Thursday, September 26, 2013

Listening to God


Do you ever wonder how to hear from God?  
What kinds of things He might be wanting to say to you?  
Or if what you think you're "hearing" is actually Him?

I just read, in my quiet time this morning, several chapters in Charles Stanley's book, How to Listen to God.  I highly recommend it for any Christian who longs for intimacy with God.  It's full of practical, godly advice from a humble, saintly man who is greatly experienced in hearing from God.

Pick any one of these chapters.  Read, and you'll be blessed:

ONE:  Is God Still Talking?
TWO:  God's Goal in Communicating
THREE:  How God Gets Our Attention
FOUR:  Identifying the Voice of God
FIVE:  Factors That Determine How God Communicates
SIX:  Are You Listening?
SEVEN:  Sitting Before the Lord
EIGHT:  Your Spiritual Mind-Set
NINE:  Hindrances to Hearing
TEN:  Listening and Obeying
ELEVEN:  The Life That Listens--A Well-Built Life

Or hear Charles Stanley speak on the subject in an engaging 7-minute Youtube video where he talks about teaching his children how to listen to God.
  
Where and How do you picture God when you pray? 

Charles Stanley says that when we pray, "we come before a Father who wraps His arms around us in a loving embrace."  (How to Listen to God, p. 69)

That's where He is, and what He's doing, right now, in relation to you.  
This is what He is saying to you today.












Friday, September 13, 2013

Abandonment


Reading this morning from Luke, chapter 5, verse 16:  
"But Jesus often withdrew to lonely places and prayed."

I wonder what Jesus said to his Father when he withdrew to pray?  Was it anything like the things I say to Him?  I would love to have been there to eavesdrop on Jesus' prayers.

I'm sure the things he said to the Father were wrapped in an attitude of total submission.  Jesus' prayer at the end of his life was true throughout his life. "Not my will, but yours be done." Everything Jesus said to Satan in the wilderness reflected his commitment to his final obedience in the garden. Jesus' life was one of total trust, and total abandonment to the Father.

Are my prayers reflective of total trust, total submission to God? 

No.  I can tell there's a holdback, a fear of submitting completely.  I sense it in my spirit. 

Jesus' submission was complete.  Even in the garden, when He faced his greatest challenge to submission, He gave himself to the will of the Father absolutely, with no questions, no hesitation between "if it be possible," and "nevertheless, not my will but yours be done." His abandonment was so pure and complete that He and his Father became not two individuals, but One.

My submission, sincere as my wish is that it be complete, still reflects the submission of one separate individual to another, sometimes through gritted teeth.  My determined submission comes between us.  It's a constant decision, not a constant reality. 

Why?  Because I don't trust totally.  I'm afraid.  I'm proud.  I still think my way is better.

I want to get past the point of choosing to submit.  I want my submission to be a constant abandonment instead of a constant desire to abandon.

There are at least two reasons I should move into that constant abandonment.  1) It's the right thing to do: He created me, so he has a right to my submission.  And 2) It's to my benefit: He loves me, so He wants only good for me in my submission.

Lord, bring me to the place of oneness with you that comes through complete submission.  Make my submission to you a forever abandonment instead of a day-by-day struggle against my fears and selfish ambitions.