Publication: One-to-One, Autumn 2011
It is a familiar question to the people that I pastor—whenever we are meeting or discussing issues, I inevitably ask, “What is God saying to you?” I am one of those weirdoes who believes that God talks to people; I believe He talks to me, and He is talking to you as well. Don’t tell Richard Dawkins or Bill Maher, but I actually believe we can hear God and know His will.
Of course, this should not be a strange belief for any Christian, but sometimes we are intimidated by cultural commentators into thinking that perhaps we are odd if we can hear the voice of the Lord. In John 10, Jesus says that He is the “Good Shepherd” and that we are His “sheep”…part of His “flock”. Some today may consider those terms insulting: “I am NOT a sheep!” But when we understand the meaning of the word pictures that Jesus is painting for us, we begin to see the beauty and wisdom in them.
Jesus says, essentially, “I know My sheep and they know Me. They know (recognize) My voice; they listen to Me; they follow Me.” It is in hearing and following that we find “the still waters” and experience the restoration, protection, peace, and provision promised to us in Psalm 23. Many years ago, I was on a late night phone call with a church member who was going through troubles. It was during a season when I was getting many such calls, late at night. Hours and hours were spent listening, praying, advising, and often repeating myself to some folks who were seemingly disinterested in following through on anything discussed.
On this particular night, I wrapped up the phone call and then went down the hall to check on my little girl, who I thought was fast asleep. It was, after all, way past her bedtime, and once more, I had missed the opportunity to pray with her and tuck her in for the night. As I tip-toed into her doorway, she sat up and said, “Daddy, let me ask you a question!” I was surprised, but I said, “OK, what is it, sweetie?” She said, “When you get all these phone calls from people, do you ever ask them if they have talked to Jesus first?”
Right then and there, the Holy Spirit wrote that one on my heart.
God is speaking today, but can we hear Him? Are we listening? Too often, we are not even expecting Him to speak. Or, He says something we don’t like … maybe He shows us a way to go that we don’t want to go. Disobedience or rebellion will cause calluses on our hearts, our spiritual ears, and de-sensitize us to the voice of the Lord.
Another question: What are we doing with the last thing that God said to us? So often, we take a “cafeterian” approach to the word of the Lord. We want to pick “a little of this and a little of that” based upon our own tastes, rather than receiving all that God has for us. God doesn’t speak to us to give us goosebumps, but to edify us, to build His Church, and to extend His Kingdom.
Sometimes what we call the “Rhema” (now) word of God is really just a tickling of the ears given by someone trying to impress or please us. The Rhema word will never go against—and will always be confirmed by—the Logos (written) Word of God found in Scripture. Beware of anyone who tries to divorce the two in their teachings.
Isaiah 55 urges us to call upon the Lord while He is yet near. These are days to seek Him with our whole hearts, to repent of our own ways, and invite His Holy Spirit to restore and guide us in the right path. Shaking is happening and will continue, but His Word is forever settled in heaven, and upon this unshakable truth, we can find a place to stand.
Scripture Reference: John 10, Psalm 23, Isaiah 55
STEPHEN SIMPSON is the Editor of One-to-One Magazine and the Director of CSM Publishing. In addition to publishing ministry, Stephen has served in leadership for churches and ministries in Costa Rica, Florida, Mississippi, Texas, and Michigan, as well as being the Senior Pastor of Covenant Church of Mobile (2004-2013). He continues to travel in ministry across North America and in other nations.