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Entries in Listening to God (2)

Thursday
Jun152017

When God Interrupts

Kolleen Lucariello’s goal is to help women discover and live out their identity in Christ, and in this Spiritual Life UPGRADE, she encourages us to see the Lord’s “interruptions” as His appointments.

“I listened as my sister explained her dilemma and easily sensed the disappointment and controlled panic in her voice,” Kolleen said.

I (Dawn) think it’s clear Kolleen has a sensitive heart—a heart primed to help.

But is helping at that moment what the Lord wanted? Great wisdom here.

Kolleen continues . . .

After months of struggle, my sister was finally able to help a young woman she had been mentoring find residential housing suitable to help her overcome the obstacles she’d been battling.

Unfortunately, she had just been informed her friend would not be able to continue in the program and my sister would need to find a new place for her immediately.

As in: ASAP.

After hearing the complexity of the assignment before her, I offered her the only sisterly advice I had when I said, “I’ll pray for you.”

I’ve learned this answer is the safest when the fixer in me rises up at the same time my empathy levels increase. As a recovering-controlling-fixer I often offer quick solutions to the pickles people found themselves in; my advice flowing from emotion with little thought or prayer involved.

This, my friends, usually put Kolleen in a pickle with her husband, Pat.

So now, rather than allow my emotions to speak up, I’ve become determined to wait on the Lord and be prayed up. So pray I did. 

I prayed hard for my sister. I prayed fervently for her friend.

I prayed that whoever God had given the ability to help would clearly follow His leading.

Each morning for almost a week I would grab my cup of tea, play “I Surrender” quietly in the background, and enter my quiet time of prayer—seeking God for wisdom in this situation.

As the day of her discharge grew closer and no temporary housing had been found, the desperation level began to increase. Calls for help were put out but—with a list of very specific needs in housing—choices were limited.

What became unlimited, however, were the many reasons for the answer, no.

Still, I prayed on.

I sensed the Lord was beginning to unravel this mystery of where He had in mind for her to go when I was reminded of the empty spare room we had recently painted and put together.

I began pleading my case for why the answer had to be no.

Since we were on limited time, the Lord wasted little of it exposing the reason for my hesitation: Interruption. Exactly.

How is it possible to sing “I Surrender” or “Withholding Nothing” in the morning and yet refuse to be interrupted by the One I promise to surrender to and withhold nothing from?

Ouch.

I wonder how Abram managed when God spoke to him, “Go away from your country, and from your relatives and from your father’s house, to the land which I will show you” (Genesis 12:1 AMP). Talk about interruption. 

You UPGRADE your responsiveness to the Lord when you:

1. Listen for God to speak to you.

Abram was settled in Haran when the Lord spoke to Him and told him, “Go.”

Is there a chance we’ve become so settled in the safety of our routine that we fail to hear the Lord when He speaks to us?

2.  Allow God to move you out of your comfort zone.

God instructed Abram to leave his country, his relatives and his father’s house.

Is it possible we’ve become unmovable by the comfort of people, places and things?

3. Receive God’s blessing through obedience.

The Lord promised Abram there would be great blessing for him in exchange for his obedience.

Could we be missing out on the blessings He longs to give us each time we fail in our obedience?

Abraham became the father of many nations when he “...departed [in faithful obedience] as the Lord had directed him” (Genesis 12:4, AMP).

I wonder what we might become if we depart, in faithful obedience, when the Lord directs.

We won’t know if we refuse to surrender to His interruptions.

Does the Lord want to interrupt your life?

Kolleen Lucariello, #TheABCGirl, is the author of the devotional book, The ABC’s of Who God Says I Am. Kolleen and her high school sweetheart, Pat, reside in Central New York. She’s a mother of three married children and Mimi to four incredible grandkids. She desires to help others find their identity in Christ—one letter at a time. Learn more about Kolleen here.

 

Saturday
Dec142013

God's Not the Silent Type

Cindi McMenamin wrote a number of books with titles starting with the word “when”—like When Women Walk Alone and When a Woman Overcomes Life's Hurts—but in this special UPGRADE Uplift post, she is asking another question: “Why?”

“Have you ever found yourself wondering,” Cindi says, Why doesn't God speak to me?”

Be honest... have you ever wondered that? I certainly have. Especially when I was seeking His will concerning a choice I needed to make. It can be frustrating.

Cindi continues …  

I once talked with a friend who wondered what she was doing wrong, because she had never “heard” God’s audible voice or “seen” bright lights indicating a clear direction from God.

But after I talked with her about the way God speaks to His loved ones, she began to recall that God had spoken to her—through the counsel she received in His Word, through circumstances that led her in a certain direction, through godly advice she received from a leader in her church. God had spoken to my friend. But she had never realized it was Him.

Many of us talk to the Lord and just want to hear Him talk back now and then. But sometimes we aren’t sure what to listen for.

In the more than 40 years since I’ve given my life to Jesus Christ, I have never experienced an encounter with Him in which there was an audible voice, a thundering from heaven, a burning bush or a rushing wind. It was usually a still, small voice that gave me an inner peace, a loving rebuke that changed my ways, the written Word of God that pierced my heart or a sense of calling and direction that wouldn’t let me be until I followed.

God speaks in various ways by the Holy Spirit to those in relationship with Him. And in my experience, I would have to say that He has spoken most clearly when I’ve been the most obedient, the most in need of comfort, and for the most part, taking the time to really listen.

Do you long to hear God speaking to you on a regular basis?

Then I recommend these three steps:

  • Look to His Word – God communicates through the Scriptures. Sometimes it’s a verse that pierces our hearts as we’re reading. Other times it might be a passage–or a few words from a verse–that comes to our mind in a particular situation. The more we know the Word of God, the more we’ll recognize God’s words of comfort, conviction, peace or guidance.
  • Look Around You – Sometimes it may seem like God isn’t there. But He often makes His presence known to us by what we experience on a daily basis. Look for His presence in the circumstances around you–the tender words from a friend that you needed to hear at just the right time, the “coincidence” that confirms what you’d been praying for, the situation at work that turned in your favor. The fact that nothing takes this all-knowing God by surprise affirms to me that He is already working in what you haven’t even handed to Him yet.
  • Listen for His Whispers – Sometimes we feel urged to do something and we can’t explain why. Through prayer and discernment, we can figure out if that is God’s whisper on our heart. Sometimes God speaks to us this way through prayer by nudging us to pray for something we wouldn’t otherwise have prayed for. God whispers encouragement. He whispers suggestions for acts of love toward someone in need. He whispers words to say at the proper time to heal another’s heart. When you hear these loving whispers, don't immediately dismiss them as distracting thoughts. Instead, thank Him for what He spoke to you.

There is no sure-fire formula for hearing God speak. He speaks in His own way and in His own time to the hearts that are prepared to hear Him. If we cultivate a heart to hear, we can be sure that His silence is not on account of our not listening.

When is the last time you knew God spoke to you? Is God whispering to your heart today?

BOOK GIVEAWAY! - Leave a comment here, or on theUpgrade Facebook page after the link to Cindi’s article, to be entered into the drawing for her new book, God’s Whispers to a Woman’s Heart.

Cindi McMenamin is a national speaker and the author of several books including When Women Walk Alone (more than 100,000 copies sold), When a Woman Overcomes Life's Hurts and her newest, God's Whispers to a Woman's Heart. For more on Cindi’s books or ministry or for free resources to help strengthen your soul or marriage, see her website: www.StrengthForTheSoul.com.