Hearing God when you need some help

The LORD says, “I will guide you along the best pathway for your life. I will advise you and watch over you.” Psalms 32:8.

I just love this promise. It’s absolutely incredible to know that God loves us so much that he will guide us, advise us and watch over us. He loves doing that!

I think about my son. He often comes to me and asks for help. I don’t shun him, tell him to get out or shut up. No, I love to help him and advise him when it’s in my power to do so. How much more does God enjoy helping us, who has all power.

In the Old Testament, it was quite common to “inquire of the Lord” when someone needed help.

    David inquired of the LORD, saying, “Shall I go and attack these Philistines?” And the LORD said to David, “Go and attack the Philistines, and save Keilah” (1 Samuel 23:2).
    The children of Israel inquired of the LORD saying, “Shall I yet again go out to battle against the children of my brother Benjamin, or shall I cease?” And the LORD said, “Go up, for tomorrow I will deliver them into your hand” (Judges 20:27, 28).

There are stories after stories of these divine inquiries. And, this was in the Old Testament. Today, under this new covenant, we are told that we can come boldly to the throne of our gracious God where we will find grace to help us when we need it (Hebrews 4:16).

Let me share with you an experience I had yesterday in hearing God. To start with, I wasn’t feeling very “spiritual”. The night before had been a difficult night, and I awoke with this heaviness on my heart. Let’s just say I wasn’t feeling very righteous.

Then, I remembered that righteousness is not based on how I feel, but on what Christ did for me. My sin is gone. My unworthiness is gone. I am righteous through what Christ did, not through what I do or have done or will do. With Christ in my heart, I can stand before God without fear.

I started to dig into some work that need to be done. I have this project that I’ve been working on for two years now, and we’re months away from launching it. Very exciting, but lots of work to do.

I had this one aspect of the project that I was struggling through. I couldn’t think of a creative approach to this one task, and needed some serious guidance. So, after realizing that God accepts me as I am and that I can come boldly to his throne in our time of need, I spent a few moments in my mind coming to the throne of grace.

As I stood there the spirit, I asked, “Daddy, you know this situation, and you know what I need to do. Can you give me some ideas on how to perform this task?”

Then, I had a thought, If you go Google this certain phrase, you’ll find many solutions. Sure enough, I found tons of ideas on how to solve this problem. I spent the rest of the day digging, searching, finding and resolving this issue that had been burdening me for months.

For the rest of the day, I was so excited, but not at finding a solution to a task that had weighed me down. No, my excitement was from hearing God. What an honor and privilege it is to hear my Father!

Hearing God – Removing the Veil

From Alan Smith’s Blog

2 Cor 3:16-18

    Nevertheless when one turns to the Lord, the veil is taken away. Now the Lord is the Spirit; and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is liberty. But we all, with unveiled face, beholding as in a mirror the glory of the Lord, are being transformed into the same image from glory to glory, just as by the Spirit of the Lord.

John 10:3-4

    To him the doorkeeper opens, and the sheep hear his voice; and he calls his own sheep by name and leads them out. And when he brings out his own sheep, he goes before them; and the sheep follow him, for they know his voice.

A veil is something that obscures, hides, covers, and separates. In the Tabernacle there was a veil which separated the rest of the structure from the Most Holy Place. God’s presence was behind the veil. On the other side of that big piece of fabric was a heavenly reality the people could not experience. When Jesus died, the veil in the Temple was torn top to bottom. Jesus has made a way for us to enter this heavenly reality and experience God’s goodness, nearness, and power first hand.

Each one of us has a veil like that. Even as believers, that heavenly reality can be obscured and hidden. Though the way is open it is possible to content ourselves with information about that heavenly reality without ever experiencing it ourselves. When we turn to the Lord, this veil is removed, taken away, lifted. The word “revelation” means exactly this – the lifting of the veil. When revelation occurs, the veil lifts. Revelation allows us to perceive what we couldn’t perceive before in ways we couldn’t imagine before.

We speak of this ongoing experience of revelation as “hearing” God’s voice. Don’t think of that word simply in terms of the transmittal of information to your ears. Rather, think of the broad spectrum of ways we see God reveal truth to his people within scripture. He speaks through scripture, his still small voice, dreams, visions, audibly and in many other ways. He talks, touches, and shows and through each of these his living Word is working to bring us into new depths of transformational experience.

What is our part in this? We turn to the Lord. The Shepherd speaks and we respond and somehow through this process of hearing and responding our capacity to hear grows. God has not just given us a book, he has poured out his Spirit. By the Spirit we are able to experience Jesus through the Bible and in all the ways modeled to us within the Bible. Bill Johnson says that “All doctrine is an invitation to experience.” What if we were to really enter a new reality where the Bible is more than a repository of doctrine, morals and principles we attempt to apply in our own strength and instead becomes an invitation to hear God and respond as his living Word transforms the reality of our lives from the inside out by the power of the Holy Spirit?

