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Roadblock #7 – Unwillingness to Forgive – The Enemy of Mercy

“For if you forgive men when they sin against you, your heavenly Father will also forgive you. But if you do not forgive men their sins, your Father will not forgive your sins” (Matthew 6:14-15).

God’s Word is very clear on forgiveness. When we forgive others, God forgives us. When we do not forgive others, God does not forgive us. If we have an unforgiving heart, we put a distance between Him and ourselves. His voice may become silent. God may choose not to speak to us until we choose to forgive another who has hurt, offended, or sinned against us. A harsh, unforgiving, judgmental spirit can stifle our communication with God.

“Do not judge, and you will not be judged. Do not condemn, and you will not be condemned. Forgive, and you will be forgiven” (Luke 6:37). Again, we hear very clearly that God will forgive us when we forgive others. Sometimes it feels impossible to forgive someone who hurts us deeply. Truly, we cannot climb this mountain in our own strength. Just as the Holy Spirit gives us the power of self-control to abstain from sin and wrongdoing, He also gives us the ability to forgive. Asking the Holy Spirit to change your heart toward the person who offended you enables you to see that person through the eyes of God. Praying for your enemies also softens your heart for them. Begin with small, one-sentence prayers led by the Holy Spirit, and soon your blossoming mercy will increase your petitions on behalf of those who hurt you.

The Holy Spirit intercedes for us when we do not know what to pray. Tune in to the Spirit of God within you to receive power from on high to do what seems impossible in your own strength. When you forgive others, God forgives you. When God forgives you, you must believe it and fully accept His gift of forgiveness.

Understanding how great a debt I owe for my sin and how much Jesus paid for it, I am grateful that God has already forgiven me. In turn, I should extend my gift of forgiveness to those who have sinned against me. Exercising forgiveness is a choice, just as accepting forgiveness is a choice.

Therefore, as God’s chosen people, holy and dearly loved, clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience. Bear with each other and forgive whatever grievances you may have against one another. Forgive as the Lord forgave you. And over all these virtues put on love, which binds them all together in perfect unity. (Colossians 3:12-14)

Continually thank God for His forgiveness and ask Him to carry on the healing process in you, so you feel both forgiven and forgiving, then walk in the freedom that brings. When you are freed from an unforgiving heart and let go of the sin that holds onto you, you may hear God speak to you clearly. Until then, you may have to sift through a few lies to get to God’s truth.

#1: I can’t forgive my brother or sister—he/she hurt me too deeply.

#2: God doesn’t expect me to forgive this one.

#3: God will forgive me, even if I don’t forgive others.

 Purchase my book, 7 Roadblocks to Hearing God Speak, today and find the truth to disprove the above lies. Also read a whole lot more about the truth in God’s Word on the subject of forgiveness. Practice removing the barriers that stand between you and God.  Then, resume your two-way communication and achieve greater intimacy with Jesus.

Click here to purchase book today.

Book Two in Hearing God’s Voice Series

 

Roadblock #6 – Disobedience – The Enemy of Righteousness

It’s pretty simple—disobedience to God is sin. Clearly, sin separates us from God. He despises sin and doesn’t want to be anywhere near it. Isaiah 59:1-2 says, “Surely the arm of the Lord is not too short to save, nor His ear too dull to hear. But your iniquities have separated you from your God; your sins have hidden His face from you, so that He will not hear.” This verse confirms that sin and an unrepentant heart can keep God from hearing you. When He hides His face from you, most likely, He will not speak to you either. Does sin, or disobedience, stand in your way of hearing God’s voice?

Confession of sin is not only required by God—it is necessary for your own peace of mind. Confessing your sin, turning from it, and attempting to lead a clean life of obedience open the door of communication between you and God. In our humanness, we won’t ever be completely free of sin on earth, but we should try to live our lives in a different way than the rest of the world.

Of course, if you’ve never confessed your sin and accepted Jesus as your Savior and Lord, then you already live apart from God, and the Holy Spirit does not occupy your heart. In that case, you should not expect to hear God’s voice within at all.

If that’s you, please click on the Ground Zero link below and view the video in which I share the Gospel of Good News. Learn more about how to invite Jesus into your heart and begin a new relationship with Him. When you do, God’s Holy Spirit, and the ability to hear His voice, are God’s amazing gifts to you.

1 John 1:8-10 says, “If we claim to be without sin, we deceive ourselves and the truth is not in us. If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness. If we claim we have not sinned, we make Him out to be a liar and His word has no place in our lives.” Sounds like it’s not if we sin, but when we sin, confession is required. Then, God is faithful to forgive us and cleanse us. Our full acceptance of His pardon releases us from all guilt and shame for that offense. God remembers our sins no more, so we can forget them also, and strive to do better next time we are tempted.

Ground Zero Video – Click Here to Watch (Hosted at Gumroad.com – Click to “Buy or Rent” the video, then enter 0 as price to watch it for FREE.)

Even after accepting Christ as my Savior and being a Christian for many years, it’s still nearly impossible to live a sin-free life. That’s the goal, but sadly, in my humanness, it’s not achievable on this side of the pearly gates. Jesus is the only person who ever accomplished that feat. One role of the Holy Spirit is to empower me to overcome temptation and resist sin. However, if I am not tuned in constantly, listening to God’s voice within, or if I am not willing to obey Him, I will fall short of God’s glory. Therefore, it’s still possible, on any given day, that disobedience, unconfessed sin, rebellion, or repetitive sin could erect a roadblock that impedes my clear communication with God.

No matter how hard we try to defeat sin, at times, it becomes our master. Thankfully, we serve a High Priest who hears our confessions and daily intercedes on our behalf, restoring our relationships with God the Father. We worship an awesome God who sent His Son to be a sin offering in place of us, and then, He also sent us the gift of the indwelling Holy Spirit to empower us to live our lives according to the Spirit rather than the sinful nature.

