How do we hear the voice of the Lord?

How do we hear the voice of the Lord?

Job 33:14
For God does speak– now one way, now another– though man may not perceive it.

We all are wired differently. How one person hears maybe quite different to how someone else hears. It all about perception. How we perceive, hear according to our history, passion, social adjustments / growth, spiritual maturity, and emotional stability  /makeup. Positioning ourselves to be with Jesus to hear His voice is intentional. Practicing listening enables us to develop a lifestyle of responding to what we hear.

We all hear by Faith.
Rom 12:6 NAS Every man has a measure of faith…

Faith is the inevitable consequence of hearing God’s voice.

James Ryle

Jesus our example:
Jesus had amazing faith and the ability to see (seeing is hearing) what the Father was doing.

John 5:19 NAS
Therefore Jesus answered and was saying to them, “Truly, truly, I say to you, the Son can do nothing of Himself, unless it is something He sees the Father doing ; for whatever the Father does, these things the Son also does in like manner.

Jn 8:28; Jn 12:49; Jn 14:10; Jn 14:12

That God speaks today is an issue forever settled on the authority of the Scripture and validated in the lives of countless men and women throughout the world. God is light and will reveal Himself to anyone who will look; God is love and will communicate to anyone who will listen…
James Ryle Hippo In The Garden

Rom 10:17(NAS) So faith comes from hearing, and hearing by the word of Christ.

Heb 1:1-2 NASB
God, after He spoke long ago to the fathers in the prophets in many portions and in many ways, in these last days has spoken to us in His Son, whom He appointed heir of all things, through whom also He made the world. 3. And He is the radiance of His glory and the exact representation of His nature, and upholds all things by the word of His power.

Heb 2:1-4
Heb 4: Today if you hear His voice…respond in faith.

1. God Speaks Through Scripture…
The Word of God. it stands alone as the final authority for all revelation. Our first thought should be…Does what I am hearing line up with the nature and character of God revealed through His Word?

He speaks to us on two levels through the Bible.
1. Historical Truth… the main and the plain. Undeniable instruction. Principles and precepts that apply today. i.e.  Having a renewed mind is the will of God.

  • Romans 12:2 NASB And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, so that you may prove what the will of God is, that which is good and acceptable and perfect.

2. Personal Revelation… living words to our hearts as we read.Points us to Jesus, the Father, through the Holy Spirit. (See John 13 – 16 to glean what the Holy Spirit’s role is. i.e. He will guide us into all truth… etc.)

Don’t try to force what you are reading into your life…If it is revelation to your heart and life it will fit. Usually what you are reading will be a confirmation or as a precept, concept to help you grow.

This week I read about renewing of the mind. I was curious and intuitively knew I needed to investigate this concept further. I searched for thought connected passages. As a result of my search, I discovered the Holy Spirit has a major role in renewing my mind. Therefore, I am now leaning into the Holy Spirit asking Him to renew me in the spirit of my mind. I am also reading three books to help me grasp the concept,

Three safeguards…
a. Is it Relevant to my situation without attempting to make it fit?
b. Does it bring Revelation or Clarity to my situation?
c. Is it Redemptive or bring me and others closer to Jesus and to His Church?


 

Who Defines You? The power to be. Part 3.

We now have this light shining in our hearts, but we ourselves are like fragile clay jars containing this great treasure. This makes it clear that our great power is from God, not from ourselves. 
1 Cor 4:7NLT

But we have this treasure in earthen vessels, so that the surpassing greatness of the power will be of God and not from ourselves 1 Cor 4:7NAS


Guard, through the Holy Spirit who dwells in us, the treasure which has been entrusted to you. 2 Tim 1:14 NAS

We are who we are. When we are fully who we are in Christ, and secure in whose we are, we shine bright and give God glory. 

We all have treasure within us. Gifts, talents, abilities, thoughts, personalities, emotions and skill sets have all been entrusted to us. All of us are different. No two people are alike. You are uniquely you, wonderfully created.


My wife is a triplet. Even though the sisters look similar. They are very different. Each have different personalities, emotional make up and talents. They are each beautifully unique. 

