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By faith we understand that the worlds were framed by the word of God, so that the things which are seen were not made of things which are visible. Hebrews 11:3
We frame our worlds with the words we speak. ~ Christine Caine
In the beginning God spoke and the world we see around us, the light, the constellations, the air, the grass, the incredible diversity of plants and animal life, the majestic mountains and the depths of the oceans, it was formed by the words that God spoke.
Let there be light, and there was.
God continues to speak and continues to create in our lives.
Our world is still being created by the power of God’s Words.
And as image bearers of God, our words have power to frame our worlds.
Our words speak life or death, hope or hopelessness, light or darkness. There are consequences for the words we choose and speak. Our words frame how confident we feel and how fearlessly we tackle life. They infuse courage into our actions and choices. They look past circumstances and instead hold on by faith to the faithful promises of God.
Or in reverse, our words can shame and restrain us. They place walls around the opportunities and expect failure. Instead of creating, they decimate.
Psalm 141: 3 Set a guard, O LORD, over my mouth; Keep watch over the door of my lips
David was mostly good at this – it was his prayer in Psalm 141. If you read the psalms you see the authentic real life going ons of David. It’s like facebook BC. He is real about the hard times. He pours out his fears, his sorrows. But then he reminds himself that God is good and the best is yet to come. Sometimes we get real, but forget to then refocus on God.
Michael Hyatt wrote this on his blog: I think almost every problem we experience can be traced back to the stories we tell ourselves. There may be a good reason for these stories, but in the end they produce bad outcomes
He suggests we change our story, thus changing our life.
I suggest we align our story with God’s Word.
Not just the words contained within the pages of the Bible, but the personal words that God has breathed life into for each one of us. The things God has whispered into our heart.
He says you are loved.
He says you are chosen.
He says you are called.
He says you are empowered, to do all and everything that He has purposed you to do.
He says you belong.
We need to allow Him to write HIS story into our heart, changing the soundtrack of negativity and insecurity that we often play on repeat, replacing it with faith and fearlessness in the expansive grace of God.
This year let’s be really intentional about how we speak – about ourselves, about others, to ourselves to others.
The first time I heard God speak I was about 4 minutes old as a Christian. I had just got saved, in a shearing shed, and had gone back to my seat. I was all of a sudden filled with a warmth and a peace that i had never felt before. I felt God speak to me. It was amazing. and i was 4 minutes old, brand new.
But it’s also a learning process. We practice hearing His voice and recognising what He is saying and what He is leading us to do. Sometimes its not as easy and clear cut as it sounds like it should be, sometimes we can be distracted by our emotions and circumstances.
Each of us needs to learn from personal experience what it means to hear God given our unique background, personality, and life situation. They way that you hear God is likely to be somewhat different from how I hear God. But the beautiful amazing thing is that God speaks to us.
The God that created the universe, breathed the stars out, is eternal and unshakable, all powerful and glorious – that He speaks to us, that He is near and personal, interested in our lives and doing life with us.
How did Hosea know he was to marry a prostitute?
How did Isaiah know he was to be a naked prophet – for three whole naked cold years?
How did Paul face the storm and shipwreck without fear?
How did Joshua know the walls would fall down?
How did Elijah know to go to zarapeth?
These are all out there examples of people who did radical out there things when they heard from God.
Have you ever had that moment, you’re on the phone, having a great conversation, sharing your heart and then you realize it’s really quiet on the other end. The mmms and ahhas have stopped and there isn’t even any background noise. Silence. Disconnection.
Doesn’t it sometimes feel like that with God. You’re talking away, sharing your heart and then you wonder if there really is someone on the other end of the line.
Hello? God are you there?
David felt like this.
In numerous psalms he cries out “God do not be silent to me!”
Psalm 28:1-2 says:
To You I will cry, O Lord my Rock:
Do not be silent to me,
Lest, if You are silent to me,
I become like those who go down to the pit.
Hear the voice of my supplications
When I cry to You,
When I lift up my hands toward Your holy sanctuary.
And like he says: When God is silent it’s the pits.
We wonder what has caused the disconnection. What went wrong? Was it something I said? Something I did. Someone I am?
There is a great parallel linking between when God passed by Elijah on the mountain in 1 Kings 19 and when God appeared to Moses on the mountain in Exodus 19.
Exodus 19:16-20 describes: “On the morning of the third day there was thunder and lightning, with a thick cloud over the mountain, and a very loud trumpet blast. Everyone in the camp trembled. Then Moses led the people out of the camp to meet with God, and they stood at the foot of the mountain. Mount Sinai was covered with smoke, because the LORD descended on it in fire. The smoke billowed up from it like smoke from a furnace, the whole mountain trembled violently, and the sound of the trumpet grew louder and louder. Then Moses spoke and the voice of God answered him.”
