Scripture: "My sheep recognize My voice. I know them and they follow Me. " (John 10:27)
May the grace and peace of the Holy Spirit be with you always! I have been thinking so much about you, and so loved seeing many of you at our retreat last weekend. What a powerful time. And it was like a gentle waterfall on parched hearts. Just being together was pure gift. Many of you know that I helped my daughter and her family move to Oregon last week. They are expecting their 5th child this weekend. It's been lots of unpacking, familiarizing ourselves with a new city, and making this house a home. My sense of direction is not my strongest gift, so imagine my surprise when my granddaughter and I were trying to find a Target across town and my GPS announced the directions in some Asian dialect. I am grateful for a visible map because this lovely, silky voice was speaking some martian language! I STILL haven't figured out how to undo it, or how it happened, although there is a very savvy 2 yr old in this house who loves my phone! God forbid I should have to venture out to Verizon tomorrow with only "Asia girl" as my guide. Stay tuned!
As we continue to add courses and talks to The Mission On The Mountain website, I am listening carefully to what people are requesting. The most asked for topic right now is how to hear God. It seems that many have no idea how to "translate God." There's so much hunger out there. And there's so much noise and distraction. There's also a very real enemy who wants us to believe that it's very complicated to hear God. And that only "special" people can hear Him. He loves to whisper, "Who do you think you are to think that you deserve to have God speak to you?" Scripture speaks to that clearly. Our Father calls us friends, beloved children and co-heirs with Jesus to all that heaven has to offer. (John 15:15), (Romans 8:17) So for the many who are seeking Him; the many who are hungry to know Him and hear His voice, there is amazing news. We do not have to have an advanced degree in some heavenly language to interpret His words.
If you've ever been a parent or had one, you know that if a parent wants to get a point across, they can make themselves VERY clear! We have a very good Father in Heaven. He knows that some days we can't even find our car keys. The thought of having to interpret some big, deep truth leaves us scratching our heads and begging for mercy! Enter: our good, good Papa. He takes responsibility to make Himself heard. Daily I watch my daughter homeschool her children. She explains concepts differently to the 11 and 13 yr old than she does to the 5 year old. She knows her children, the way they learn and how they conceptualize, each in his or her own unique way. She is very confident in her ability to teach and impart in a way that each can understand. If we, simple people, know how to speak to each of our children, how much more does our heavenly Father know how to reach each of His kids!? He promises that His sheep will know Him and recognize His voice. One more incredible fact: sheep might be the dumbest animals out there. Jesus is saying that even sheep (that's us, folks!) can recognize their shepherd. How do the sheep learn to follow their shepherd? They spend lots of time with Him. There's not a lot of distraction for the sheep out in the pasture, so we have to figure out ways to cut our distractions and our busyness. We need to set aside time to be with the Lord. But sometimes even when we set aside time for Him we can still allow distractions and worries to fill that space.
It's not a new problem! It's no accident that St. Paul tells us to take every thought captive in obedience to Christ. (2 Corinthians 10:5) It's also no accident that Hebrews 13:15 tells us to continually bring a sacrifice of praise to God. Sometimes it's a SACRIFICE to praise in the midst of a tough time! God is raising an army of disciples who are learning to be disciplined, to stay the course and keep their eyes on Him whatever the season. Even if you're not sure of the next step or it's hard to discern the right direction (think Asian GPS!) we are learning to trust Him with an unwavering trust, no matter what we see in the natural.
What our Father is longing for is an intimate relationship with His children. He does not hide from us. He wants to lead us, guide us, give us His plan, His strategy for every situation in our lives. And He loves to surprise us! He wants to give us His eyes to see and His Heart of love when we don't have one more ounce of our own love to give to a difficult person or situation in our lives. We seem to be in a season that is stretching and stressing people in incredible ways. The enemy just may be unleashing forces at an unprecedented level against the followers of Christ. We have a decision to make. Choose Christ. Choose to keep your eyes on Him, to believe EVERY promise, and to trust that He WILL complete the work He has begun. Hebrews 11:1 says that "faith is believing in what we don't yet see." I am praying for an increase in an anointing for breakthrough in every area of your life (and those you pray for) where it is needed. I am praying for an increase in your ability to BE STILL in His presence so you can hear the Lord. He IS speaking, and He's speaking to YOU. I am praying for an increased sense of His presence in your midst, and for a fresh encounter with His love for you. Every day, but especially in a difficult season, or a time of weariness because you don't see any breakthrough, I am praying for the grace of steadfast endurance and supernatural courage to stay the course and trust that the Promiser keeps His promises. And I am praying right now for heaven to pour out on you the sweet refreshing peace that reigns in heaven. May it cover you and those you love today.
Our enemy will try everything he can to confound and confuse the voice of God in our lives. He'll try to make us think we need a translator, that it's too complicated to discern God's voice. That's a lie from the pit of hell. If sheep can recognize the voice of their shepherd, humans (with maybe a little more on the ball than sheep!) can recognize the voice of our Shepherd. He knows you. He knows how to speak in a way that deeply resonates with you. Listen with your heart. Listen with expectation. He has such a word of love He will speak to you today. Be still and you will know. He won't be speaking in a foreign dialect. He'll speak the language of your heart and you will KNOW that He is God. (Psalm 46:10) Make time for Him. This God is your Daddy who wants to scoop you up in His arms and hug you and dance with you and shower His love and delight on you. THIS is our Father. And that kind of love needs no translation.
All glory, honor and praise to the Father, Son and Holy Spirit now and forever. There is no enemy who will prevail against the army of God. We live and move and have our being in the Lord God Almighty. We live and love from a place of overflow. We know ourselves as cherished and beloved. And we praise the One who reigns in heaven and on earth. We give you our lives, our wills, our hearts, our minds and our bodies to use for Your glory, Lord. May we bring you glory in the way we live and love.