Satan has only as much power as we give him. How powerless have you become? Whatever your weakness, it’s time to take back control! All of it! We’ve been given Jesus’ authority over all sin. We have the same power that raised Jesus from the dead, and He lives inside us. Instead of relinquishing our power to the adversary, we must draw on the strength of the Holy Spirit within us to resist temptation and our tendency to believe the lies Satan introduces in our thoughts. We have the ability stand firm in our faith and resist all temptation because the Lord does not allow us to be tempted beyond what we can handle. “No temptation has seized you except what is common to man. And God is faithful; He will not let you be tempted beyond what you can bear. But when you are tempted, He will also provide a way out so that you can stand up under it.” (1 Corinthians 10:13) Our brothers and sisters in Christ, who live in all parts of the world, suffer similar trials.

Be vigilant about guarding your heart and your mind. Do not allow the deceiver to carry out his battle plans on your watch. When I stood on the sidelines of life and did not participate in the big game, the devil did not need to concentrate his focus on me. The moment I invited Jesus into my heart and sought a more intimate relationship with Him, I enlisted in the battle of good vs. evil. Choosing God’s side, I put a large target on my back for the dragon, Satan, to take his aim. Satan sat up, took notice, and stepped-up his plan of action to derail me.

Most often, the common battlefield is our mind. Satan will continue to sway us toward disobedience. But Jesus triumphantly conquered this battle for us already. We can claim our victory over sin in the name and blood of Jesus Christ.

Are you ready to stand firm in your faith and embark on a barrier-free journey of intimacy with Jesus? If your desire is to do so, but you feel unprepared, I suggest you beef up your plan of counterattack against temptation and sin by practicing these steps daily:

  1. Confess your sin.
  2. Turn from your disobedient ways.
  3. Immerse yourself in the Word of God. Meditate on it day and night.
  4. Dress yourself in the full armor of God.
  5. Be ready to draw the sword of the Spirit by being prepared with Scripture to battle temptation and lies.
  6. Know your weak spots and vulnerabilities.
  7. Take control of all your thoughts and make them obedient to Christ.
  8. Remove any other roadblocks between you and God.
  9. Listen to the still, small voice of the Holy Spirit all day long.
  10. Obey the voice of God in your thoughts.

Has the devil ever captivated your thoughts with the following deceptions? If not the lies listed below, then identify any other lies regarding sin that you have believed and disprove them with the truth from Scripture.

#1: Your sins are too big for God to forgive.

#2: You need to keep asking for forgiveness for the same sin.

#3: God will never speak to you because of your sin or past.

 Click on the link below to purchase your copy of 7 Roadblocks to Hearing God Speak. Identify the obstacles and the lies that hinder your communication with the Holy Spirit, and then, make an effort to remove and disprove them. This book will get you started in the right direction.

Click here to purchase book today.

Book Two in Hearing God’s Voice Series

Roadblock #5 – Busyness – The Enemy of Freedom

When we don’t have time for God, it’s difficult to have a meaningful conversation or relationship with Him. The busyness of life may keep you from hearing God’s voice. Satan loves to fill up our lives, even with good, godly acts of service, so that we don’t have time to listen to God’s voice. The enemy keeps us in chaos and noise so that we cannot hear the still, small voice of Jesus. Are you too busy serving in too many places, so you miss out on what He says to you? Or do you make time regularly to sit alone with the Lord, listening to His Spirit within you? He does have something to say to you.

Remember Mary and Martha? Martha opened her home to Jesus. All her preparations for His visit robbed her of spending time with her Guest of honor, while Mary sat at Jesus’ feet and eagerly listened to what He said.

But Martha was distracted by all the preparations that had to be made. She came to Him and asked, “Lord, don’t you care that my sister has left me to do the work by myself? Tell her to help me!”

“Martha, Martha,” the Lord answered, “You are worried and upset about many things, but only one thing is needed. Mary has chosen what is better, and it will not be taken away from her.” (Luke 10:40-41)

Are you too busy doing, doing, doing to sit at the feet of Jesus and listen to what He wants to say to you? It pleased Jesus that Mary sat and listened to Him, and He didn’t take that time away from her. Everything else could wait.

I must confess, my innate tendency is to behave more like Martha than Mary. Being the die-hard people-pleaser that I am, if Jesus and His disciples came to visit my home, I might be more worried about the hospitality than the relationality. I could see myself scurrying around, cleaning, preparing a meal, and making sure my guests are well taken care of. I would be more inclined to “do” than to “be” still and listen.

Understanding my nature and God-given spiritual gift of help or service, I must force myself to be more social and relational when hosting a gathering. My efforts are usually concentrated on fulfilling the roles of maid, cook, caterer, server, dishwasher, launderer, and concierge, rather than playing the warm, welcoming, congenial hostess role. I’m afraid I would be more concerned about making sure Jesus had a clean, comfortable place to sit, a nice meal to eat, a tasty wine to drink, and crisp, clean sheets to sleep on than on honoring Him with my undivided time, listening to every word that rolled out of His mouth.

Opposites attract, however. My husband is a popular, sanguine Mary. He walks into a crowded room and immediately bursts with positive energy from being in a social atmosphere. He loves communicating with anyone and everyone. He enjoys initiating and carrying on conversations with complete strangers. A social gathering is very exciting and emotionally stimulating for him. He talks and listens to each guest who enters our home, making them feel special and welcome. My husband would shake Jesus’s hand and cheerfully sit at His feet, listening to every word He spoke. Whose behavior do you think Jesus would most appreciate? Are you a Martha or a Mary?

When Martha told Jesus to reprimand Mary for not helping her with the preparations, Jesus very clearly set Martha straight on her priorities. We have to find a balance between serving and spending time alone with Christ, listening to His voice. Is Jesus pleased with the amount of individual attention you give Him? Are you making your time with Him a priority over your other activities?

Your calendar might be due for an overhaul. Free up some time daily to be with God. Cross off some of the less important activities. Write in ink, not pencil, to schedule your “God” time. Don’t let another activity “bump” your time with God or take priority over your relationship with Jesus, the Lord of your life. Perhaps you have fallen prey to some of these misconceptions:

 

#1: I don’t have time to wait for God to speak to me.

#2: All these other activities I do are more urgent than spending time with God.

#3: Investing time in godly activities equals having a relationship with Jesus.

 

Click on the link below to purchase your copy of 7 Roadblocks to Hearing God Speak. Identify the obstacles and the lies that hinder your communication with the Holy Spirit, and then, make an effort to remove and disprove them. This book will get you started in the right direction.