What you have within you is a treasure. This treasure within you is so valuable it needs to be guarded, protected. It’s a treasure that is entrusted to your care, given to you for the sake of others. We receive so that we can give what we have received away.

Above all else, guard your heart, for everything you do flows from it. Prov 4:23 NIV

Acts 1:8 states when the Holy Spirit comes upon you He will give you power to Be…pause for effect… His witnesses. Notice what comes first… the power to Be… comes before being His witness.

Think about this thought. When He, the Holy Spirit comes upon you, He will empower you to Be. 

His power gives you the ability to be fully who you were created to Be… uniquely you.

When His empowerment comes upon you, and when you begin to allow the treasure within you to flow out to others, you cannot help but be His witness. 
Steve Bowen



Be not do…

Note: Peter didn’t say we would “do witnessing” but we would be His witnesses. 

Being fully you, empowered, with all your gifts talents and abilities 
confidently flowing is when you are the most powerful witness.


As believers we have access to the power of the Holy Spirit. The impartation of His supernatural power changes everything. His power enables us to be the very witnesses He created us to be.

In my book Go. Sow. I ask…How much power to do we need?

“How much power do we need? I’m all for more power of the Spirit and pray most days to be empowered. However, I have been around long enough to know I have to be willing to begin to take risks now, in this present time, in order to enter into the power of the Holy Spirit. I’ve learned I often have to be faithful in the small tasks and the small steps before the greater is realized. Beginning in the natural often helps me to move toward releasing the supernatural. 

True power of being, enables heaven to bring to our earth(our lives) the power we need to reach out to people of our earth—our sphere of influence. 

His power often comes upon me when I’m out in the community, face great need, and sense my lack. It is the very awareness of my lack that propels me in that moment to reach out for more of His power in order to meet the need. If I feel weak and small I still step out in my weakness and smallness. I still serve, and I still pray. Often I sense no feeling of noticeable power when I pray for people yet, amazing things happen. 

One lady recently came up to our group and said, “When Steve prayed for me, I received not one job but two jobs. I was so grateful that he took the time and listened to me and prayed for me. I just wanted to thank you all for being out here caring and serving us.” 

I wanted to say, “Woman, I who am speaking to you am he.” 

Bowen, Steve (2014-04-23). Go. Sow. A simple practical guide into the arena of outreach. (pp. 178-179).  . Kindle Edition.

Note she stated, “I was so grateful that he took the time, and listened to me and prayed for me.” 

What she noticed was my being. His love for her was expressed throungh my actions and my attitude. I had no physical sense of power. I simply released the treasure I knew that was within me by faith, and Her need was met.

Step into being who you are.

Often I have to step into who I am… to be

 I have to remember whose I am and who I am and act accordingly.

At my core I know I am wired as an encourager. So I have to stir up the gift that has been entrusted to me and step into being the encourager I am. Sometimes I literally say as I step out of my car, or walk into a meeting, “I will step into my gift and into my calling as an encourager today.” 

When I remember who I am, I can then be who I am.
 It’s all about knowing and being.

The stepping into principle is true when I step into being a husband, a friend, a worker, or a leader.

Such we are, sons and daughters.

1 John 3:1 NASB See how great a love the Father has bestowed on us, that we would be called children of God; and such we are

This is who we are, sons and daughters. 

We are loved by Him. When we treasure the treasure within us, we discover a whole new level of securely. We are called to be, knowing whose we are and who we are. 

We receive we give.

Jesus knew whose he was. Before any public ministry Jesus knew whose He was. He was The Beloved Son in Whom the Father was well pleased.

He lived out of His empowered Being. He was secure. He was humble. He was loving. 

John 13:3 Jesus knew that the Father had put all things under his power, and that he had come from God and was returning to God; so he got up from the meal, took off his outer clothing, and wrapped a towel around his waist. After that, he poured water into a basin and began to wash his disciples’ feet, drying them with the towel that was wrapped around him. 

 

 







 










Who defines you? Your thoughts define me. Part 2

 I was scheduled to speak at our Riverdale campus. All morning I had been thinking about our identity and how important it is to be secure in whose we are and confident in who we are. As the worship progressed every song pointed toward this theme.

