He is speaking. Dare to believe.

God still speaks. And you cannot afford to close your ears.

Several months ago, God started impressing on me this sense of great urgency for His Presence. I knew something was coming, something big. I have felt its arrival on the horizon for years, but it was always too far for me to put my finger on. After this last year, full of so many things I never could have predicted, I found myself getting too tired to keep waiting. I found myself reaching for anticipation, fighting apathy, clawing my way through complacency, as this last year ground to a halt. But, by the grace of God, I can say I was faithful in this: I was listening.

God’s timing is perfect. People do not want hear that – I don’t want to hear that – when they are walking through their trials, but it is the God’s honest truth. For every great testimony in God’s Kingdom, there was a person who walked through that story so you could be encouraged. You don’t get to receive the fulfillment without the faith. You don’t get to receive the deliverance without a desert. You don’t get to receive the promise without preparation and perseverance.

Abraham was 75 when God told him that He would make of him a great nation, and he was 85 when Hagar bore him Ishmael, but he was 100 years old when Sarah finally bore him Isaac. Jacob received a promise from God when he slept on the mountain at Beth-El, but he did not receive its fulfillment until he left Laban’s house 21 years later. Joseph received his dreams at 17, but didn’t take the throne until he was 30. Jacob was 130 when he and Joseph were reunited – a fulfillment for both Jacob and Joseph. I could go on with countless other examples, but the fact is they had to faithful and listening to receive wisdom in the battle and the fulfillment of their promises.

God has spoken Words over my life. I treasure them in my heart. They are what drives me on. Our lives as followers of Yeshua need to be rooted in the Word of God, but God’s Word doesn’t end there. The Holy Spirit is our companion and guide. He speaks to us and through us. He uses other believers to do the same. All of His Words are in unity, they do not contradict one another. This is why we must know the Shepherd’s Voice.

When the battle is upon you, the trials are abounding, and you can’t find the strength to go forward, you can turn to Him and seek Him. His Word says that He will be found by you in that moment. But, how sweet it is when He has already given you a Word to carry you through your season of testing! How wonderful to know the end before the beginning! That is why you can’t afford to miss what He’s speaking to you.

The battles will not end in this life. As long as we live, there will always be another mountain, another valley, another time of silence. You need instructions. You need guidance. You need a Word to see you through. He has all of it waiting for your ears. He has purposes and promises just for you and He will speak them to you, if you only listen.

And you need to know His Word. You need to know His character, so that you are not led astray. You need to check a word spoken to you in your own heart or through the mouth of someone else against the Word of God. But before you reach that step, you need to hear from Him, yourself.

Find some time to be quiet. Read and meditate on His Word. Instead of giving Him a laundry list of desires, give Him your attention and your worship. Wonder at His goodness and faithfulness. Realize your own failings and shortcomings. Recognize His Sovereignty in your life. Accept the Answer, Yeshua, Who was sent to make a way for you and reconcile you to God. We have all fallen short. The one who hears from God is not a “better person,” but we must all be better seekers of Him Who is speaking. Out of all the things you prioritize in your life, make God the First and the Last. It’s only sounds like a cliche if it’s not your reality.

“Seek the LORD while he may be found;
call upon him while he is near;
let the wicked forsake his way,
and the unrighteous man his thoughts;
let him return to the LORD, that he may have compassion on him,
and to our God, for he will abundantly pardon.
For my thoughts are not your thoughts,
neither are your ways my ways, declares the LORD.
For as the heavens are higher than the earth,
so are my ways higher than your ways
and my thoughts than your thoughts.

For as the rain and the snow come down from heaven
and do not return there but water the earth,
making it bring forth and sprout,
giving seed to the sower and bread to the eater,
so shall my word be that goes out from my mouth;
it shall not return to me empty,
but it shall accomplish that which I purpose,
and shall succeed in the thing for which I sent it.”

Isaiah 55:6-11 ESV

 

 

Sometimes Bibles are Heavy

My little 2 year old is sitting in the corner of my living room with his Bible stories book on his lap. It’s quite the book. While most of his books are about the Bible, this particular volume seemed to be an acquired taste. I am pretty sure that is because it literally weighs 10 pounds. I found it at a book sale for $6 about a year ago. It has an inscription from a grandmother on the inside of it. It is an exhaustive collection of short, accurate stories, each with a beautiful full page drawing. I’m sure it was at least $30-$40 new. It’s pages are gold lined so it glows amongst his other books. He has only recently started reading it and he can only walk around with it because of his Samson-like strength.

So, I’m getting a head start on my taxes. I read some of Ezekiel while I was eating lunch during his nap and I wanted to read more, but I kept thinking about our taxes. We run our own company so doing taxes at the end of the year is a beast. But I have been pressing into the Holy Spirit’s sweet Presence and I really wanted to go into my room. Welcome to my life, I’m a Martha learning to a be a Mary. The taxes won. I felt really proud of myself. I am three months into one account, double-checking charges and marking checks for 1099s. We have seven accounts… I will have to do this on all of them. Yeah, I am being productive!