Click here to Purchase the book now.

Book Two in Hearing God’s Voice Series

 

Roadblock #4 – Worry – The Enemy of Trust

Worry does not add anything to our lives; in fact, it sucks the life right out of us. Worry equals not trusting fully in God. When we don’t trust God for everything, we distance ourselves from Him. Not relying completely on God to care for us, protect us, and provide for us, we detach ourselves from Him and His enormous power. God is omniscient: He knows our every need. God is omnipotent: He is the almighty, all-powerful, invincible Lord. God is omnipresent: He never leaves us; He’s always with us. God is the All-Sufficient One: He is enough. God is trustworthy: He will do what He promises.

God does not ask us to have blind faith and complete trust in a human being. He does ask us to put our trust and confidence in Him alone. We can rest in the assurance that He will take care of us. He is the Most High God. He is dependable, reliable, and faithful.

Jesus said, “Therefore I tell you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat or drink; or about your body, what you will wear. Is not life more important than food, and the body more important than clothes? …Who of you by worrying can add a single hour to his life?” (Matthew 6:25, 27). Proverbs 3:5-6 says, “Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways acknowledge Him, and He will make your paths straight.” God wants us to be completely dependent on Him for everything. Not depending on God and trusting in Him completely may put distance between Him and you.

God loves children and speaks to them. Perhaps He does so because children are more dependent. Are you approaching God as a child? Are you dependent on Him? Remember the story of the boy Samuel? After God had spoken to him, Samuel didn’t question God; he listened and obeyed. (See 1 Samuel 3 for the whole story.) God spoke to the boy because he practiced humility and willingly served the Lord. He did not have preconceived ideas about how God would talk to him. Samuel did not practice the freedom of self-sufficiency. He enthusiastically listened to God however God chose to speak to him, and then he obeyed.

This story offers encouragement. God speaks to people of all ages and all spiritual maturity levels. He doesn’t stop calling you just because you don’t recognize Him. He keeps pursuing you until you learn the sound of His voice. He will speak to you when you are still and ready to listen.

And yet, hearing Him is not enough. God looks for people who are dependent on Him, ready to listen to and obey Him. When we practice our independence and do what we please, God may choose not to speak to us. Depending on God and obeying His lead will keep the doors of communication open between you and the Lord.

To hear God’s voice, you must become like a child: humble, with a simple faith and reverence for the Lord. In Matthew 18:3, Jesus says, “I tell you the truth, unless you change and become like little children, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven. Therefore, whoever humbles himself like this child is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven.” In Mark 10:15, Jesus says, “I tell you the truth, anyone who will not receive the kingdom of God like a little child will never enter it.”

Become like a child and surrender to the work and power of the Holy Spirit within you. Trust God, and depend on Him for everything. Walk in submission to God by being sensitive to the voice of the Holy Spirit and acting in obedience to His instruction.

Trusting in the Lord, rather than in ourselves and others, proves to be the most stress-free way to live. Giving our cares over to God, Who controls all things, prevents us from being stifled in our spiritual growth by depending on our own limited understanding. Put your trust in God today, and acknowledge His supreme influence, power, and authority in your life. Permit yourself to relinquish all control and worry to the One who rules and reigns over everything on earth and in heaven. Purchase your copy of 7 Roadblocks to Hearing God Speak today and trade in the following lies for the truth in God’s Word.

#1: God won’t provide for all my needs.

#2:  I can’t trust God because He let me down in the past.

#3: I need to take care of things myself because God isn’t.

 

Click here to purchase book now.

Book Two in Hearing God’s Voice Series

 

 

Roadblock #3 – Pride – The Enemy of Humility

Independence, control, and comparison. Those words don’t sound prideful when spoken individually. However, when we rely on ourselves for everything and don’t depend on God for anything, He could view this independent spirit as arrogance or overconfidence. Likewise, it often feels good to be in complete control of ourselves, our lives, an event, a situation, another person, or his actions. The haughty monster of pride rears its ugly head in the condescending creature of control. And when we compare ourselves to others and always come out on top, a conceited nature triumphs over humility in our souls. Be careful—this sounds a bit like sitting in the judgment seat, and that’s not a position you want to claim for yourself. Judgment is reserved for Almighty God alone.

Pride is mentioned in Proverbs 6:16-19 as one of the seven things detestable to God. Pride manifests itself in these forms: arrogance, conceit, self-importance, egotism, vanity, haughty eyes, condescension, scorn, disrespect, snootiness, loftiness, and contemptuousness. The Lord despises proud actions and attitudes. Here are a few of the many verses that describe how God feels about pride:

Pride goes before destruction, a haughty spirit before a fall. (Proverbs 16:18)

God opposes the proud but gives grace to the humble. (James 4:6)

The Lord detests all the proud of heart. Be sure of this: They will not go unpunished. (Proverbs 16:5)

Though the Lord is on high, He looks upon the lowly, but the proud He knows from afar. (Psalm 138:6)

If you are not hearing God’s voice, you may want to perform a pride inventory in your spirit. Do you practice humility and selflessness, or are you responsible for behaviors that are detestable to God? The verses above assure us that God will punish the proud of heart, and He doesn’t go near individuals who are full of pride. If you hold pride in your heart, confess it and ask God’s forgiveness. Get rid of all pride, arrogance, conceit, self-importance, haughtiness, disrespect, loftiness, and condescension before you seek the Lord to listen to His voice. Treat others as more important than yourself. Assume the position of the lowly, the meek, and the servant. Don’t take it to the extreme so that you resemble a doormat, but approaching the Lord with a contrite heart, in humility, opens the door to receiving God’s words of grace, encouragement, and wisdom.

Unfortunately, pride comes much too naturally to all of us, including me. Read about the fall of humankind in Genesis 3. From the very beginning of time, self-importance snuck into human desire. Satan tempted Eve with the idea that she could be all-knowing and wise, like God, if she ate the fruit from the forbidden tree. Deceived by the devil, Eve ate some and gave some to Adam. Pride initiated a sinful response when the evil one presented his temptation.

The need for independence and superiority continues to be the cause of some of our sin today. Proverbs 16:18 says, “Pride goes before destruction, a haughty spirit before a fall.” The truth of this verse rang loudly in the Garden of Eden. It still rings true thousands of years later.

