3 encouragements when you accept the life changing invitation to listen to the voice of God

Ocean

I have spoken elsewhere about the amazing prayer of Hannah that brought Samuel into the world. But even with a Godly heritage we still need to journey for ourselves into our relationship with God. J I Packer in his great book, Knowing God, warns about the danger of only learning things second hand about God. Even though I have Christians in my family tree going back at least into the 1800s I still need to personally build my friendship with Jesus.

I love the story of when Samuel begins to hear the voice of God. It can be a great encouragement for me you and I as we learn to hear from God. Here are 3 things to get you started.

There is an invitation of God for us to listen.

God thinks that it is very important for us to have the opportunity to listen to him. God could have made it very hard to hear from Him. But His heart is to be close to us. Actually the Gospel of John say, “And the Word became flesh and dwelt among us.” (1:14) God went to great length to invite us into conversation. Samuel heard that invitation from God.

God was persistent in His speaking while Samuel is figuring it out.

What a scene it must have been as Samuel ran back and forth to see if Eli was the one that was  calling him. I love God’s patience and persistence in this situation. God did not say, “Samuel” once and then say, “I guess he missed it. Time to move on.” He didn’t give up on Samuel in his season of learning and He won’t give up on you if you keep trying.

We don’t have to understand everything for God to speak to us.

It is easy in the process of learning God’s voice to get frustrated and give up because everything doesn’t make sense. 1 Peter reminds us that even the prophets didn’t understand all that God was saying because it was those later that would understand (1:10-12) So if God speaks to you and it takes a while to understand you are in good company. Samuel just started the process and grew in his relationship over time.

A key take away for me from the story of Samuel is how much God will work with us if we are willing to listen. It is His desire for us to hear His voice. It is His desire for that conversation to grow and develop over time. He is just looking for people like Samuel who will say, “Here I am.” Will you be one of those people?

How many people does it take to start a revival?

Math

Maybe it is the nerd in me but the math of this question is interesting for me to think about. The other part to the nerd in me is that I have probably read more than my share of church history and looked at the story of revival. I even updated Charles Finney’s Lectures on Revival for today’s reader. But I don’t want to just read about revival, I want to see the church experience it at whole new levels.

For part of my teenage years I went to a youth group with a motto of: We don’t want to be the youth group know for the largest ice cream sundae, but as the youth group that goes after God. With that attitude even as a teenager we experienced some amazing things and saw people far away from God come to Him. It put an imprint on my mind that Christians no matter the age can make an impact if they seek the Lord.

But how many people does it take to start something new for God? Let me challenge you with a thought. It is probably less than you think. I have written elsewhere about how people can make an impact on line for God in this day and age. God even taught us in the story of Gideon that it is important to Him that there is not too many people when God starts to save.

In the story of the Bible and the story of history it often starts with a small number. It is Gideon’s soldiers that I mentioned but also the 12 that Jesus called to be his disciples. It was 24 men and 24 woman that started the Moravian 24/7 prayer meeting that lasted for 100 years. It was a small group of people that met in a home that started the Azusa Street revival. It was a small group of writers and preachers that 500 years ago started the Protestant Reformation.

All of this should encourage us. You and your friends may be the spark of the next movement that God has for his church. Your love of your neighbor may bring about the awakening that your neighborhood needs. God is just looking for people like Moses, Samuel and Isaiah who say, “Here I am.” Will you be one of those people?

Imagine going on a walk with God

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I was reading my dad’s blog this morning and he shared a wonderful story of my great-grandfather and some important lessons for us on walking with God. I asked my dad if I could share his post with you and he graciously said I could. I hope this blesses you like it blessed me. Take it away Dad: 

 

I remember when I was a pre-teen and my grandfather used to visit us that he would love for me to join him as he went on his morning walks.  Normally it was mid morning, and he was always dressed in a suit jacket (open collar), and his hat and a walking cane!  This was the stylish thing to do, to carry a walking cane, and swing it with a special style!

I also liked to walk with him, because his pockets always contained candy which he would give to the neighbor kids, who would always come and talk to him.  I don’t remember any of the conversations I had with him, but I was just happy that he asked me to go with him on his walks.

I was reminded of this because as we read of Enoch in the Bible not much is said of Enoch, but what is said of him says much that we could heed for a relationship with God!

Enoch we find is in the lineage drawn between “Joseph the Carpenter” (remember him?) and Adam the first man, that God created!  He lived a total of 365 years which was “chicken feed” compared to his father Jared who lived 962 years, and Methuselah his son, recorded to be the oldest living person at 969 years!

But it says that “Enoch walked with God” (Genesis 5:22) and that “he pleased God” (Hebrews 11: 5)!   This is what drew me to Enoch!  We all desire to walk with God and to please God, especially if the end result is the same as of Enoch, because we find that it says, when Enoch walked with God and he was not, because God took him (5:24)

We see from the beginning that God liked to walk with his people.  It seems from Genesis 3, that everyday God would come and walk in the Garden of Eden with Adam and Eve.  And here he walks with Enoch!  Oh how I would love to take a walk with God in the cool of the evening, or the morning!  But, maybe it is possible!

I see them have some animated conversations about all the beauty that surrounded them, the things which God said “was good” when he created them, including the people!  I see Enoch walking on Cloud 9 for this privilege, because Hebrews 11:5 says, ‘he pleased God’.  Why does the term, “Lord of the Dance” keep popping in my head?  Is it because I see children break out into impromptu moments of dance, when they are happy?  Was Enoch like this when he was walking with God?

There was another thought about Enoch from Hebrews 11: 5 and 6, which I had not seen before.  Verse 6 always stood apart to me, but here I see that as it follows verse 5 and it connects to the mention that Enoch pleased God.  How did he do it?

Hebrews 11: 5-6 gives us the answer. By faith.  Faith in what?

1.  That He exists

2.  That He cares enough to respond to those who seek him.

So what was Enoch doing?  He believed God, and I guess he had a personal relationship with God and walked with God.

And finally I was seeing Enoch in Jude 1: 14-16 coming back with Jesus and a thousand angels in the last days… just like he was taken away!  Two people had this experience of been taken away by God, without seeing death, Elijah (2 Kings Chapter 1) and Enoch in (Genesis 5).  (Side note:  It helps to have your name start with the letter “E” if you want to experience “translation”!!!!  Just kidding.)

                     Yes, we can walk with God because he wants to walk with us, and yes we can please God, because all we need to know and believe is that God exists and that He cares to respond to me if I seek Him?