God is calling

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By Shaun Joynt, jack of all trades and master of some; pastor; explorer of practical theology (PhD), worship leading, songwriting, and IT/webmaster stuff …

I’ve had the privilege of officiating at a number of  baby dedications and each one is unique. On one occasion, a couple in our small group had invited family and friends to celebrate the birth of their first child. Everything went well until the star attraction decided that she was hungry and couldn’t wait a moment longer. She, nor anyone else, could hear anything I was saying. For her, like the rest of us, listening would be a skill that would need to be developed over the years to come. Needless to say, this commotion sped the process along and we quickly moved through the ceremony.

The message relayed there has as much a bearing on us all as it did for that little infant girl.

In Genesis 1 and 2 we read how God created the earth and all the creatures living therein. Finally, He created man and gave him specific instructions as to what is permissible and what is not. As usual, man focused on the don’ts rather than the dos. He forgot that the whole garden was his to use and was deceived into eating the fruit from the only forbidden tree. This resulted in the immediate knowledge of his and his wife’s nakedness. They hid themselves and made coverings for their bodies. In the evening, God came looking for them calling out, ‘Where are you?’

This is where our lesson begins. Throughout the Bible we read how God has been calling man. He has called us in various ways. He has called through the prophets. He has called through the birth, life, death, and resurrection of Jesus Christ. He has called through the written Word (the Bible). He has called through the outpouring and inner witness of His Holy Spirit. He is still calling each and every one of us today!

The biggest problem is that most of us haven’t been taught to hear His voice and to recognise when He is calling us. Samuel is an excellent example. In 1 Samuel 1-3 we read how he was entrusted to the care of Eli the high priest in obedience to a promise made by his mother. She was barren and called on God to bless her with a child, committing him to the Lord’s service when weaned. One night, while ministering to the Lord under Eli, Samuel heard his name being called. He ran to Eli, thinking the old man was calling him. Eli told Samuel it was not him calling. This happened three times. After the third time the priest realised it was God calling Samuel’s name and instructed the boy to respond by saying, ‘Speak, Lord, for your servant is listening.’

How about you and me? Have we been taught to hear and correctly discern the voice of the Lord? If not, how do we teach others, including our children, family, friends and colleagues, to hear God’s voice? In order to teach we must have been taught. All is not lost. Today you can decide to practice the presence of God just as Brother Lawrence described it in his letters penned in 1666.

Here are some guiding steps:

  • Admit your inability to hear God’s voice and ask for His help.
  • Clear any obstacles that might be hindering you from hearing correctly (sin, busyness, self-centeredness, etc).
  • Ask God to speak to you.
  • Set aside time to listen (start with five or ten minute breaks throughout the day).
  • Write down what you sense God is saying and make sure it’s in line with His character, Word, and Holy Spirit. He will never say something contrary to these.
  • When necessary, share it with trusted and mature believers who can assist you in learning to discern God’s voice.

Remember that a journey of a thousand miles starts with one step – so start today and you will already be one step closer to hearing God calling you! Your destiny lies in His voice.

 

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