Another example of haughtiness is found in Ezekiel 28, the prophecy against the king of Tyre. In verse 17, the Sovereign Lord says, “Your heart became proud on account of your beauty, and you corrupted your wisdom because of your splendor. So I threw you to the earth; I made a spectacle of you before kings.” God detested his arrogance. The king’s pride preceded his destruction.

In Proverbs 8:13, the wise Solomon says, “To fear the Lord is to hate evil; I hate pride and arrogance, evil behavior and perverse speech.” Fear in this case is the same reverence for the Lord that we talked about in the previous blog. When you respect the Lord, you will detest all pride and arrogance, as He does. Yet arrogance sneaks into all areas of life. Recall that pride inventory we talked about? It may be necessary to make that assessment daily, even hourly.

If pride in any form resides in your life, don’t expect to be close to God and hear from Him regularly. Psalm 138:6 says, “Though the Lord is on high, He looks upon the lowly, but the proud He knows from afar.” As another passage I’ve already quoted says, “God opposes the proud but gives grace to the humble. Submit yourselves, then, to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you. Come near to God and He will come near to you” (James 4:6-8). God spends time with humble people who submit themselves to Him and make time for Him. God distances Himself from the self-righteous, prideful, judgmental person.

When the needle on the pride-o-meter registers anywhere on the gauge, take action immediately to dispose of all forms of pride. Humble yourself before the Lord. Submit yourself to Him and exalt Him, rather than yourself. Show the Lord how much you trust in Him for everything. Relinquish your control to the Most High. Place the desires of others ahead of your own. Do not judge any person or behavior. Assume the servant position in God’s kingdom.

Do you struggle with judging others or promoting yourself to a higher pedestal? What alerts you of your arrogance? I can tell you truly, when I do not practice the humility of a servant, I should not expect God will speak to me. No matter my standing or position in the world, I am but an unworthy sinner, forgiven and saved by God’s grace alone. I am no better than anyone else. If I do not treat others better than myself, God has no business with me, and therefore no reason to talk to me.

Anytime I have seated myself on the judgment throne with regard to another human being, God has given me an opportunity to experience the same affliction, position, or experience as the one I judged. Very soon I’ve gained a new appreciation and respect for the one I condemned because I have walked down a similar path. Becoming the object of my own pride rapidly and effectively cuts me down to size. When the roadblock of pride comes down, my reception of God’s voice dramatically improves.

The Bible provides many significant illustrations of humility. Jesus, God’s own Son, displayed the ultimate humility when He left His throne in heaven and came to earth to be the sacrificial Lamb and die for our sins. Another dramatic demonstration of Christ’s servanthood took place when He washed the feet of His disciples. We can imitate this kind of humility when we selflessly serve our own subordinates, or, better yet, those we judge. This foot washing can be accomplished literally or figuratively. Think of a way you might take an unassuming position with someone you lead, manage, or influence. Is there any type of metaphorical foot washing you could perform for him or her? Maybe picking up a towel and basin of water is what you really need.

Let’s examine some of the enemy’s deceit in our thoughts, which gives birth to overconfidence. You might believe you can take care of yourself; you know what’s best for you. Or, you might think you are in control of your own life. Is it possible that thinking you are better than someone else for any reason could be hampering your clear reception of God’s voice in your thoughts? Grab your copy of 7 Roadblocks to Hearing God’s Voice today, and begin identifying what stands in your way of hearing the voice of the Holy Spirit, who makes your heart His home.

Click here to purchase this book now.

Book Two in Hearing God’s Voice Series

Roadblock #2 – Fear – The Enemy of Confidence

Apprehension about the unknown can keep us from understanding the mystery of God. But fear is not from God. Second Timothy 1:7 says, “For God did not give us a spirit of timidity, but a spirit of power, of love and of self-discipline.” I had a fear of God, but not the right kind of fear. Before I got to know God better, apprehension shrouded my desire to speak in conversation with Him. I feared that everything that came out of God’s mouth would convict me. I dreaded His wrath, because I did not know the truth about His character.

God is loving, kind, compassionate, forgiving, faithful, trustworthy, and so much more. He loves us so much He wants to have an intimate relationship with each of us. I had to get to know God more intimately before the only fear I felt toward Him equaled awe and reverence. Psalm 147:11 says, “The Lord delights in those who fear Him, who put their hope in His unfailing love.” God delights when we fear Him with a reverence that acknowledges we can put our trust in Him and depend on Him for everything.

Now that I know God better because of spending time in His Word and listening to His voice, I no longer fear Him with anxiety and apprehension. I can’t wait to speak with Him because He amazes me. I now fear God out of reverence and respect because He has made His loving character known to me through His Word and His voice. I can depend on Him to meet all my needs. “The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom” (Psalm 111:10).

            Read Acts 9. It’s the story of Saul, later renamed Paul. After the death and resurrection of Christ, Saul threatened to kill Jesus’ disciples and take His followers as prisoners to Jerusalem. As he neared Damascus, however, he saw a light from heaven flash around him. “He fell to the ground and heard a voice say to him, ‘Saul, Saul, why do you persecute Me?’” (Acts 9:4) It was the voice of Jesus. Saul could have fallen from the fear and dread of what was about to happen, or from the awe and reverence of being in the presence of the Lord. As he met the Lord face to face, Saul may have feared his own identity as one who persecuted the Jesus who stood before him.

Is it possible your identity causes you anxiety in communicating with Jesus? If you have accepted Jesus as your Savior, you are a child of God. No longer are you a slave to fear. Psalm 34:4 says, “I sought the Lord, and He answered me; He delivered me from all my fears.” However, you may not feel connected to God. Maybe you’ve strayed from living a life that pleases God, and the shame you feel causes you to fear God’s wrath. Perhaps you have stopped attending church, reading the Bible, or praying regularly. As a result, you experience apprehension about how Jesus would relate to you if He spoke to you.