Compare this to when God revealed Himself to Elijah on the mountaintop.
1 Kings 19:11-13 says : Then He said, “Go out, and stand on the mountain before the Lord.” And behold, the Lord passed by, and a great and strong wind tore into the mountains and broke the rocks in pieces before the Lord, but the Lord was not in the wind; and after the wind an earthquake, but the Lord was not in the earthquake; and after the earthquake a fire, but the Lord was not in the fire; and after the fire a still small voice. So it was, when Elijah heard it, that he wrapped his face in his mantle and went out and stood in the entrance of the cave. Suddenly a voice came to him, and said, “What are you doing here, Elijah?”
Elijah, being a prophet of God, versed in Jewish history and the presence of God would have known about how God works around mountains. Perhaps he expected, since God had sent him to a mountain that he would hear the thunderous might of His voice, described in psalms as a multitude of waterfalls and thunders.
But God pulled the unexpected on Elijah. He spoke to Moses with power and noise but He spoke to Elijah with stillness and a whisper. Rather than manifest Himself in all His brilliant glory and splendid power, He chose to use His still quiet voice..
God doesn’t always whisper. Sometimes He shouts and creates quite a moment. When God visited Moses and the multitudes at Mt. Sinai, he didn’t use His “inside voice.”
It’s important to hear God how He is speaking though. Sometimes God speaks with great volume… other times He speaks so softly we have to be listening to hear Him.
Dont go looking for the noise and discounting the quiet if that is how God is speaking today. Dont try and turn up the volume when God is whispering. Listen. God speaks.
*** as seen on tyler perry’s fb page that i came across while writing my GOD SPEAKS THROUGH OTHERS message
I was running today and I said, "good afternoon" to this lady. She was out on the trail walking. She said, "not bad for 79.” So, I decided to stop and talk to her. She had no idea who I was, but she was so sweet. She said, “Young man, I’ve been through a lot. Lots of people give up, but trust in The Lord. He won’t let you down.” I told her I do trust Him. Then I told her my name, not expecting her to know who I was, but she said “THE Tyler Perry? You just made my day!" I said to her "no ma’am, you just made mine." Out here walking miles at 79 and spreading the love of God. Her name is Joan Bennett. Here’s to you Ms. Bennett. May God bless you as much as you blessed me today.
“There are four principles we need to maintain:
First, read the Word of God.
Second, consume the Word of God until it consumes you.
Third believe the Word of God.
Fourth, act on the Word.” Smith Wigglesworth
Before you get started, think through the following:
- When will you read? Do you have a consistent time?
- Where will you read? Do you have a consistent place?
- What will you read? Do you have a plan?
- What do you need? Do you have a Bible, journal, pen and highlighter?
You should always approach the Scriptures in a posture of prayerful humility and longing. Ask God to:
- Incline you entirely to His Word.
- Open your eyes to see the beautiful wonders of Christ and the glories of the gospel.
- Unite your heart to fear His name, knowing that your desires are ever divided.
- Satisfy you with His steadfast and unfailing love.
The first step of study is to simply read the passage a few times to get an idea of the content, context and flow. Highlight particular sections that stand out so that you can come back to them later.
What do you see?
Observation lays the groundwork for all subsequent study. Cutting corners in this step can cause the entire process to unravel.
What are you observing? Everything. Your goal is not to determine what is and is not significant. Everything is significant. Observation is kind of like panning for gold. Your goal is to dig up as much as possible and allow the later processes to sift the gold.
- Mark up the passage. Don’t be afraid to write in your Bible. Circle, underline and highlight. Write in the margins. Get creative.
- List 2-3 overarching themes you see in the passage.
- List at least two observations per verse. The more the merrier.
- Write down questions to think through in the step of interpretation.
What does it mean?
Your observations will most likely lead to interesting and challenging questions about the text. The step of interpretation allows you to sift through the various observations in order to provide answers.
…accomplishing the action?
…the action taking place?
What is the…
…meaning of this word?
…significance of this phrase?
…implication of this statement?
Why did the author…
…choose this word?
…include this phrase?
…use this command?
…connect these ideas?
…not say ____?
- Consider the context.
- Compare multiple translations (ESV, NASB, NIV, HCSB).
- Look up key words.
- Check out cross-references to see how this passage relates to others.
- When stumped, list out all the various options and pros and cons of each. After due consideration, use supplemental resources such as the ESV Study Bible or commentaries for helpful insights and background information.
