Inside the front cover of most of my Bibles I have written this phrase: God Speaks, I Need To Listen!
Baptized as an infant…raised in church…raised in a Christian family…raised around the Bible… I heard about God the Father, and Jesus Christ the Only Begotten Son of God, and the Holy Spirit.
I had a ‘head-knowledge’ of a Triune God, the Holy Trinity.
And then at the age of 14, God spoke to me personally for the very first time. He told me that He wanted me to preach the Gospel.
I’ll never forget that day. It’s etched on my mind and on my heart.
But then, for the next six years I seemed to block out the voice of God. I got involved in the ‘hippie-culture’ of the late 60s and early 70s, and all that lifestyle involved.
During those turbulent years I had numerous people tell me about their faith in Christ.
They told me that Jesus was their Lord and Savior, and that they had a ‘Personal Relationship with Him.’
In my drug clouded mind their words would haunt me.
I would wake up thinking about their words…I would wander through my days thinking about their words.
I kept repeating to myself over and over, again and again… They have a “Personal Relationship With Jesus Christ.”
And then one morning as I sat on the side of the bed in my sleeping room in Tucson, Arizona, God spoke to me personally…once again.
He reminded me of my upbringing, and how often I heard the Word of God throughout my childhood.
He reminded me of all the people who told me about their relationship with a God who was their Lord, their Savior, their Friend.
And then God reminded me of His call on my life.
He reminded me that He wanted me to preach His Word to a lost and dying world.
That morning, I walked out of the boarding house, and I stood under the cottonwood trees along the dry Rillito River.
As I stood there I asked God to forgive me of my sins and change my life. I dumped my dope out into the wind, and I surrendered my life to a God who had a plan for my life.
Ever since I rededicated my life to Jesus Christ at the age of 20… ever since I committed my life to Him and His call… I have tried to listen for the Voice of God.
I knew that God speaks, and I needed to listen.
I needed to hear from Him the directions for my life. And God spoke. And I listened.
I have strived to listen for the way He wanted me to go, and He showed me.
I guess The Holy Spirit has been my GPS on this Journey of Faith.
The Word of God has been my Road Map.
And this Adventure of Faith has taken me miles and miles, from experience to experience, from lesson to lesson, from learning to learning more, from growth to growing more.
All along the way I have reminded myself that God speaks, and I need to listen.
In John’s Gospel, chapter 10:2-5, Jesus told a parable, an illustration about the True Shepherd, the Good Shepherd. He said, “ 2 But he who enters by the door is the shepherd of the sheep. 3 To him the doorkeeper opens, and the sheep hear his voice; and he calls his own sheep by name and leads them out. 4 And when he brings out his own sheep, he goes before them; and the sheep follow him, for they know his voice. 5 Yet they will by no means follow a stranger, but will flee from him, for they do not know the voice of strangers.”
The True Christian life is one lived in the development of a personal relationship with the Lord Jesus Christ, the Good Shepherd; and learning to listen for His Voice.
And not just hearing, but doing.
Jesus said in Matthew 7:24-25: “Therefore whosoever heareth these sayings of mine, and doeth them, I will liken him unto a wise man, which built his house upon a rock: And the rain descended, and the floods came, and the winds blew, and beat upon that house; and it fell not: for it was founded upon a rock.”
I need to listen to His Word, to hear His Word, and do what He says. I need to obey the Word of God.
Remember, God speaks, and we need to listen.
God also listens for our voice.
The Lord wants to hear from us. He wants to dialogue with us. He talks and we listen, and then we talk, and He listens.
We call that Prayer. Communication with God. Developing a Personal Relationship.
As Christians we need to learn how to listen to the Lord, and to discern His voice.
We need to block out all the other voices, the external and internal noise, and listen intently for God.
Jesus said the sheep ‘Hear My Voice,’ and they ‘Know My Voice.’
Most mornings I go out and stand on our back deck and listen for the songs of the birds in the trees, and I watch as they fly from tree to tree…singing their morning songs.
Our subdivision is just off of a busy highway, and there is a lot of traffic noise early in the morning as people are heading to work in Nashville. So I have to work hard to block out all that other noise and I just listen for my birds singing their jubilant chorus.
When I can hear just the birds’ songs I am filled with peace. I am filled with joy. And then I can go in and open my Bible and hear from God.
My morning routine involves the birds praising God, and me praising God, and then I read my Bible and a pile of inspirational and devotional books.
I block out all the external and internal noises and listen for the Sweet Sound of the Shepherd.
The Psalmist wrote: “The LORD is my shepherd; I shall not want. 2 He maketh me to lie down in green pastures: He leadeth me beside the still waters. 3 He restoreth my soul: He leadeth me in the paths of righteousness for His name’s sake. 4 Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil: for Thou art with me; Thy rod and Thy staff they comfort me. 5 Thou preparest a table before me in the presence of mine enemies: Thou anointest my head with oil; my cup runneth over. 6 Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life: and I will dwell in the house of the LORD forever.” (Psalm 23)