Please speak to me God. Clearly. So I understand.
This has been my prayer my entire Christian life–which began when I was nine years old. I’ve read many books on Hearing God by well-known Christian authors and I learned a lot. Still, over the years, and as I’ve matured in Christ, I’ve discovered that God speaks to each of us in a very personal way. Sometimes, God gets my attention through the activities of my children. One such example was recorded in my journal years ago:
My seven-year-old son, Will, has played ball for three seasons and the games are always fun and exciting. Today’s game, however, was more exciting than usual. Although a sprinkling of rain continued most of the afternoon, the game was not cancelled. While the coaches and players got wet and muddy, I sat on the bleachers wearing my rain jacket and holding an umbrella.
Usually a small boys’ baseball team has more than one coach and on Will’s team there are four. One coach stands next to the pitching machine and the others are next to the bases on the field. Their jobs are to give the boys directions and to help them know which way to run. In addition, parents on the sidelines are yelling directions and cheering the team on.
The game was tied and the bases were loaded. Will’s team was up to bat. As soon as Will’s teammate hit the ball every coach from both teams began yelling orders:
“Throw the ball to first!”
“Run to third!”
All the parents were cheering and clapping. The game was organized confusion and mayhem.
How in the world do these boys know what to do with everyone screaming directions? They must really be able to distinguish their coaches’ voices from all of the others.
Just as I thought that, God whispered to my heart, My child, you too, have many voices shouting at you. But you must know my voice.
And the sheep follow Him for they know His voice.
John 10:4 (NKJV)
That day years ago was a precious teaching moment from God directly to me. Hearing His voice can be difficult if we’re not tuned to listen to it. How can we know for sure we’re hearing His voice through all the confusion and mayhem of our culture? We must be able to disregard the shouted lies to hear the soft spoken truth. I’ve come to recognize the gentle impressions He puts on my heart and the thoughts He puts in my head as… a tickle in my ear.
Satan is at the root of every lie and hopeless thought we hear. He wants to get into our personal business and tell us what we should do and where we should go and how we should feel. He uses:
- Secular magazines- depicting how I should dress, what size I should be, and how “less modesty” is more attractive
- Radio-vulgar and suggestive music lyrics
- Television- where talk shows use DNA to determine who the father is, where adultery is expected, scandals bring excitement, maids are devious, selfishness is a way of life, conversations are filthy, God’s name is disgraced, and sin is glorified.
- Fads- everyone is doing it these days…
- Financial- don’t give your hard earned money to God– you deserve worldly possessions…even if you go in debt to have them
- Work place- gossip, backstabbing, a critical spirit
- Comparisons-discontentment leads to dissatisfaction and a thankless spirit
And our emotions?
Satan is a liar (John 8:44). He brings up past sins filling our hearts and minds with guilt, planting within us the awful notion that we are not worthy to serve God and that He couldn’t possibly love us. He shouts that the answer to self-fulfillment and happiness is found in success and good times.
Lies. All lies. And yet, they come across so loud and clear from so many sources.
If everyone is doing it or believing it…it must be acceptable and right.
No! Here’s the truth… Jesus.
His truth can get lost in the noise of lies.
The Lord is not in the wind, an earthquake, or a fire, but the Lord is in a gentle whisper
I Kings 19:11b-12 (NIV paraphrased)
I’ve learned that I can ask God to open my ears to truth so I can dispel the lies of Satan. I study the Word of God and God brings these Scriptures to my mind as I need them. Years ago, for example, it was midnight and I was wide awake. I was grieved and disheartened. I flipped through the news channels but that made me more depressed. My stomach began to ache. While I was in this emotional state it wasn’t difficult for Satan to plant the idea of hopelessness in my head.
Lord, I don’t know what to do. I feel hopeless. Please help me.
I shuffled through a desk drawer, searching for anything that might provide comfort. At the bottom of the drawer was a page I had torn from a Christian magazine years ago. On the page was a beautiful photo of a table, spread with lemons and a pitcher of lemonade. Under the picture the verse simply read,
Rest in God alone, my soul, for my hope comes from Him.
Psalm 62:5 (NKJV)
While Satan shouted, “It’s hopeless,” God whispered, “Put your hope in Me.” I turned off the light and went peacefully to sleep.
Today, I purposefully look for ways God could be speaking to me. I think about who my coach is and prayerfully seek out the right voice.
How ‘bout you? Who’s tickling your ear?
Debbie is co-founder of Shine! Ministries and a partner with The Polished Conference. She would love to come speak at your next women’s event. For more information visit her website: www.debbiepresnell.com or visit her page on facebook: shineministriesnc. Contact her directly at firstname.lastname@example.org.