Many times, we claim our identity from external sources in our lives. My identity branded me early in life when I heard my mom repeatedly refer to me as “an accident.” Accidents are unwanted, unexpected events that we don’t plan for and that sometimes cause pain: physical, emotional, or spiritual. I knew my mom had not planned me; therefore, I believed I was unwanted and unloved. My conception and birth had caused my mother undue emotional pain and then emotionally scarred me for much of my life. The external label “accident” spawned an internal insecurity about my identity that stuck with me for more than thirty years.

Another fear that blocked my communication with God was the fear of intimacy. I feared He wouldn’t speak to me; therefore, I didn’t want to experience the pain of rejection. I wasn’t even sure He listened to me when I talked to Him. I hesitated to get emotionally close to God and become too dependent on Him because I feared He would let me down, as others had.

I knew I was a child of God, but I didn’t feel like His child. What if God also viewed me as an accident? What if He didn’t love me either? What if my sins were too big for God to forgive? God wouldn’t speak to me. I was nothing to Him. I was nobody special. Why would He talk to me? Do you ever experience conversations like this within yourself? Are you insecure about your relationship with Jesus? Are you unsure about your identity in Christ? I was. My uncertainties caused me to approach the throne of God with fear and trembling, not in confidence with awe and wonder.

The first time I sat down to listen for God’s voice, I needed reassurance from God that He wasn’t angry with me. I wanted to know how He felt about me. I longed to know who He saw when He looked at me. I craved His attention, positive or negative. I prepared myself for whatever He would say to me. I wanted to know who I was to God and that He had a plan for my life. Battling depression for the second time, I desperately needed a reason to go on.

My depression counseling sessions had turned into spiritual mentoring meetings. My counselor described how he listened to Jesus’s voice and encouraged me to try it. He instructed me to record my conversations with Jesus in a journal. During one session, we talked about how God has His own special name for each of His children. My counselor invited me to consider asking God, “What is your name for me?”

A name is more than a way to identify someone. It’s a birthright; it represents our heritage, our legacy, our inheritance. It becomes our own challenge to make our names good and live up to our full potential as God’s creation. This starts when we seek God for His name for us. We can’t live into our God-given identity and purpose until we understand what that is.

God’s chosen name for you may be different than the name your parents gave you. Many people throughout the Old and New Testaments received their names, name changes, or identity, directly from the mouth of God and Jesus: Abram (Abraham), Sarai (Sarah), Isaac, Jacob (Israel), John the Baptist, Jesus, Simon (Peter), and Saul (Paul), to cite a few.

Considering the possibility that God had a special name for me, I was excited to learn it.  It was the missing link to my identity, my sanity, and my confidence in Christ. One evening, I escaped the noise of my family and retired to my quiet bedroom. This marked the first time that I really tried to hear God speak. I wanted to capture whatever I heard from God that night, so I wrote all my thoughts in a notebook.

I asked God, “What do you think of me? Who am I to you? Do you have a name for me?” I listened intently but heard nothing. I kept asking the same questions but didn’t know what to expect or how the answer would come to me. Would I hear an audible voice? Again I inquired of God, “Who do you see when you look at me? What is your name for me?”

In one very distinct moment, I heard a name whispered in my thoughts. I wrote it down, but I quickly dismissed it, not being able to relate to it at all. I asked God again, “What is your name for me?” Again, the voice in my head repeated the name. Once more, I thought I’d heard it incorrectly. I couldn’t identify with the name. I didn’t understand its meaning. I had expected to hear a name like “beloved one,” similar to the name one of my friend’s had heard.

A third time, I requested God’s name for me. Yet again, God confirmed it in my thoughts, and this time the words took center stage in my head, displayed in all capital letters. Three times God clearly spoke the same name to me in my thoughts. I knew it must be the name He had given me—but I didn’t recognize the meaning behind it.

One way to confirm and comprehend what God says to us is to go to Scripture. Using the concordance in my Bible, I began a two-hour search for all the verses and meanings I could find about the name God had spoken to me. Seeing the name appear in more than twenty-five verses surprised me. As I read each verse and the surrounding passages, a feeling of peace and joy came over me. Emotion overwhelmed me. When I discovered the meaning of God’s name for me, it resonated with me. This name would most likely not mean the same thing to any other person, but it embodied everything I longed to be to God and everything I desired to hear from God at that moment.

That evening, God met me at the bottom of the pit of depression I occupied. He showered me with His loving kindness. He lifted me up out of the darkness and washed off the mud. I connected with Him in a way I never had before. I had a new understanding that God is alive. He’s a loving Father who cares about me and wants to have a relationship with me. I felt special, wanted, and loved by God. I felt important to God, a priority to Him. When I discovered how God felt about me, nothing else mattered. My fear dissipated and my confidence in the Lord replaced it. When I felt loved and wanted by the God of the universe, I had a new reason to live and a new excitement about what the future would hold for me. No longer did I fear spending time with God.

Shortly after I received God’s name for me and began spending more time alone with Him, my church went through a 40 Days of Purpose study from the book The Purpose Driven Life by Rick Warren. From this study, God revealed and confirmed many things to me as He healed me and strengthened me.

God brought to light the reason He created me and His purpose for my life here on earth. He wants me to help set His captives free, like He set me free, by awakening hearts to Him. He wants me to help lead His people to the promised land, which is the abundant life in Christ, through a personal, intimate relationship with Him. He wants me to be a light to the Gentiles, people who do not know God yet. Really, these assignments represent activities He calls all of His children to carry out. It’s what Jesus did when He walked the earth. God’s Word promises, in John 14:12, we will do even greater things than Jesus did. Can you believe it?

If you have not yet heard the voice of God, I encourage you to listen. If you do not yet know God’s name for you, I pray you will ask Him. If you find yourself imprisoned by Satan’s lies about your identity, I invite you to seek God’s truth and let God Himself set you straight.

God is a gentleman. He pursues us, but He doesn’t crash in on us and take us over. In Revelation 3:20, Jesus says, “Here I am! I stand at the door and knock. If anyone hears My voice and opens the door, I will come in and eat with him, and he with Me.” Jesus continually pursues us. He is pursuing you now. He stands at the door to your heart and knocks, saying, “Here I am!” He patiently waits for you to listen, hear His voice, open the door, and let Him in to enjoy intimate relationship with the living God.

