How To Hear God, part six

1 Samuel 3:6-10


Again the LORD called, "Samuel!"
And Samuel got up and went to Eli and said, "Here I am; you called me."
"My son," Eli said, "I did not call; go back and lie down."
Now Samuel did not yet know the LORD: The word of the LORD had not yet been revealed to him. The LORD called Samuel a third time, and Samuel got up and went to Eli and said, "Here I am; you called me."
Then Eli realized that the LORD was calling the boy. So Eli told Samuel, "Go and lie down, and if he calls you, say, 'Speak, LORD, for your servant is listening.' "
So Samuel went and lay down in his place.
The LORD came and stood there, calling as at the other times, "Samuel! Samuel!"
Then Samuel said, "Speak, for your servant is listening."

God speaks in an audible voice to some, in a silent spiritual urging to others, and still others hear Him when they read the Bible.

We want to hear God, but sometimes our own expectations get in the way. We want God to speak in a certain way, and when He doesn’t live up to our expectations, we think He’s not speaking to us.

But He is speaking. We have to learn to look for the message in the mess of our daily lives.

In the sidebar, there is a sign-up box for my ezine and weekly tips. The purpose of the weekly tips, is to get people to see God in the ordinary things we see every day. He doesn’t hide his message from us. We don’t have to climb to Mount Guru to find God. He’s here with us in our world every day.

If we read the Bible in the morning, but don’t hear from God, we need to change the way we’re reading it. God lays out His message in the Bible, in the newspaper, across the internet, and sometimes in the note from your child’s teacher. Be curious enough to find God’s message in your every day routine.

Can we stop telling God that He has to send us a sign? Can we be real with Him? Maybe start treating God like we love Him?

We can be content in our relationship with God. We can be together with God and participate in a conversation without asking Him to do something for us. He doesn’t make us do anything to earn His love, so why should we expect Him to do what we want in order to earn our love?

Practice listening. If you set a time for a conversation with God, would you let Him do most of the talking?

Do we let our friends talk when we’re with them? Of course we do. When we’re not with our friends, we’re still content in our relationship even though we phone them, email them, or text them during the day. Have you ever scheduled your friends to be with you one hour each week, hog the conversation, not let them get a word in, and then complain that they never speak to you?

When we hear a message from God in our neighbor’s words, our job is to pay attention. We can be content just being with God, but curious enough to find out what He wants to say. God can speak to us any way He wants, but when He does, we should stop and focus on Him.

Contentment in a relationship with God is a basic part of having a friendship with God. We can build up to contentment in our relationship with God if we feel like we’re spiritually as young as Samuel when he first heard God. Even Samuel had to start somewhere.

Step six of hearing from God is being content in your relationship with God while curious enough to look for His message in many formats.

How To Hear God, part five

Isaiah 8:17 KJV

And I will wait upon the LORD, that hideth his face from the house of Jacob, and I will look for him.

Waiting on someone is a “give and take” experience.

A waiter in a restaurant is willing to do what the customer asks or, in other words, has a desire to hear and obey. He introduces himself, gets to know the customer and makes her feel welcome. He listens before serving. He comes back to ask if the food is suitable, refill the drink, or supply more condiments. These are steps one through four of this series on how to hear God.

A waiter is also patient. If the customer is slow in giving the order, the waiter gives her more time and comes back later to see if she’s ready.

Never does the waiter stand in front of the customer and plead, “Oh, great customer, I say to you in the name of my employer, what would you have me serve you? Tell me now while I wait here on bended knee. Please, make me wait no longer. I’ll do anything. Just let me serve you today.”

That would be ridiculous.

But isn’t that the attitude of some church people who don’t listen to what they’re saying to God in prayer?

In some ways, God is like that customer who keeps coming in to see what we’re willing to serve. If He feels welcomed every time He’s with you, He’ll want to hang out with you permanently. If He feels loved because you’re paying attention to Him, you’ll hear from Him.

If you want to hear from God, wait upon the Lord like you’re the waiter in the restaurant. Wait with patience.

When your constant effort in getting to know God is balanced with patience, the journey to hearing God better and knowing Him intimately will last a long time. That’s good. It takes forever to know God because there’s so much to know. You are seeking the God who is limitless and multi-faceted.

Don’t get frustrated after working at the relationship for three weeks. Only three weeks, and now you’re giving up?

Wait upon the Lord.

Step five of hearing from God is staying patient.

How To Hear God, part four

Hebrews 6:10-12

God is not unjust; he will not forget your work and the love you have shown him as you have helped his people and continue to help them. We want each of you to show this same diligence to the very end, in order to make your hope sure. We do not want you to become lazy, but to imitate those who through faith and patience
inherit what has been promised.

Someone once asked, “How do you get to Carnegie Hall?" The answer has always been, “Practice, practice, practice.” I’ve also heard that anything worth having is worth working for. Since the effort we put into getting better at something raises the value of what we’re doing, shouldn’t we put a lot of effort into any relationship we value?

If a couple of people don’t put much effort into getting to know each other, they’re really just acquaintances. There are a lot of church people who are merely acquaintances of God. But that relationship can grow with a little effort. God is willing to spend more time with us if we’re willing.

And then there’s the issue of maintaining a relationship. Some women are called “high-maintenance girlfriends” because it takes a lot of effort to maintain that relationship. If you see your relationship with God as “low maintenance”, it can be really easy to be neglectful. I think all humans get lazy in their relationships occasionally. The people we love the most are hurt when we forget about them, ignore them, or neglect them in other ways.

How can we ensure that our relationship with God will get stronger? Practice, practice, practice. Be diligent to maintain a friendship with God. We can practice our friendship skills in our relationship with God.

We must work daily on maintaining a love relationship with our spouse or girlfriend/boyfriend, so why not work daily on a relationship with God?

If you aren’t hearing from God and you want to, then put some effort into the relationship. Church time shouldn’t be the only time we work on maintaining a close bond with God. Church time is when we should be taking a look at what we’ve done during the week to see if we’re giving that valuable relationship enough of our time.

Step four of hearing from God is being diligent and paying attention to your relationship with God.

How To Hear God, part three

Proverbs 8:32-34


Now then, my sons, listen to me; blessed are those who keep my ways. Listen to my instruction and be wise; do not ignore it. Blessed is the man who listens to me, watching daily at my doors, waiting at my doorway.

Having a desire to hear from God and actually listening are two different things. Let’s look at listening to God as an act of obedience. Like anything else God tells us to do, if we do it we are blessed, but if we disobey, we forfeit the blessing.

Some people find it easy to forgive others because they were taught at a young age to forgive their siblings. If we know we should forgive our neighbor – and we want to obey that scripture that says we should forgive – but we hang onto our grudge, we miss out on the blessing God wants for us. We’ll take our relationship with God to the next level when we follow through with that act of obedience.

However, many of us were not raised to practice the simple act of listening to God.

Listening is an act that happens on purpose. Someone who listens waits with expectation. Who would walk up to someone, ask a question, and then immediately walk off? But we pray like that all the time.

God answers us. He’s been answering us for thousands of years. Psalm 3:4 is an example. “To the Lord I cry aloud, and he answers me from his holy hill.” This tells of someone who waited with the expectation of an answer.

Intentional listening is putting our love for God into action. We can’t stop with just a desire to hear. We have to press through that phase and put some muscle into that desire. The effort we spend on listening to God is never wasted.

Step three of hearing from God is listening for His message.