Can You Hear Me Now?


God is speaking.197

Have you ever wondered what it would be like to hear God as if, say, he were a friend across the table having coffee?

When you’re up against a big decision or even feeling a bit lost in life, wouldn’t it be great to have the creator of the universe, the one who knows everything about everything whisper a little direction or positive encouragement?

I think sometimes we expect God should boom at us in a commanding voice. Or maybe we feel as if his caring about us in any personal way is absurd—after all, if he is there, why would he want to speak to me? Perhaps we don’t really believe there is a God at all. The Big Bang Theory seems to handle the question for us, even if we’re not clear how the matter got there in the first place.

But what if God exists, does care and wants to say something?

To you. And me.

Remember the 1977 movie with John Denver and George Burns  titled “Oh, God!”? Theology aside, the film’s premise is that God wants us to know he is there.

He speaks to us.

Not only in a handful of movies, like Evan Almighty, but in real life. Yours and mine. He loves us. He wants good for us. And he tells us about it every day in a variety of ways.

It may sound a little crazy, but I hear from him every day.  No, I’m not some super saint with special powers and an “in” with God. But I take it seriously when he claims that we can ask him things, and he will answer.

For example, he tells us that if we lack wisdom, we have only to ask, and he will give it to us. The Bible reminds us that he thinks differently than we do, but if we choose to believe in him and acknowledge him as the one who saves us, we will be given “the mind of Christ” by his Spirit.

Sounds good to me!

If he spoke to Adam, Eve, Moses, Abraham, Noah, Mary and numerous others, why wouldn’t he speak to you and me? He longs for a personal relationship with us and that means communication, right?

Well then, how does he speak?

These are the ways I’ve heard him:                                                                      DSC_0006

  1. Through creation—it never fails that while I quietly marvel at the ocean, a bird, trees or flowers, a new born baby or even my son’s ball python, some amazing revelation or connection to my life gets whispered into my thoughts.
  2. Circumstances—so many times situations work out or don’t in a specific way that I couldn’t have orchestrated. Generally, this occurs when I’ve asked God for direction or to work out something that seems impossible. Like a window opening in a dark room, light floods in and a path is clear where nothing could be seen previously.
  3. Other people—I make it a point to ask trusted people for advice. God can speak through anyone he chooses, not only those who believe in his existence. It amazes me how God uses another person’s words to answer a question or give me direction or encouragement. A deep sense of “rightness” settles in my heart. Often, God is the only one who could have known what I needed to hear.
  4. The Bible—you knew that was coming, didn’t you? God says his word is alive and does things when we read it, share it and live it. I’ve experienced being in places of turmoil, confusion, lethargy and discouragement and felt prompted to read a particular section from the Bible. God transforms me as I let the words penetrate my heart.
  5. God’s voice—yep, you read that right. I often hear him whisper to me. I want to hear him so I sit very quietly and meditate on how wonderful he is. I tell him how I feel about things. I ask him to help me, to speak to me, to guide me. I wait and listen. And he does. Not a booming voice, but a tiny whisper in my heart. Not an accusing, condemning one, but a peaceful, settling whisper.IMG_4078

He wants to be there for us. He has good things to say. I believe he wants to speak to everyone.  Why don’t you ask him?

When have you heard God? I’d love to hear from you about it.

Some verses for reference: James 1:5-6; I Corinthians 2:9-16; Matthew 7:7-11; Hebrews 4:12; Isaiah 55:8-11; 2Kings 19:11-12; Psalm 103

Meeting Face to Face part 2


Writing last’s week post made me freshly aware of the importance of applying caution to meeting anyone in person. While humor abounds in the anecdotes of online dating encounters, and I have a fairy tale story, the possibility of real danger does exist. Therefore, I want to explore some sobering statistics and how the “red flags” I mentioned last time can help us.

According to the Department of Justice, 4 out of 5 women assaulted (specifically, raped) knew their attacker in some way. We tend to think of rape as being a violent act perpetrated by a psychotic stranger and therefore we may entertain a false sense of security thinking that if we know someone we must be safe. Given the anonymity of internet dating, it behooves us to take care as we communicate with strangers especially when deciding if, when and how we will meet them face to face.

As you’ve discovered, this post leans more to the sober side of internet dating. Concern for people’s potential distress has tempered my writing tonight with the importance of exercising wisdom and relying on God-given intuition. Hence, the deeper investigation of “red flags.”

What are they? Well, here is a list based on my own experiences as well as those of some good friends:

  • Receiving an email recounting the wonderful night you spent together when you haven’t even heard from the person in days or weeks(let alone gone out with them recently)—clue: they are seeing someone else and you might want to let them know that they need to keep their dates straight. While it is not a crime to date more than one person at a time, expect honesty and openness about your dating arrangement.
  • Someone talking about their sexual exploits whether past or current is TMI (too much information for you non-texters) and reveals the baggage they carry. Bragging, boasting or neediness exploits you.
  • Someone you are communicating with continuing to talk about a past relationship discloses their ongoing yearning, not for you, but for another—as my friend says “no one should be anesthesia for someone else’s problems.” That includes their lingering broken heart.
  • People who speak disrespectfully about the opposite sex—for example giving the message that “men(women) are stupid,” or saying things like “when I get him/her trained the way I want them” ; generally, using sexist remarks indicates a misconception of or a “hatred” for the opposite sex, or an insecurity with their own sexuality.
  • Anyone who is controlling. Control in women often manifests in manipulation (think guilt trips, whining, begging, veiled threats); in men it may be more along the lines of violence (raised voice, bullying tone, rough handling like hanging up, grabbing your hand or arm, slamming a door). If someone tells you that you had better think or act a certain way about an issue or about them, you might think twice about continuing the communication!
  • You should be free to pursue a relationship at a pace that is comfortable for you. When someone pressures you into ANYTHING including physical contact, their interest is for themselves not you. If they truly care about you, they will wait patiently for you to feel comfortable and safe with them and with the situation.
  • Beware of charm, and flattery. Mild two sided teasing or bantering can be enjoyable flirtation, but be cautious if the joking is pretentious or too personal.  Using words such as “hottie,” “babe,” or “sexy” is not appropriate, especially if you barely know the person.

Be safe, not sorry. The right relationship is worth waiting for and will feel right. Don’t ignore your intuitive sense that something is off, even if it seems like you can’t pinpoint it. The small nudges of discernment add up to a big payoff when they keep you protected.

If you have been the victim of a crime, including rape, you may find this site helpful: www.stopviolence.com

 

Next week look for….How Do I Know When it’s Real?