Open the door to Jesus. He will come in, sit with you, and eat with you. Are you hungry to hear God’s voice? Are you desperate enough to listen? He waits for your response. Will you open your door, and your ears, to what God has to say to you? He calls you by name. No need to fear God because of who you are or who you are not. You are His child, loved and redeemed by Him. Identify yourself with the name God so carefully chose for you before the world began. Your name is engraved on His palms (see Isaiah 49:16).

Some lies swirling around in our heads evolve from the idea that the only things God will say to you are: He will convict you of your sin, or God will ask you to do something you don’t want to do, or He’s full of only wrath and fury toward you because of your sin. Are these falsehoods feeding your fear of intimacy with God? Get your copy of 7 Roadblocks to Hearing God Speak, and start identifying and eliminating any lies you may be unknowingly investing in.

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Book Two in Hearing God’s Voice Series

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

A Friend to the End

What it means to be a friend…by Sindy Nagel

 

I’m excited to share with you one thing I know today

What it means to be a friend in every single way

Then ask your inner being, “Does this reflect myself?”

“Am I this good of friend to anybody else?”

 

My Friend is always near me; He’s never far away

I can call upon His name and speak with Him all day

Especially in the evening hours, He makes His presence known

And watches over me when I’m in the sleeping zone

 

He’s quite the gentle man, never pushing His own way

He opens wide His arms of love when I have gone astray

Forgiving my transgressions, my iniquities, my sin

And helps me live a better life by His Spirit guide within

 

When I am feeling down in heart or my spirit seems depressed

My friend helps cheer my inner soul and shows me I am blessed

When fear sets in, or doubt attacks, or I feel my heart is weak

He reminds me of His promises, and things don’t look so bleak

 

When life gets hard and things go wrong, He is my hiding place

I run to Him, climb in His arms; He wipes tears from my face

He listens so intently to all the words my lips release

And offers me His wisdom, while giving me His peace

 

My Friend is there in good times too, when I am filled with glee

His heart swells up, He cracks a smile, when things go well for me

My biggest fan and cheerleader, He’s always the first one

To fondly pat me on the back and say the words, “Well done!”

 

Every morning when we meet for prayer, He listens and He speaks

When my challenges go on for days and days turn into weeks

I can pour out my troubles to Him and He’s the first to say,

“Don’t worry ‘bout a thing that’s coming, I’ve got your back today!”

 

Like two best friends can usually do, we enjoy our time together

We laugh and cry, we joke and play, like two birds of a feather

I always know when I’m in trouble, He’ll stay close by my side

He cheers me on, encourages me—in Him I can confide

 

My Friend is my comforter, my protector, and my guide

He loves me so much that He paid my debt and died

Although it sometimes feels this way, He left me not alone

He’s always there, deep within, because my heart’s His home

 

This poem is dedicated to My Friend, He is the world’s best

Even when I’ve fallen short and put Him to the test

He loves me more than I can grasp and shows it when He can

He is my Rock, my Friend, my King, and I, His biggest fan

 

I’ve shared with you one thing I know about being a good friend

Both in the good and bad times, an ally to the end

Now ask your inner being, “Does this reflect myself?”

“Am I this good of friend to anybody else?”

 

Go and be a friend today, and use this as your guide

Listen, pray, encourage the one you walk beside

Whether skies are sunny blue or darker shades of gray

Be the best that you can be–a good friend, through Him today


 

What Stands in Your Way of Hearing God Speak?

depositphotos_8137875-Barricade-and-Warning-Light-Closeup[1]It’s my prayer today, that if you’ve been following my blog for the past couple months, and applying the 7 Simple Steps to Hearing God’s Voice, you will be well on your way to hearing and recognizing the voice of God within you. However, if you’ve been regularly putting in the time and effort to listen to God, and not yet heard from Him, you may be wondering, Why? I am eager to share with you seven things I discovered that kept me from hearing God speak.

Before you think, But God won’t speak to me because… (Fill in the blank yourself), let me tell you, it’s really very simple. If you have accepted Jesus Christ as your Savior and invited Him into your heart to be your Lord, then God does speak to you. However, something may be deafening your ears to His voice.

In this blog, over the next couple months, I will introduce seven roadblocks that may stand in your way of hearing God speak. As you read on, see if any of these barriers might be keeping you from enjoying two-way conversation and intimate relationship with Jesus.

After twenty years of following Christ and yet struggling with clinical depression, I was ready to throw in the towel. I could only hope there was more to life than what I’d experienced. I heard believers talk about a relationship with Jesus. I thought I had one. I talked to God, but unfairly, I didn’t leave room in the conversation for God to speak to me. I didn’t believe He would speak to me. Doubt was one of the roadblocks standing in my way of hearing God’s voice. I didn’t consider that the big God of the universe would speak to little ole me.

I couldn’t have been more wrong. About fifteen years ago, it all changed for me. One night, while talking to God, I actually made time to listen. I heard a voice in my thoughts that I knew was not my own. It was God! He spoke to me, an average girl. Now I know ordinary people hear from God, too.

You may wonder, Why doesn’t God speak to me? What am I doing wrong? How do I go about hearing His voice? I wrestled with these same uncertainties. In my quest for answers, God blessed me far beyond my heart’s desire. My relationship with the Lord grew stronger and deeper as I learned how to enjoy two-way communication with Him.

Does your relationship with Jesus lack the WOW factor? Mine did. But hearing God’s voice added an amazing new dimension to my faith adventure. Whenever we listen to God’s voice within us, we achieve a greater intimacy with the Lord. Hearing God’s voice is one of the keys to a deeper connection with Jesus Christ. It’s absolutely life-changing and life-giving!

Your search for deeper intimacy with God is about to yield results. After regularly hearing God speak for the last fifteen years, I nailed down 7 Roadblocks to Hearing God Speak. Practicing any or all of the behaviors identified here may cause you to feel that the all-powerful God will not speak to you because you are not worthy or qualified to hear Him.

Truly, despite your flaws and feelings of inadequacy, God continues to pursue you passionately. He doesn’t wait until you are perfect and sin-free to speak to you. The Holy Spirit of God communicates with you all day, every day, in many different ways. He’s anxiously waiting for you to listen and recognize His voice!