- Don’t stop until you have considered how this passage fits into the overarching redemptive plan of God – the gospel. How does this passage relate to the person and work of Christ?
- Make sure to discuss insights and questions with your spouse and gospel-centered community.
What do I do with it?
Bible study is incomplete until you have thought through how to apply the particular passage to your life. Some passages will be more readily applicable than others, but all Scripture is useful and helpful (2 Tim. 3:16-17).
- List out a number of potential applications. To get started, here are a few questions to consider:
- Is there an example for you to follow?
- Is there a sin to repent of and/or avoid?
- Is there a promise to trust?
- Is there a prayer to repeat?
- Is there a command to obey?
- Is there a condition to meet?
- Is there a verse to memorize?
- Is there an erroneous view exposed?
- What else is the Lord pressing upon you?
- Choose one or two particular applications and prayerfully consider how you might pursue greater faithfulness in them. Be specific about what you will do (or not do) and whom you will ask (in addition to the Lord) to help you.
from The Village Church HERE
1. Take a passage or paragraph and read it 3-4 times.
2. Then make a list of every thing it says about God (Father, Son & Holy Spirit)
3. List anything that it tells you about yourself
4. List example to be followed, commands to obey or things that need to be avoided.
Then choose one or two thing that you think were most important or the best thing that you learned from the reading. Keller says that mediation is talking to yourself about God, in the presence of God (Psalm 103).
Keller recommends 2 ways to meditate upon the passage:
- The Shorter Way
Ask yourself how you would be different if this truth was explosively alive in my inner being? Secondly, ask why is God showing me this passage today? What is going on in my life that i need to learn this truth?
- The Deeper Way
ACTS= Adoration, Confession, Thanksgiving & Supplication
Adoration: What can I praise God for in this truth?
Confession: What false attitudes, behaviour emotions or idols come alive in me whenever I forget it?
Thanksgiving: How is Jesus Christ or the grace that I have in Jesus Christ the key to help me overcome the sin that I have just confessed?
Supplication: What do I need to do or become in light of this?
“Read a text and begin to mediate on it until the Holy Spirit starts to preach to you” Tim Keller
God’s Word needs to be alive and active in you NOW. It needs to be acted upon and listened to and done NOW.
we need to STORE it in our hearts BEFORE we need it. in times we face trials and tests and the Word is our SWORD and SHIELD – it is an offensive weapon and a defensive weapon. it speaks hope, encouragement, strength, peace, love and joy to our hearts. sometimes it keeps us sane and pressing forward as we face battles. store the promises of God BEFORE we need them – know the Word BEFORE we need to know it!
So how do we have God’s Word LOUD within usas the dominant voice:
1. Read it
So be strong and brave! Be careful to do everything my servant Moses taught you. Never stop reading The Book of the Law he gave you. Day and night you must think about what it says. If you obey it completely, you and Israel will be able to take this land. Joshua 1:6-8
Everything in the Scriptures is God’s Word. All of it is useful for teaching and helping people and for correcting them and showing them how to live. 2 Timothy 3:16
2. Let the Holy Spirit teach you and speak to you
However, as it is written: “No eye has seen, no ear has heard, no mind has conceived what God has prepared for those who love him”— but God has revealed it to us by his Spirit. The Spirit searches all things, even the deep things of God. For who among men knows the thoughts of a man except the man’s spirit within him? In the same way no one knows the thoughts of God except the Spirit of God. We have not received the spirit of the world but the Spirit who is from God, that we may understand what God has freely given us. 1 Corinthians 2:9-11
But the Holy Spirit will come and help you, because the Father will send the Spirit to take my place. The Spirit will teach you everything and will remind you of what I said while I was with you. John 14:26
This takes TIME and practice… its like learning a friends voice over the phone or working out how your husband and wife really think and feel about things or being able to recognize what the baby wants by its cry… it takes time, its relational, it’s a learning process…. It wont happen over night but it will happen. God is in the business of teaching us how to hear His voice. He doesn’t throw us in the middle of the Pacific Ocean and say SWIM – it’s a day by day process and if we’re willing to hear and learn it goes well!
3. Do it. Obey it. Live it…
Obey God’s message! Don’t fool yourselves by just listening to it. If you hear the message and don’t obey it, you are like people who stare at themselves in a mirror and forget what they look like as soon as they leave. But you must never stop looking at the perfect law that sets you free. God will bless you in everything you do, if you listen and obey, and don’t just hear and forget. James 1:22-25
Read it. Let the Holy Spirit teach you. Do it.
Smith Wigglesworth puts it like this:
“There are four principles we need to maintain:
First, read the Word of God.