Danatta began to sing Abba I belong to you, As she sang, ” Your thoughts define me”… heaven came down.

Abba
Jonathan David Helser

You’re more real than
The ground I’m standing on
You’re more real than
The wind in my lungs

Your thoughts define me
You’re inside me
You’re my reality

Abba, I belong to You
Abba, I belong to You

You’re closer than the
Skin on my bones
You’re closer than the
Song on my tongue

Your thoughts define me
You’re inside me
You’re my reality

Abba, I belong to You
Abba, I belong to You
Abba, I belong to You

When it was time to speak, I stood up and declared, “We’ve heard the message today. His thoughts define us; not our friends, family, culture, nation, boss, our selves, nor our church define us. He and He alone defines us. He is inside of us. He is our reality. Therefore, we can confidently say, Abba I belong to you. 
Well, we can all go home now.”

The truth:
We can be fully who we are when we pay attention to His voice and allow His thoughts to define us. He is a good, good Father who loves to define who we are.

We are beloved, saved, redeemed, rescued, forgiven, called, anointed, and favored. We are His sons, daughters and much more. His thoughts define us. 

Our parents, our boss, our friends, our culture, our church, our selves and those around us may try to define us. They may try to squeeze us into their mold. However, His thoughts, what He says and thinks about us, are what we must focus on if we are to truly become who we are meant to be.

See… how great a love the Father has bestowed on us, 

that we would be called children of God;  

and such we are.
1 John 3:1 NASB

I love this statement…See… how great a love the Father has bestowed upon us.” The question, “Do we see / experience His great love that He has bestowed, placed, lavished upon us?”

The statement, “and such we are” is truth, fact, reality, and the basis of our security as sons and daughters.

In the last post Who defines you? Part 1, I mentioned a story about my driving, showing off and my friend telling me, “Steve you don’t have to do that any more.” He was reminding me, “Stop it. That’s not who you are now.”

It was the truth, a voice of a caring friend. That one statement, “You don’t have to do that anymore,” began to set me free. 

Sometimes we listen to the voice of the stranger instead of listening the voice of our friend the Shepherd. When we do, we forget whose we are and who we are.

The good Shepherd always has caring words for His sheep, His words / His thoughts define me.

Mindset
Our battle is in the mind. We must chose who’s voice we listen to. There are many voices fighting for our attention, but only one voice speaks consistent encouraging truth to our hearts.

Herman Melville author of Moby Dick stated, “Heaven have mercy on us all – Presbyterians and Pagans alike – for we are all somehow dreadfully cracked about the head, and sadly need mending.”


Yes, it’s true, everyone is cracked about the head; we desperately need mending. 
Our minds do need a daily renewing, and sometimes we need to pause; stop the negative input; push the reset button to reboot our thinking. Sometimes we need to consciously  change our input system.
I’ve had to shift over the last eighteen months in so many ways. Change, shift, think differently, and learn to guard my heart and mind. I’ve had to position my self to hear His voice.

The battles in our minds, emotions: There is no future for you. You and your family will be begging bread. You have nothing to offer. Your children… Your spouse… No wonder this happened to you, you are so stupid. The sky is falling. We are all doomed. Quit. Give up…yada, yada, yada.


This voice, is the voice of a discouraged soul, or the voice of the stranger. Sometimes we need to discern whose voice we are hearing, the Shepherd’s or the stranger’s.

 Tip: words leading toward fear, are always the stranger’s words; we need to flee from that voice.

 John 10:1-5 NASB
“Truly, truly, I say to you, he who does not enter by the door into the fold of the sheep, but climbs up some other way, he is a thief and a robber. “But he who enters by the door is a shepherd of the sheep. “To him the doorkeeper opens, and the sheep hear his voice, and he calls his own sheep by name and leads them out. When he puts forth all his own, he goes ahead of them, and the sheep follow him because they know his voice.  

“A stranger they simply will not follow, but will flee from him, because they do not know the voice of strangers.

John 10:27-30 NASB
My sheep hear My voice, and I know them, and they follow Me; and I give eternal life to them, and they will never perish; and no one will snatch them out of My hand. “My Father, who has given them to Me, is greater than all; and no one is able to snatch them out of the Father’s hand. “I and the Father are one.”