As a Christian, you have the living God dwelling inside you, so why wouldn’t you be able to hear His voice? Well, these seven things may stand in the way: doubt, fear, pride, worry, busyness, disobedience, and an unwillingness to forgive. To be clear, these behaviors won’t necessarily keep God from speaking to you, but they may keep you from hearing Him. The indwelling Holy Spirit helps you become more Christ-like, so you have to be able to hear and recognize God’s voice within you to utilize the promptings and assistance the Holy Spirit offers you in the journey of sanctification.

Over the next several weeks, this blog will help you identify seven barriers that may cause deafness to God’s voice. Learn how to crush these deterrents and strengthen your relationship with the Lord. Achieve amazing results when you clear the path to listening to God. Truly, it’s worth your time and effort. In fact, it’s vital to experiencing the abundant life Jesus Christ came to give you!

All this information and more can be found in my book, 7 Roadblocks to Hearing God Speak: Removing the Barriers Between You and God. It’s available from Amazon.com in Audio Book, Kindle, and Paperback. 

Click on this link to purchase the book

Book Two in Hearing God's Voice Series

Book Two in Hearing God’s Voice Series

Step 7 – Share the Good News

image of Stairs to open door. free concept 3d illustration

I followed Christ more than twenty years before I learned the art of listening to God’s voice. I knew God spoke to a few people, but I didn’t believe He would speak to me. If early in my walk of faith a more experienced Christian had practiced “show and tell” with me, I could have been listening to God’s voice for many, many more years. When you know something really great—when you have access to a priceless piece of art—you show and tell others about it. You show them what it means to you and tell them how to achieve it for themselves.

Enable others to enjoy the treasure you already enjoy. Tell people they can hear the voice of God. Show them the art of listening to Him. This is my prayer for you: “I pray that you may be active in sharing your faith, so that you will have a full understanding of every good thing we have in Christ” (Philemon 6).

Please do a better job than I have done as a wife and mother in sharing your relationship with Jesus Christ and your ability to hear God’s voice with your spouse, your children, and their children. Satan wants nothing more than for us to keep this priceless treasure to ourselves.

When I started hearing God’s voice, my enemy, the devil, took notice. Satan stood on full alert and wanted to stifle me before I became a threat to his work. He introduced new lies to me, and, naively, I believed them. I crawled into my prison cell once again when I believed in the opponent’s deceit. He cunningly ran these crafty thoughts through my mind: You hear God speak? Really? People will think you are crazy. You’d better keep this one to yourself. No one will believe you. They will think you are foolish. They will lock you up and throw away the key. Your husband won’t believe you. He’ll think you are unstable—after all, you are depressed and taking medication. Your children won’t understand. Don’t even try to share this with them.

Do you feel as unhappy about this as I do? Have you ever had similar thoughts? I allowed Satan, the destroyer, to shame me right into silence. I wasn’t crazy but naïve—not fully aware and alert to my spiritual opponent. I was not knowledgeable and experienced in the ways of the devil. I kept this wonderful news of hearing God’s voice all to myself. I shared it only with my mentor, who heard God’s voice too.

I played right into Satan’s hand. If he could keep me silent about listening to God’s voice, he had me exactly where he wanted me. Nobody would know about it. Nobody would hear the good news. Nobody would be encouraged to listen to God speak. Nobody would believe they could hear the voice of God in their thoughts. The enemy had me believing I lived on an island, all alone. Satan convinced me that many believers do not hear God’s voice, and I’d be crazy to say I do. Therefore, I supposed I should not tell anyone I practice listening to God and I recognize His voice.

As soon as I became wise to Satan’s deceitful ways, I began the battle of breaking free. King Jesus came to my rescue again. The Holy Spirit used Scripture to educate me about the devil’s ways. He instilled confidence in me because Christ has already won the battle against my enemy. Christ has set me free. Paul tells us in Galatians 5:1, “It is for freedom that Christ has set us free. Stand firm, then, and do not let yourselves be burdened again by a yoke of slavery.” I remain free now to show others what God has done for me and to tell them how to listen to His voice.

I learned to pray the Armor of God, from Ephesians 6:10-18, to protect myself. He showed me how to rebuke the devil and stand strong in the victorious name of Jesus Christ. He gave me the sword of the Spirit, which is the Word of God, as my weapon of choice. Not only did I have a new passion for Christ, I had a new hatred toward the devil. I would stand firm in the finished work of Christ. By the power of the Holy Spirit, in the name of Jesus Christ, I would win this battle in my mind. I would be excited to “show and tell” the world how to practice the art of listening to God.

In my weakness, Jesus Christ strengthened me for battle. He protected me from my enemy and equipped me to stand victoriously in authority over Satan. Jesus prepared me to carry out my purpose in God’s greater plan. I’m nobody special, except that I’m a child of God. He had me in mind before He created the world. He wanted me and loved me before He set the stars in the sky.

He uses the common, the lowly, and the unlikely ones to carry out His plans. I represent the common, lowly, and unlikely. I am an ordinary woman who can hear from an extraordinary God. He used my story and prepared me to share it to bring His people into closer relationship with Himself. God has called me to deliver a message to His people. This is the message God wants me to share with you:

God loves you more than you will ever comprehend. He wants to have an intimate relationship with you. He speaks to you, and He wants you to listen. He has more to say than a “yes” or “no” to your requests. He wants you to put Him first in your life by spending time with Him daily, listening to His voice, and carrying out His will.

Spending time in relationship with Jesus Christ to develop the art of listening to God is the best thing I’ve ever done in my life. Well, it’s a close second to the decision I made to accept Jesus Christ as my Savior. Listening to God and hearing His voice is priceless—a valuable art form. Will you search for it as for silver? Building intimacy with Jesus Christ is building spiritual wealth in the kingdom of God, here on earth and in heaven. Will you pursue it as you would hunt for gold? The wisdom of God is more precious than rubies. Will you seek it around every corner?

Right now, I implore you to reclaim any power you have relinquished to the enemy and empower your family, your friends, your children, and your children’s children by passing on this precious gift of knowledge to them. Do not fear; be strong and courageous. Tell those you influence to put God first—to spend time with Him and listen to His voice. Train them in the ways of God, and then train them in the ways of Satan, their enemy. Educate them and equip them to stand firm and claim Christ’s victory in their own battles.

