March 22, 2001
volume 12, no. 81

God is still talking - but are we listening?

    There was a time in our ministry that I was so preoccupied doing my Lord's work that I was paying too little attention to God's Voice. I was working at Pro Life Communications 10 - 12 hours a day, chairing our parish's pro-life committee, volunteering at our local Crisis Pregnancy Center, a board member for another life-affirming organization, taking care of daily household duties, training our 5 children and pregnant with our 6th blessing. As a result of all of this activity and too little time spent with my Lord, I was totally exhausted - physically, emotionally and spiritually.

    God was trying to get my attention, but I didn't have time to listen. Then, finally, I couldn't go any further. I was overwhelmed and unsure of what exactly to do. I did the only thing I knew to do, I placed myself before my Father. After a period of time passed I heard His Word, "Be still, and know that I am God" Psalm 46:10 . That one verse spoke volumes to me. I will know God to the fullest when I not only set aside time for Him but also learn to be still before Him. I was missing God's most beautiful interventions in my life because I was so distracted by other things that I couldn't clearly see or hear Him.

    Today, I do the very same activities listed above except that I am now training our 7 children, pregnant with our 8th blessing and spending more time with God than ever before. I am no longer exhausted. In fact, I often feel that I am overflowing with energy because I rely completely on God to supply my every need. I don't make a single move without consulting Him and I wait for His direction. I have a calmness in my spirit, a peace "which surpasses all understanding" Philippians 4:7. It is a peace that surrounds me like a fortress and keeps me from being overwhelmed with anxiety, worry, frustration or exhaustion.

    In the midst of our complex and hectic lives, nothing is more urgent, nothing more necessary, nothing more rewarding than hearing what God has to say. His Voice waits to be heard, and having heard it, we are launched into the greatest, most exciting adventure we could ever imagine. God speaks to us today just as powerfully, just as clearly, as in the days in which the Bible was written. Why? Because we need His definite and deliberate direction for our lives, as did Joshua, Moses, Jacob or Noah. As His children, we need His counsel for effective decision making. Since He wants us to make the right choices, He is still responsible for providing accurate data, and that comes through His speaking to us.

    First and foremost, my Almighty Father speaks to me through His Word. When I face difficulties and heartaches, a difficult decision, a conflict or any challenge, the first place I go is to the Scriptures. The Bible is God's instruction book for His children.

    God speaks to me through the Holy Spirit. If I walk in the Spirit daily, surrendered to His power, I fully expect to hear everything I need from God. I claim His presence, direction and guidance. God speaks to my spirit through His Spirit who lives, dwells and abides in me. Sometimes the Holy Spirit speaks to me about what to say, other times the Holy Spirit tells me to keep quiet. When I say the Holy Spirit "speaks," I do not mean audibly. Rather, He impresses His will on my spirit or mind, and I hear Him in my inner being. Though not audible, the communication is precise.

    Another way God speaks to me is through other people. The people I listen to the most are those I live with every day. Those people love me the most, those pray for me the most and are often the instruments God uses to reveal Himself to me. I could also name several people who, in passing conversation, have said something that has altered the course of my life to some degree. Just a simple message in passing can have dramatic consequences. That is why I am very careful about what I say. Recognizing that I can be used as God's spokesperson causes me to soberly examine my dialogue, remembering that each of us communicates something every waking moment by what we say and what we don't say, by what we do and what we fail to do.

    Often times I clearly hear God's Voice through circumstances. When I find myself in certain situations that to the human understanding makes absolutely no sense what so ever, I rejoice in the fact that God has placed me there. I know that when God places me in the mist of usual or unusual circumstances He has a message for me. I passionately seek that message.

    Historically God spoke to His people though many methods. Besides the ones I have already mentioned the Bible reveals that God often communicated through dreams, prophets and angels.

    God never says anything unless it is important and worth remembering. God is always to the point. When He has something to say, He says in precisely and concisely. He doesn't engage in chitchat. God speaks clearly because He has specific objectives in mind. Therefore it is to our advantage to listen to God's communication with us. God wants us to realize our importance in the scheme of His eternal plans. God wants us to know our position and our supernatural privileges of who we are in Christ. He is our Almighty Father, we are His children. We did not earn our position; it is a gift of grace from God.

    God IS still talking to us today, but so often we are not listening. I wonder how many times He had something specific you needed to hear, but you were too occupied to pay attention. God loves you and He wants to fellowship with you. If there is very little communication or dialogue (two-party conversation) how can He develop a love relationship with you?

    Carve out some time for God this next week. Place yourself before Him. Be still and know that He is God. Be alert, sensitive and available to God's Voice.

Joe and Jane Dalton

For past columns by Joe and Jane Dalton, see FAITH IN THE FAMILY Archives

March 22, 2001
volume 12, no. 81
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