The Shepherd’s voice says: I have a future and a hope. My God shall supply all my needs according to His riches. I have been young and old and have never seen the righteous begging bread. I will be with you until the end of the age. I am called a child of God and such I am. The Lord is my Shepherd and I shall not want, He leads me in paths of righteousness for His name sake, He anoints my head with oil and my heart overflows. He is the stability of my times. Surely goodness and mercy will follow me all the days of my life.


My decisions to whom I listen to do determine my destiny.


Who’s voice are you listening to? In order to hear the shepherds voice we have to position ourselves to hear His voice. Hearing His voice is so important. Our identity and our sense of security depends upon it. His thoughts define you. He lives inside you. He is your reality. He is your Abba, and…you belong to Him.

For further help read. Victorious Mindsets.


Audience of ONE.

I’ve been pressing into personal worship for a few years. Often I’ll head into the Big Room, grab my guitar and worship. Just me, no one looking, no one listening except One. It’s been interesting. 

Sometimes I’m afraid to open my eyes, other times new songs bubble up, and sometimes nothing, just the discipline of leaning in. Many times my prayers, crying out, my heart exposed is given in song. Sometimes I just play softly saying nothing. 

When my notes and songs seemed to bounce off the floor… same notes, same songs, and my playing is so limited… I’ve continued to venture in, to seek His presence.

One phrase I’ve found myself repeatedly saying, “Jesus we need you as you really are. Jesus, be who you really are to us in this place. Walk among us.” Interesting phrase, Jesus be who you really are to us in this place. Walk among us.

Who is He?
He is salvation.
He rescues and saves.
He is redemption.
He is healing.
He is provision.
He is forgiving.
He is protection.
He is wisdom.
He is comfort.
He is power.  
He is mercy.
He is grace.
He is holder together of all things.
He is who He is, and so much more.
He is Jesus, King of Kings and Lord of Lords.

He has eyes of fire, yet there is kindness.
His voice sounds like many waters, yet He often speaks most powerfully in a whisper.
His Spirit is like a flowing river, yet often touches our lives like the early morning dew, or a soft spring rain.
When He walks among us He sees, hears and knows all things.
He is Holy… yet, He invites us into His presence.

One thing I do know, I want Him to be who He really is in my life, in my family and in my church. He is the One who gives us access to the Father’s love, presence and power.

This is amazing love! A love that gave His very best, and a love that willingly sacrificed His life for others. We are now sons and daughters.

“I tell you the truth, anyone who believes has eternal life.” Jesus. (John 6:47)

At the moment we believe, we receive everlasting life. The life we now live is an everlasting life that deepens as we experience the love and the knowledge of the Father through the Son, experienced by the agency of the Holy Spirit. (I know run on sentence but couldn’t say it in another way.)

“This is eternal life, that they may know You, the only true God, and Jesus Christ whom You have sent.” (John 17:3)
 
R.C. Sproul expresses the thought this way:
“The moment Jesus died, the instant the just one died for the unjust, the veil in the temple was torn. The presence of God became accessible to us. We now have access to His grace (*which brings peace) but even more we have access to Him. (*His presence) Now we can feel welcome in the very presence of a Holy God.”
The Holiness of God, R.C. Sproul
*my note


This is the good news Jesus brings… we have access.

My friend Stephen Bell states, “The really good news is that the Father now has access to us!” This truth is most amazing.

His sacrifice for our sins brings peace for us. It’s settled.
His resurrection to life, ensures our confident access into the presence of our loving Father.

To fear and yet to be unafraid is an interesting experience.


R. C. Sproul sums it up:

“But when we come, we must remember two things: (1) who He is; and (2) who we are. For the Christian the holy war is over; the peace has been established. Access to the Father is ours. But we still must tremble before our God. He is still holy.”
The Holiness of God, R.C. Sproul


Yesterday, I heard a whisper as I worshiped, “If this was the only thing you did, would it be enough?” 

My honest answer… I don’t know. I’m so driven, I strive so much. I did know I want to be a worshiper the Father seeks. Jesus made it possible.