be honest. You and I are just two of 7+ billion people and really not important in the grand scheme of things. God wants to talk with you because God is relational and He wants to have a relationship with you. Let’s be clear. God certainly didn’t create us because He needed us. He was not bored or alone before we came along. He is 3-in-1 and there is nothing boring about Jesus. So He didn’t create you because He needed you. You, however, need Him. If you’re a parent, you know that you don’t need your kids. My mom and dad don’t need me. Your kids were created out of an overflow of love and you want your kids, but you don’t need them. Ephesians 1:5 says, “he predestined us to be adopted as his sons through Jesus Christ, in accordance with his pleasure and will – to the praise of his glorious grace, which he has freely given us in the One he loves.” Why does God use the example of adoption? Adoption is purposeful and intentional. When a child is adopted they are wanted. If you were born into your family, you may or may not have been wanted. There are no accidents in adoption, though. In some places, the law states that an adopted child can never be disowned and they will always be in the family.
God wants to talk with you because He wants to teach you His ways. Psalm 25:14 says, “The Lord confides in those who fear him; he makes his covenant known to them.” Isn’t that crazy? The Lord wants to confide in you. He wants to share things with you that you wouldn’t naturally know. He wants to teach us why He does stuff. Psalm. 103:7 says He made known His ways to Moses, his deeds to the people of Israel. You can read the story in Exodus 20. Moses learned the ways of God personally, while the children of Israel stood far off and only knew of His deeds.
God wants to talk with you because He wants to guide you. Jeremiah 29:11 says He has plans for us. He’s not saying that because He wants to tease you and keep His plans from you. He wants to communicate those to you. Isaiah 58:11 says, “The Lord will guide you always.” This is a promise. The knowledge He reveals isn’t valuable unless it’s applied or used or practiced. Prov 3:5-6 says “Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge Him, and He will make your paths straight.” We are dependent upon hearing His voice. This means confessing that you don’t know the way, and asking God to show you what to do. And when He speaks, listening and doing what He says, even if it sounds stupid.
How does God speak? God doesn’t necessarily speak to all of us in all of these ways, but He does speak in these ways:
1. Bible: 2 Tim 3:16 says that “all Scripture is God-breathed.”
2. Teaching: God speaks to you through other people.
3. Scripture/Reference: When you’re praying about something and a scripture/reference comes to mind.
4. Through vision/what we see: In Acts 10, Peter sees a vision and God is telling him to bring the Gospel to the Gentiles.
5. What we Hear: Some have heard the audible voice of God, but it’s usually that still small voice that prompts us. Our speaker gave us an example of a girl from YWAM who went into the city to tell people about Jesus and asked God to tell her who to talk to. She saw a man and asked God if she should talk to him. She heard God say, “His name is James.” She decided to give it a go, and see if it was really God’s voice that she heard. She walked over to the man and said, “Is your name James?” His eyes got wide and said, “How did you know my name?” She said, “I didn’t know your name, but I saw you sitting over here and asked God if I should talk to you and He told me your name was James.” She proceeded to tell Him that God saw Him, and not only that, but He knew Him and wanted to have a relationship with Him.
6. What we feel: The peace that passes all understanding. God has the ability to bring peace even when our circumstances should bring anxiety.
Biblical principles for hearing God’s voice:
1. Tune in to the right frequency. Think back to the old radios where you had to fine-tune the dial to the right place in order to hear the station clearly. It’s the same with hearing God. You’ve got to make sure that you’re tuned into the right frequency so you can hear him without all the pops and crackles.
2. Humility: If anyone could have done it their own way, it was Jesus, but He didn’t. He fully submitted to God to show us that you cannot do anything of significance apart from God. Humility occurs when you realize that you are completely unnecessary and replaceable, yet completely wanted and desired by God. Pride wants to direct our lives. To be living within the boundaries of God’s will is complete freedom, not bondage. James 4:6; Psalm 25:9; Psalm 53:2; Psalm 19:13.
3. Faith: Hebrews 11:6 says that “without faith, it is impossible to please God, because anyone who comes to him must believe that he exists and that he rewards those who earnestly seek him.” Exodus 15:13; Psalm 32:8; Isaiah 30:21; Isaiah 48:17.
Barriers to Hearing God’s Voice:
1. Unconfessed sin: Psalm 24 outlines the “clean heart principle”. When we have unconfessed sin, we can’t communicate very well. Ask God to show you where you’re wrong. Ask him to show and convict you of unconfessed sin and allow him to deal with the sin in your life.
2. Have a yielding will: Luke 22:42
3. Wait patiently and quietly and listen: Have a focused time of solitude. Learn the art of being quiet. Part of this is simply telling your mind to be quiet.
4. Recognizing the Voice: There are three voices that we hear: The voice of self (Proverbs 28:26; 2 Corinthians 10:5; Isaiah 55:8), the voice of Satan (James 4:7), and the voice of God (Psalm 29:3-10).
We did an exercise where we all went to separate, quiet places, and we walked through these four steps. I asked God to point out unconfessed sin in my life. He did, and I quickly apologized and asked for forgiveness. After we had gone through these four steps, we were instructed to ask God, “God, what do you think of me?” This is a loaded question and has the potential to come back with all sorts of things I may or may not have wanted to hear. Immediately after I asked the question, Zephaniah 3:17 came to my mind. This is a verse I have read before, but do not have memorized. I opened my bible to see what it said. It says, “The Lord your God is with you. He is mighty to save. He will take great delight in you, he will quiet you with his love, he will rejoice over you with singing.” This was a pretty cool moment. To have the Lord respond by telling me that he not only loves me, but he actually likes me. He delights in me. He quiets me with his love. He rejoices over me. Mind. Blown.
My word count is quickly approaching 2,000, so I should probably wrap this post up…
Here are some specific things you can be praying for:
1. Team unity. We have 11 students on our team and 3 staff. I am the oldest, and I feel like the Lord has given me the little brothers and sisters I never had. I laugh a lot throughout the day with them, and I feel like we all get along really well. This is a blessing! Please pray that our unity would strengthen and that we would continue to grow closer together in Christ.
2. Hunger and desire for the Lord: Please pray the I would be devoted to follow wholly after the Lord. Please pray that I would have a heart full of hunger, thirst and desire for the Lord. That I would be deliberate in setting time aside to spend with Him each day in order to build a kindling around my heart. A fire that isn’t continually fed will naturally die out.
3. All in. Please pray that God would speak to me and remind me that there is nothing else that compares to the surpassing greatness of knowing Christ. That going all in is the only option that makes sense.
“But whatever was to my profit I now consider loss for the sake of Christ. What is more, I consider everything a loss compared to the surpassing greatness of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord, for whose sake I have lost all things. I consider them rubbish, that I may gain Christ and be found in him, not having a righteousness of my own that comes from the law, but that which is through faith in Christ – the righteousness that comes from God is by faith.” Phil. 3:8-14.
I would love to be lifting you up in prayer, so if there is anything that I can be praying for, please let me know.