Longing & Learning to Hear God

Longing & Learning to Hear God

As far back as I can remember, I longed to know God.  At my mother's knee, I would sit and listen to stories she would tell me from our big gilded Bible.  You know the one...with the records of births and deaths, marriages and first communions. But it wasn't until later, in my young adulthood, that I became aware that I could hear God's voice speak to me...not audibly, but in the still, small voice of His sweet Spirit dwelling within.

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Longing and Learning to Hear God

Longing and Learning to Hear God

As far back as I can remember, I longed to know God.  At my mother's knee, I would sit and listen to stories she would tell me from our big gilded Bible.  You know the one...with the records of births and deaths, marriages and first communions. But it wasn't until later, in my young adulthood, that I became aware that I could hear God's voice speak to me...not audibly, but in the still, small voice of His sweet Spirit dwelling within.

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That was for This: Marisa's Story

This is my young, beautiful, godly friend Marisa.   She is a sweet, gentle soul who loves the Lord, His Word, and her family.

I met Marisa in a Moms' Bible study/prayer group I was with several years ago.  And I fell in love with her!

Marisa is a hard-worker.  She has four children ranging in ages from 8 months to 8 years.  Just take a look at her delightful little cherubs:

Don't you just feel like grabbing them right off the screen to hug their adorable little necks?  Yet, as all moms know, those four precious kiddos, especially at those ages, would be a handful for any young mom.  But not only that, Marisa is homeschooling!

Let's just say, she's busy...and, I would image, tired!

Oh, to have a break!

Wait!  It's Saturday night and that means CHURCH! Ah, church, with its peaceful, uplifting hour or two of praise & worship and its nurturing from the Word. Surely, Marisa will have that much needed break as well!

But one such Saturday evening church service, the Holy Spirit had other plans for Marisa.  And she shared it in a comment on a previous blog post.  These are her words:

...I can find myself striving and striving some more to be what I think I should be, but it is ultimately Him in me that brings about any good.

And He is SO good to enable us to act upon the prompters He places upon our hearts.

One Saturday evening I had a distinct urge that I should go volunteer in the church nursery even though I hadn’t signed up for that particular date.

When I told the hall coordinator I could serve she started crying.

Her husband’s unbelieving parents had come to the service that evening and my offer allowed her husband to be free to sit with his parents during the sermon.

Does that amaze you, as it does me?  Here this young mom, who so deserved that much needed break, in a very real sense, died to her own self-interest.  Why would she do that?   In order that life could be offered to someone else.  She may not have even been thinking along those lines.  However, she followed, what I like to call, the Lord's Holy Nudge,* rather than her own self-interests and legitimate need for a time apart from kids.

She found to be true what Paul had written centuries ago,

[We are]...always carrying about in the body the dying of Jesus, so that the life of Jesus also may be manifested in our body. For we who live are constantly being delivered over to death for Jesus’ sake, so that the life of Jesus also may be manifested in our mortal flesh. So death works in us, but life in you. 2 Corinthians 4:10-12 NASB

Only eternity will tell what "life" might have been birthed as a result of Marisa's responding to the Spirit's Holy Nudge.*

What about you and me, my friend?  Are we following those inner promptings?  They may not be our imagination, but rather the Spirit's call to die to our own convenience, comfort, interests, so that the Lord's life can be birthed in another.

If we do, we can experience, in and through our lives, the outpouring of the indwelling life of Christ:

Truly, truly, I say to you, unless a grain of wheat falls into the earth and dies, it remains alone; but if it dies, it bears much fruit. John 12:24 NASB

*More about the Holy Nudge in our next post.

 

That was for This: Longing & learning to hear God

That was for This:  Longing & learning to hear God

As far back as I can remember, I longed to know God.  At my mother's knee, I would sit and listen to stories she would tell me from our big gilded Bible.  You know the one...with the records of births and deaths, marriages and first communions. But it wasn't until later, in my young adulthood, that I became aware that I could hear God's voice speak to me...not audibly, but in the still, small voice of His sweet Spirit dwelling within.

Read More

That was for This: Living the "Not I but Christ" Life

I've been thinking a lot lately about how God works within us...through circumstances, people, thoughts, events, to prepare us for what's ahead.  Maybe that's what Paul meant when he wrote,

...God is working in you, giving you the desire and the power to do what pleases him. Philippians 2:13 NLT

If that's true (and I believe it is), we can't take credit for anything...not even our praying and asking, not even our thoughts and desires.  Let me illustrate.

Early last month, I had just returned from a three week vacation, when I had to jump right into the beginning of school with its teachers' meetings, preps, and first week of class.  Then just as those preps and meetings were happening, I started getting sick.  To make a long story short, three weeks later my health finally began to turn the corner.  Needless to say, I was weak, under a pile of cleaning and laundry, when the Lord put a bizarre prayer in my heart,

Lord, make me spontaneously hospitable!

Now, why would I pray that?  I know that prayer didn't originate with me.  God Himself "set me up"!  In the course of my illness and recovery, someone had stopped by unexpectedly.  Later, I realized that I hadn't been as welcoming as I could have been.  Thus, my prayer!

They say you should watch what you pray for.  But my Bible says that it's the Holy Spirit that prays in and through us (Romans 8:26-29).

So you know what happened?  That's right!  Within days of that God-initiated and God-answered prayer, I got a phone call...right in the middle of my work week...with my house a wreck and with empty cupboards because of having been sick so long.  The phone call was a request for overnight lodging from my cousin for the following night.

"Well, of course!  We would be happy to have you!"

God Himself had made me more than willing.  He enabled me to quickly pull my house together and even have nutritious food ready:  chicken rice soup and vanilla cake with berries.  And best of all,  my husband John and I had a delightful visit with my cousin that evening as we listened to his adventures from his travels out West.

When all was said and done, I realized THAT WAS FOR THISThat prayer was for this overnight visit...giving me the desire and the ability to "pull it off."

I have many other stories of that was for this.  And maybe some of those will be for future blogs.  But for now, let me give you some Scriptures.  And then as you reflect on your own life, maybe you would like to share one of your that was for this situations.  You can do so in the comment section.  I would love to hear your stories as you give glory to the One Who is always working within us both to will and to do (Philippians 2:12-13).

 But by the grace of God I am what I am, and his grace toward me was not in vain. On the contrary, I worked harder than any of them, though it was not I, but the grace of God that is [united] with me. 1 Corinthians 15:10 ESV

But whoever does what is true comes to the light, so that it may be clearly seen that his works have been carried out in God. John 3:21 ESV

I am crucified with Christ: nevertheless I live; yet not I, but Christ liveth in me: and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by the faith of the Son of God, who loved me, and gave himself for me. Gal 2:20 KJV

For from Him [as the Source] and through Him [as the Means] and to Him [as the Goal] are all things. To Him be the glory forever. Amen. Romans 11:36 NASB