Then, my little son catches my eye, heaving his Bible book into his lap. He sits down on the folded comforter on our wood floor and the book slides down his legs towards the floor. Undeterred, he pulls it up to his lap and sits farther back on the comforter. Finally, after getting situated, he starts turning the pages. “Muito agua,” he quietly exclaims as he looks over the page about the flood. I watch him out of the corner of my eye so as not to draw his attention away from the book.

“God, You know my life.” This is often how my prayers begin these days. They come while I’m changing diapers, while I’m cleaning my flood, making dinner, washing dishes, and doing taxes. He does know my life. He gave me the blessings of a husband, a son, a house, food to cook, clothes to wash, the list goes on. When I read Proverbs 31, I see that God recognizes the sometimes mundane work of a woman and honors her for it. I also read that He honored Mary instead of Martha because Mary sought the imperishable things of God. It’s such a fine line to walk. I sometimes reminisce about the days when my life was simpler, but these are all BLESSINGS that I prayed for. And yet, in God’s grace, I can walk through them gracefully. When I am sensitive to the Holy Spirit, my life takes a more ethereal shape – less predictable, more moment-to-moment, inexplicably complete – things get done eventually and I feel His Presence more tangibly.

I don’t do New Years resolutions. Since the New Year starts in Spring according to the Bible, I don’t see much point in them. I have this one pursuit and I will continue striving for it. I want to know God. I want to seek the face of my Creator more ardently than ever before. I want to know the Holy Spirit more deeply. I want to hunger and thirst after righteousness. I want to press into His Presence continually. I want to hear and recognize His voice. I want to serve Him in every way humanly possible. I want more than to be plucked out of the fire. I want to live thirsty.

I stretch out my hands to you; my soul thirsts for you like a parched land. – Psalm 143:6 ESV

O God, you are my God; I will seek you diligently. My soul thirsts for you; my flesh longs for you as in a dry and weary land without water. – Psalm 63:1 LEB

For I will pour out water on a thirsty land and streams on dry ground. I will pour my spirit out on your descendants and my blessing on your offspring. – Isaiah 44:3 LEB

Behold, the days come, saith the Lord God, that I will send a famine in the land, not a famine of bread, nor a thirst for water, but of hearing the words of the LordAnd they shall wander from sea to sea, and from the north even to the east, they shall run to and fro to seek the word of the Lord, and shall not find it. In that day shall the fair virgins and young men faint for thirst. – Amos 8:11-13 KJV

Now on the last day of the feast—the great day—Jesus stood and cried out, saying, “If anyone is thirsty, let him come to me, and let him drink, the one who believes in me. Just as the scripture said, ‘Out of his belly will flow rivers of living water.’” Now he said this concerning the Spirit, whom those who believed in him were about to receive. For the Spirit was not yet given, because Jesus had not yet been glorified.) – John 7:37-39 LEB

And the one seated on the throne said, “Behold, I am making all things new!” And he said, “Write, because these words are faithful and true.” And he said to me, “It is done! I am the Alpha and the Omega, the beginning and the end. To the one who is thirsty I will give water from the spring of the water of life freely. The one who conquers will inherit these things, and I will be his God and he will be my son. – Revelations 21:5-7 LEB

 And the Spirit and the bride say, “Come!” And the one who hears, let him say, “Come!” And the one who is thirsty, let him come. The one who wants, let him take the water of life freely. – Revelations 22:17 LEB

The Bible tells me that I was made to be thirsty and I am. Sometimes I have so much longing in my heart, I don’t even know what to do with myself. When I was younger, I thought, “I’m just bored. I’m longing for adventure.” When I grew up and moved across the country, I though, “I miss my family. I must be longing for them.” When I started actively pursuing God, I realized that this is the pull of heaven. I long for the living water of God. I long for the Presence of His Spirit. I long for the end of all things when I will be immersed in His Presence and Light forever, where I will have the water of life freely.

I don’t know where this New Years finds you. Maybe you’re living off the fat of the land, too full to feel thirst. Maybe you’re lifting your head from the pig’s trough to find there’s better food in your Father’s house. Maybe you’re in the center of His will, seeking to know Him better. Wherever you are, it doesn’t matter. Our purpose is the same.

Instead of making a New Years resolution that you won’t keep (or remember past February), commit your New Year to a new pursuit. Resolve to seek the Presence of God in your life, to know the Holy Spirit like a friend, to hear the voice of God because you’re finally listening for it. Sometimes your Bible will feel heavy, your voice will sound hollow and your tears will be more plentiful than laughter, but if you press through your feelings into His Presence, this will be the most amazing, fulfilling, worthwhile year of your life.