God speaks, my friend. He really does! He speaks to people that have a will of their own.
God doesn’t speak to robots, but He does speak with people and that makes a huge difference.
I have an IPhone for instance. IPhone has this amazing feature called “SIRI”. It’s like a personal assistant that I can ask a lot of questions. Also, I can make requests. Let’s say I want to know what the weather will be tomorrow and SIRI will find it for me. The other day we playing with this cool feature at the dinner table asking SIRI some interesting questions like: “SIRI, do you love me?” or “SIRI, what do you think of me?”
Suddenly you realized you were dealing with an “IT” and not a person. Likewise, God deals with us as persons. Persons have thoughts, emotions and a will. He never violates that! God works with people, communicates with people and wants people to obey Him OUT OF LOVE, not an obligation. The only way to do that is through FAITH. The great faith chapter in the Bible, Hebrews 11, talks of many people in the Bible that lived by faith. It defined their relationship with God. It takes faith to cultivate that relationship with God as it takes also faith to actually hear from God.
But we are not alone in this. The Holy Spirit helps us to understand that soft voice. Jesus said Himself to His disciples:
“I still have many things to say to you, but you cannot bear them now. However, when He, the Spirit of Truth has come, He will guide you into all truth; for He will not speak on His own authority, but whatever He hears He will speak…” John 16:12-13
We have an ally in the Holy Spirit that still speaks to us. The whole point of it all is not hearing, for the sake of information or decision making. It’s about friendship with God. God wants to be your friend. God is still speaking and He really wants you to hear Him?
Let me close with two stories to make my point.
A few months ago, Janine came across a message on Facebook of a man in need of clothes and food. His story was quite sad and for a period he even lived on the streets. Finally, he was getting his life a bit more on track. He was in and out of work, so you can imagine that life was, well, tough. Janine contacted the man and he agreed to receive us in his place shortly after that first conversation on Facebook. We brought some food and toiletries, clothes and some personal stuff. Some of you in the church even helped out a bit. This man used to go to a church when he wa a teen, but for some reason, God wasn’t appealing to him. As soon as we visited him and gave the food and other items, the man started to talk and talk and talk. He knew I was a pastor of a church and he knew where these donations were coming from. So, he even spoke a bit about his church past.
In situations like this, what do you say to such a man? Do you invite him to come to church? He obviously had some sort of resistance to the concept of ‘church’ as he made that clear. Perhaps somewhere in the back of his mind he did believe in God, who knows.
As the conversation continued, I sensed that God was trying to tell me something. Several times I heard the word “shoulder”. Not with an audible voice, but still a sweet, soft voice, whispering “shoulder” several times. Now, the first thing that came to my mind was: “Why am I thinking of this?” and “This is just my thought. It doesn’t make sense.”
Finally, as Janine and I were almost going back to church where a youth event was going on, I asked the man for permission to just briefly pray for him. Reluctantly he agreed. Till then he did most of the talking. Now it was time for God to speak…
As I started praying with Janine for this man’s difficult situation, I prayed what we probably all would do. “God bless this man, provide in what he needs for the day and help him to get his life back on track.” Again, I heard the word “shoulder” but this time even more specific. This time I heard “left shoulder”. In faith, I continued the prayer, but then stopped and said to him and God at the same time: “Father, I pray as I sense you telling me, for this man’s left shoulder to be healed.”
I hadn’t said those words, or the man stepped backward, become pale and started sweating.
“Mate, you are freaking me out!”
I asked him why.
He replied: “I need to take cortisol shots every other week in my left shoulder because of pain. Mate, you are freaking me out! Are you a psychic or something?”
I told him I wasn’t.
All we could tell this man was this: “God is a speaking God who wants to communicate with us and I sensed in my heart that He wanted to tell you that. He is your Father and He loves you very much.”
The man was blown away.
The point is. God speaks. I am really not a super Christian. God wants to speak to all of us and it is based on friendship.
I promised you two stories. The second is fictitious. Let’s suppose you are sick and in a hospital bed. You are stuck and there is no family to help you out. You grab your phone and call a friend to swing by to bring some books to read. Now let’s imagine two scenarios.
In the first situation, the friend responds to the call, gets some books you asked for, but doesn’t visit you, see you or talk to you personally. Instead, he drops the books off at the reception, saying that you requested them. Unfortunately, your friend is quite busy, but he did do what you asked for. He brought you some books.
Now the second situation. Same story. This time your friend doesn’t only get you some books. He even gets you some food and things you like. Also, he visits you, spends time with you and talks to you for hours. Even though your friend is an important CEO of a big company, he does make time for you, because, well, he is your friend.
The point is simple. God didn’t just drop off His book for us to figure out what He wants. He is not that kind of a friend to us. He is like the CEO in the second situation. He wants to spend time with us.
God wants to come close. He wants to speak as He also longs to listen to what we have to say to Him. It’s personal and it’s friendly. And with any communication, it’s a two-way street. It’s both ways. He speaks, we listen. We speak, He listens!
For any communication to work, we need to stop sometimes with all other things, like the CEO friend that visited the lonely friend in the hospital, to be able to have a dialogue. God longs to hear your voice and He longs you to know His! That’s what friends do. They talk.
Jesus called us friends of God and friends speak with each other. God still speaks, my friend! In the next blogs, I will start with how God speaks through the Word. That’s where everything has to start. But we don’t stay there. God’s way of communicating with us is very creative and although it never contradicts the Bible, it may come still in ways we don’t always expect.