Demonstrate how to know God better by saturating yourself in His Word and meditating on it day and night. Encourage your children to do the same. Place them into God’s care and protection, so they may develop a greater intimacy with and trust in the One who created them.

Model the practice of listening to God’s voice in front of them so that it can be caught as well as taught. Share your own experiences with them. In the words of Charles Stanley, children will “do what we do before they do what we say.”[4] So be sure you are practicing what you are preaching, and then instruct the next generation and beyond, using the four T’s:

  1. Tell them to put God first by making time for Him, making Him a priority in their lives.
  2. Train them to know God better by reading His Word and meditating on it day and night.
  3. Trust them to deepen their relationship with Jesus Christ by spending time with Him in the person of the Holy Spirit and yielding their own spirit to His.
  4. Teach them to “listen” to the voice of God within themselves—listen and obey.

When you believe in God and accept Jesus as your Savior, He sends His Holy Spirit to live in your heart. The living God dwells in you! Look within your own spirit, and tune in to the Spirit of God. Jesus promised the Spirit of Truth would speak to you and make the things of God known to you. You have access to everything that belongs to God—to His very mind and thoughts. God and Jesus speak to you through the Holy Spirit, who speaks to you in your thoughts. Listening to God’s voice within you is one of the keys to experiencing an abundant life—the full life Jesus Christ came to give you. When you can hear the voice of God, you have everything you need; you are filled with all the fullness of Christ. When you hear God speak to you, it will change your life forever.

Now believe it and do it! Go and listen to the voice of God! God will bless you richly as you seek to know Him more intimately.

Respond to God’s voice in the words of the boy, Samuel: “Speak, for Your servant is listening” (1 Samuel 3:10). May God bless you with His presence and His word as you seek to know Him better every day. Know and cherish God’s voice within you. And then, be sure to ‘Share the Good News’ with the world!

Order book now by clicking here.

Book One in Hearing God's Voice Series

Book One in Hearing God’s Voice Series

Step 6 – Enjoy the Rewards – Reward #7

image of Stairs to open door. free concept 3d illustration

Reward #7 – Delight in the Peace

By the time I reached my mid-thirties, I had created a busy life for myself. I had everything I wanted: a husband, a home, a job, a girl, a boy, friends, a dog, God, a church, a ministry, and much more. Why did I feel so empty? I controlled my life—or did my life control me? My life resulted in exactly what I had made of it, not what God had planned. My life was good, but it was not God’s best for me. My life felt full, but I remained hollow. My whole life had left me with a hole in my heart. Our definition of a full life is different than God’s. The life I had created quickly spun out of control and into depression. I was in pieces and had no peace within.

God met me at the bottom of my pit of depression. He stretched out His hand to me. I took hold, and He pulled me up. He set me down on His firm foundation and began the rebuilding process in me. As I learned to trust God more every day, I turned over new areas of my life to Him. When I turned over complete control to God, He rearranged major things in my crazy, busy life to give me the peace He wanted me to enjoy.

After many months of meeting with God on a daily basis to listen to His voice—absorb His healing, find freedom in forgiving, enjoy His encouragement, follow His instruction, consider His conviction, and savor His wisdom—I could now delight in His peace. God had rebuilt my demolished soul through the work of His Holy Spirit inside me. He gave me a newfound confidence in Christ and in myself as a child of God. He gave me a renewed relationship with the Father. He gave me a stronger, more vibrant faith and a passion for serving my Savior. He gave me more spiritual knowledge and a better understanding of the Holy Spirit and His role of transforming me into a new creation.

Let me be clear. Life did not get a lot easier, but it did become more peaceful as I gave over control to God. That statement seems contradictory. Losing control should not produce peace in one’s spirit, but the things of God are not as they seem. He does not operate as the world does. When I gave up control and surrendered to the will and plans of God, He lifted a burden from me.

As I consulted with Him in all areas of my life, big and small, I turned from being a people-pleaser into being a God-pleaser. I didn’t care as much about what people thought anymore; I concerned myself with what God thought. I did not have to please everyone; I had to please the One. I tried not to spread myself thin going in too many different directions. I focused my attention in one direction—up.

It took many months for God to rearrange my life in order to give me the kind of peace He wanted me to experience by trusting fully in Him. I had obligations I needed to fulfill and positions I had to find replacements for. I had to change the way I operated in my home among my family. As God freed up my time by releasing me from a few responsibilities, I became more available for Him to use in His work.

Doing God’s work generated a much greater reward than anything I might take on myself. With obedience come peace and joy. As I faithfully met with God every morning, our relationship deepened immensely. He did a great deal of intense work with me on discovering, processing, and healing my emotional wounds. I shed many tears along the path to healing. The rough and rocky emotional journey had to be traveled to get to a better place—a place of freedom, peace, and rest.

One of the first observations my Christian mentor made about me all those years ago was that I did not have much peace in my life. It was a very smart—and true—observation. I experienced a full life, yet I did not know what peace-full felt like. Some people do not experience a full life according to worldly standards but have a life full of peace and contentment because they rely on intimate communication with God through the Holy Spirit, rather than depending on things and circumstances. The full life Jesus Christ came to give us equals a life full of His peace when we are in tune with the voice and Spirit of God, not based on material possessions, human relationships, or excellent conditions.

Jesus stood at my door and knocked. I answered and let Him in. I spent time with Him and listened to His voice. I pursued Him, drew near to Him, and remained in Him. The outcome has been a deeper, more intimate relationship with my Savior. The lasting effect is a life full of His peace. I now know the peace of God, even in the midst of life’s challenges.

Get close to God by being in touch with God’s Holy Spirit inside you. Tap into the power of the Prince of Peace, who lives in your heart. Listen to God’s voice and experience a life full of His perfect peace. Psalm 85:8 says, “I will listen to what God the Lord will say; He promises peace to His people, His saints—but let them not return to folly.”  Listening to God’s voice enables us to delight in His peace. The peace of God is more precious than diamonds, silver, or gold. Enjoying all the rewards of listening to God makes me want to share this excellent practice with the world.

Order now by clicking here.

Book One in Hearing God's Voice Series

Book One in Hearing God’s Voice Series