Time Out (by Jerry Schmoyer)
Have you ever had anyone open a conversation with you by saying, “God told me to tell you…” Whenever I heard that I immediately became skeptical. I guess I was a bit jealous because it didn’t seem God ever told me anything. So I make an in-depth study about how God speaks to us, because I really wanted Him to speak to me as well. I’ve always desired deeper intimacy with God, so hearing Him talk to me was very important. As it turns out He had been speaking to me a lot more than I realized. The problem was that I usually didn’t recognize His voice. That may be the case with you as well. If so, the purpose of these blogs is to help you recognize and understand God’s voice for He really does speak to us today.
There is a real need for Christians today to learn how to listen to God. I read one author who said that 90% of Christians are more concerned about so-called “church-work” than about praying, and of the 10% left, 9% of those are much more willing to talk to God than listen to Him. In our relationships with others we are often more interested in talking and listening, and unfortunately we are often that way with God, too.
Which is more important: what you have to say to God or what God has to say to you? Which do you focus on more, talking to God or listening to God? We know He already knows what we are going to say before we say it, but we don’t know what He wants to say to us unless we listen to Him.
I”m convinced He wants to speak to us. He does speak to us often. He wants us to listen to Him. Psalms 81:13, “If my people would but listen to me…” Jeremiah 33:3, “Call to me and I will answer you and tell you great and unsearchable things you do not know.” Psalm 50:3, “Our God comes and will not be silent…” 1 Samuel 3:1-10, God spoke to Samuel as a boy.
God wants to fellowship with us, to communicate with us. He created us to have a personal relationship with Him. Not only does God desire to communicate with man, but man desires to communicate with God. Psalms 83:1, “O God, do not keep silent; be not quiet, O God, be not still.”
We know communication from God is possible for He is God. If He can hear us speak to Him, He can certainly speak to us as well. Not only is it possible, it is probable for He made us to relate to Him. Even more, it is necessary for it is the only way man can know God.
So man desires to speak to God just as God desires to speak to man. The Bible is full of examples of this in the past. When we see how common it was in Bible times we’ll realize it can be just as common today.
In the Old Testament God walked and talked with Adam in Eden, He spoke to Cain, Noah, Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, Joseph and Job. He spoke to Moses at the burning bush, in Egypt, in the desert and at Mt Sinai. We read that God spoke from the cloud as well as the Ark. He even spoke through a donkey to Balaam. It is recorded that God spoke to Samuel, David, Nathan, Solomon, Isaiah, Jeremiah, Elijah, Jonah, Ezekiel, Haggai, Zechariah and other prophets. Kings like Ahaz, Manasseh and Jehu heard from Him as well.
God spoke often to Jesus. He spoke to the leaders of the early church. Philip was told to go to the eunuch, Paul heard Him on the road to Damascus, Peter was told to go to Cornelius, Ananias to Paul and Paul to Macedonia. These and many other examples are listed on your handout if you want to look up any of them.
Thus we see that God did indeed speak in the past, often and to many different people. Therefore it is only natural He would do the same thing today. Charles Stanley says, “God not only speaks in general and absolute terms to all people, but He speaks to each one of us personally. We can hardly comprehend that possibility with our finite minds. God is an infinite God, and He is capable of communicating with each one of us, right were we are – in the midst of our current circumstances of crises – in very personal, direct and explicit terms.”
Jeremiah 33:3, “Call to me and I will answer you and tell you great and unsearchable things you do not know.”
- How important is it to you to listen to God?
- How much time do you spend listening to Him each day?
- Spend some time now sitting quietly listening to His Spirit speak to your heart.
Jerry Schmoyer has been a minister in Pennsylvania for over 25 years and has worked with teenagers for 15 years, ever since I became one myself. He authors the weekly Time Out series here at Life in Student Ministry in hopes to spiritually refresh your soul as you continually pour so much of yourself into students. God bless!
Posted on December 14, 2009