Second, consume the Word of God until it consumes you.
Third believe the Word of God.
Fourth, act on the Word.”
Why does having a “quiet time” seem so hard?
Have we forgotten the art of meeting with God and praying?
As Christians “we underestimate the Bible.”
We know its God’s Word but we don’t treat it like that, we don’t follow its guidelines or invest time into reading it. We don’t truly value it because we underestimate it. We must be re-inspired to reconstruct our times with God and to re prioritize reading our Bibles, to hear His voice.
Here are a couple of keys that might help refresh this vital time we have – the opportunity to read God’s Words, His letter to us, His revelation of WHO He is and how He loves us…
Get yourself a Bible plan, like one year bible or something. YOUVERSION is amazing. You can get different plans and devotionals at the click of a button. Find one that works for you and inspires you.
Now with your Bible plan make sure it is one that you can “have off days” in – we all have days when we don’t get time or make time to read the Bible because of life and things so make sure your plan is one that the whole plan doesn’t collapse if you miss a day or a month or something. The one year Bible plan is good because you just pick up on the date you are. Eventually throughout your 80 year or so life you’ll get to read those other bits… don’t sweat it right now.
It takes 21 days to make a habit – so begin and continue. Once the habit is formed it will flow a bit more naturally. When we have a regular time reading our Bible we are creating opportunities for God to speak.
* disclaimer… now many people don’t like plans… they don’t read to hear God’s voice but find themselves reading to check that tick box.. Xo be intentional in reading to hear God’s voice, not just to complete a plan or complete a task… let it be a framework that points you to a passage and creates a regular rhythm of reading the Bible…
When you are reading the bible you are not reading to absorb and learn the whole thing.
You are looking for THE ONE THING.
The one thing is the thing that jumps out at you.
It is the thing that God is ILLUMINATING to you.
You might not think – oh that is just my mind i am just drawn to that – but the neat thing is that that is how the Holy Spirit speaks! That is good!
God speaks through His Word. So when you are reading you are looking for the one thing. That one thing is the thing to focus on, think about, meditate upon etc.
Write it down. Record it. Chew it over. Write notes about it. Listen for the life God breathes into it. Listen to what God is saying.
**** preaching notes from preaching last night at The River
Confession time. So I did this crazy thing on Monday. I drove past a woman hitching on Avimore, and felt God say, with a bit of a woosh in my heart, turn round and pick her up.
Um no God, I don’t do hitch-hikers. I’m a woman. I’m 5 foot one. I don’t know jiu-jitsu.
Pick her up.
So, I swung around, u-turned and picked her up.
Turned out she was heading only about 5 minutes away and while I had only intended to take her to the end of avimore… I took her to where she was going.
We chatted on the way, as one does.
She was like “I cant believe you stopped” and I was like on the inside “I cant believe I stopped”
But I knew why I had.
“I’m a Christian, I believe God is real and he loves you, and you know, I really felt from God to turn around and pick you up and help you out. Weird eh, but He cares about those things.”
“That’s cool. I cant believe you picked me up!”
It wasn’t a huge conversation. We drove for only about 5 minutes, I dropped her off. But I know that God was using that moment to speak to this young woman. If anything, she knows that He saw and cared.
All the time God is speaking. To me, to you.
He wants to speak TO you and THROUGH you.
God has a history of speaking to us THROUGH people.
He reveals Himself as the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob. People. Not just heroes or giants of the faith but real flesh and blood people. People who were husbands, fathers, friends, neighbours, workers, employers. Today He speaks through people.
“Embedded in the larger story of redemption is a principle we must not miss: God uses ordinary people to do extraordinary things in the lives of others.”
He is the God of Peter, of Oliver, of Jennifer, of Claire. And people learn about God and see Him THROUGH people like you and me.
We live in a world where there are so many voices coming at us from every direction. Even our own voice doesn’t stop. Everything and everyone competes for our attention and ear space. But not everything speaking is good. There are voices with an agenda to kill, steal and destroy. And the only one that speaks perfectly is God. So how do we hear His voice more clearly?
It’s important in this sea of voices to hear clearly from God.
It’s important to hear HIS heart and His guidance.
God’s Words will change your future. God’s Words will change a nation. God’s Words will define our life. God’s Words will define our marriage, our children, our identity, our dreams, our destiny. We need to hear His voice.
God’s voice is powerful. In the beginning God SPOKE and there was light. God said and creation was created. And His words still carry power. The disciples said “You have the words that give eternal life.”
God is speaking. Are we listening? Is His voice the loudest?
In a world of noise how do we hear His voice with a greater clarity?