Can we really be free (Part 4)

From BobHamp.com

Steering our soul through life is difficult without a map to guide us. Regret, frustration, tedious attempts at transformation, all these obstacles can seem to be the rule and not the exception. Though I usually resist formulas, I want to describe here how our will functions, so we can most effectively begin to alter our experience.

Here is the path:

    Perception > Desire > Choice > Action > Experience > Impact

Don’t read over this too fast. Look at it again. The advertising companies understand this as a science. We act and experience based on our desires but our desires come from our perceptions. If we want to change a person’s action, we begin by discovering their desires. But hidden below their desires is perception: the thing that drives us all. (see Alan Smith’s Blog).

For real and lasting life change, we must begin to examine our perceptions. (also see earlier post; Ways of Seeing: Contact lenses and Sausage machines). If I want to affect your behavior I must get you to see in a new way. The Bible calls this “repentance”. This does not mean feeling bad enough to change, it means seeing in a new way.

Something appears desirable, my desire engages, I decide and then act. Once I have acted, this begins to shape my experience, and then it shapes how others experience me. It can also affect how others experience themselves around me.

If I see everything through the eyes that my life experiences have given me, it is possible, even likely that I will reproduce my life experiences. Is it possible to have new eyes?

Every day, I pray this: “God open up the eyes in my heart and give me Your Spirit which allows me to see differently, if you do, then I can see and know (experience) the amazing things you have done, are doing, and continue to do in and around me.

If that sounds like a clever prayer, I cannot take credit for it. Paul prayed this very thing for the young church at Ephesus. Try it on today, it looks good on you.

You can know the Truth… and guess what it will do for you?

Abundant life doesn’t mean a full calendear

From BobHamp.com

“I came that you might have life and life abundantly”

Jesus makes the above statement as a part of His declaration regarding what He came to deliver to mankind. Aliveness; not busy-ness, not excited-ness, alive-ness.

Unfortunately we have come to measure life as a “yes or no” proposition. Either we have it or we don’t. Alive. Dead. Only two options. It would seem Jesus views life more as a measurable resource, one that can increased or decreased. What if we saw it the way He sees it? We wake up in the morning with a budgeted amount of life to spend. What if we spent it all by noon? We might come home and make a statement like this… ”It’s been a rough day, honey, I am just dead”

We spend a lot of thought trying to figure how to manage our time. I wonder if we saw life in this measurable budgeted way, if we might not focus more on managing our life, instead of our calendars. How much life we are willing to give away to strangers, or how much life do we receive from friends?

Adam and Eve had a tree from which they could daily ingest more life…running low? Stop and fill up. What if that same tree is available now and we walk by it? We avoid it. Or worse we try to serve it.

Do you know where to fill your tank?

Can we really be free (part 3)

From BobHamp.com

I have been at Gateway Church for over four years now. I can only remember two times I heard our worship band make an actual mistake. Amazingly, one of them was my fault, and I was sitting in the auditorium. The guitar player had borrowed a vintage guitar from me, and it had some fret problems. In a song featuring a single note lead, the guitar line just died.

So, four years, three months, two mistakes, one of them the fault of some guy in the congregation. I began to think one day, and this is what I pictured: The worship leaders must show up every week-end and talk about every single mistake they can anticipate. They must point out to each member of the team where they are likely to blow it, and point out multiple ways to avoid this potential mistake. Don’t modulate downward, don’t count eight here…they must painstakingly line out a whole range of the pitfalls that lay before them each week-end and rigorously plan how to avoid each and every train wreck. You think? I don’t. I can’t think of a more destructive way to plan a rehearsal. Focus on the pitfalls, plan to overcome them.

Amazingly, this is how many live what we have come to call, “the Christian life”. Lessons on how-not-to-sin. Lessons on what to do-when-we-sin. Dallas Willard refers to this as the Gospel of Sin Management, which is of course no gospel at all, and certainly not the message of Jesus.

So picture this; each person shows up and is given their song list. If they do not already know their part, they talk through each persons role, function and contribution. Only acoustic here, screaming lead guitar there, soft keys and a gentle female vocal, then build to the crescendo. As each person is encouraged to know their role, and given clear direction, the complexity of a group of individuals becomes a single entity. Rough spots may be noted and overcome, but the focus is on each person fulfilling that purpose and role that they fulfill in the band.

We are here to be re-presentations of the Nature of God, deposited in us. I guess we could work hard at avoiding sin, but somehow it seems much more freeing to learn how to become the person I was created to be. Focus on the target, not the obstacles. Relax a little, enjoy the ride.

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