Not my ideal circumstance

I know I haven’t posted much about my devotions, but it doesn’t mean I haven’t been doing them.  I do them every single day.  I may have only completely missed doing a devotion possibly 3 times since I (re)started this task back in March or so.  I read a piece of insightful literature, I read the Word, I pray, and I listen every single morning.  Some mornings I manage to devote half an hour, others I manage to only get in 15 minutes, and very rarely (which I should do more often) I pray and contemplate for an hour.

I do this because I know I’m not where I should be—physically, mentally, and spiritually.  I don’t know what I want to do career-wise (makes it worst since current job hardly gives me any work as of late).  I still struggle with the same temptations and addictions first discovered years ago.  And I know I’ve forgotten what God’s subtle voice sounds like.

With that said, my prayers haven’t only been for myself and my search to discover His Will for me.  I had to be aware of where I currently am and pray for the people around me.  It wasn’t until during a Sunday evening service in the middle of summer that he told me whom I should be praying for.  It was a reminder we should always be practicing intercession.

Daily, I prayed for this one person.  I prayed that I would be the person that God would use to intervene and tell the story of His Word.  But not once was I ever put in an opportune situation to do so.  But without fail, I keep praying every day for her.  And as every day goes by when I get to that part of the prayer, I keep asking Him, “Why should I keep this prayer if I’m never given the opportunity to her about You?”  And today, I ran into this tidbit in my devotions…

The Undetected Sacredness of Circumstances1

The circumstances of a saint’s life are ordained of God.  In the life of a saint there is no such thing as chance.  God by His providence brings you into circumstances that you can’t understand at all, but the Spirit of God understands.  God brings you to places, among people, and into certain conditions to accomplish a definite purpose through the intercession of the Spirit in you.  Never put yourself in front of your circumstances and say, “I’m going to be my own providence here; I will watch this closely, or protect myself from that.”  All your circumstances are in the hand of God, and therefore you don’t ever have to think they are unnatural or unique.  Your part in intercessory prayer is not to agonize over how to intercede, but to use the everyday circumstances and people God puts around you by His providence to bring them before His throne, and to allow the Spirit in you the opportunity to intercede for them.  In this way God is going to touch the whole world with His saints.

Am I making the Holy Spirit’s work difficult by being vague and unsure, or by trying to do His work for Him?  I must do the human side of intercession—utilizing the circumstances in which I find myself and the people who surround me.  I must keep my conscious life as a sacred place for the Holy Spirit.  Then as I lift different ones to God through prayer, the Holy Spirit intercedes for them.

Your intercessions can never be mind, and my intercessions can never be yours, “…but the Spirit Himself makes the intercession” in each of our lives (Romans 8:26).  And without that intercession, the lives of others would be left in poverty and in ruin.

And so, I will continue to pray.  I pray so that the Holy Spirit will intercede others around her and that they will gain the confidence to share His story.  I also pray that no matter what circumstance I find myself in—no matter how mundane or insignificant it may appear to be—that I listen to the Holy Spirit and do God’s Will to affect those who are around me.

  1. My Utmost for His Highest by Oswald Chambers, November 7th []

“Is this whisper really from God?”

I’m taking this from Bill Hybel’s The Power of a Whisper1 verbatim.  I want to post it here to serve myself as a reminder if what I’m hearing is truly from God or if I’m going crazy and telling myself what I want to hear. (My apologies to Zondervan if this is a little too much quoting…)

1. Is the Prompting Truly from God?

Whenever you receive a prompting—whether from God directly or through the lips of another—take whatever time is necessary to ask, “God, is this message from you?  Does this square with who I know you to be?  Is it consistent with your character? Is it aligned with your attributes? Is this you trying to convey something to me, or are there voices getting into my head?” Before taking a single step to obey the whisper you’ve received, be sure you get thee all-clear that the voice you have heard could be from God.

2. Is it Scriptural?

Scripture is replete with examples of how God would behave in any given life situation, and the Example’s name is Jesus Christ.  Whenever I sense a prompting from God, I ask myself if I could imagine Jesus doing whatever action the prompting is suggesting I do.  If I can’t envision Jesus Follow suit, I fear my wires somehow must have gotten crossed.  Check every prompting you receive against the thematic teachings of Scripture.  Messages that contradict Scripture are not from God

3.  Is it Wise?

God’s whispers rarely go against wisdom and common sense.  The entire book of Proverbs is devoted to dissecting wisdom and all her attributes.  For example, the wise one loves knowledge, while the fool hates it; the wise one practices gentle speech, while the fool uses harsh, incendiary words; the wise one lives blamelessly, while the fool is utterly corrupt; the wise one follows a straight path, while the fool rejoices in the perverseness of evil; the wise one inherits honor, while the fool is held up to shame.  Scripture is relentless in exhorting us to be wise in all our dealings, to be wise in all our ways.

God’s direction rarely violates the wisdom test.  Be sure you’re not sidestepping what is wise in favor of acting quickly on whispers.  If God is indeed in the plan, it will likely not involve blatantly unwise action.

4. Is it in Tune with Your Own Character?

I caution people against running headlong into a field that is totally foreign to their writing patterns, their education, their expertise and their experience in life thus far.  It’s not that God can’t endorse a dramatic 180-degree turn.  It’s just that typically when does so, it gets affirmed through a series of whispers, from several sources, in a variety of different ways.

5. What Do the People You Most Trust Think about it?

Whenever you sense that God is speaking to you, find two or three veteran Christ-followers—preferably people who know you well and who are further down the spiritual path than you are—take some time to describe the situation to them in detail.  Humbly ask them, “Do you think God really did speak to me?  Is this the voice of God I’m hearing, or in your estimation did I get my wires crossed?” Then, listen openly and intently to the answers you receive, because they might just save your hide.

Subject every prompting to the godly counsel test.  It will save you from boatloads of heartache and just might affirm God’s best will for your life

– Bill Hybel

I do not take credit for these ideas.  Again, this is from Bill Hybel’s The Power of a Whisper.

  1. Appendix 2 from The Power of a Whisper by Bill Hybel []

Just say the word

I’m still referencing to Bill Hybels’ The Power of a Whisper.  In his last chapter, he writes a simple prayer we should use when asking to hear God’s whisper.

You say it, and I’ll do it.
You say it, and I’ll follow it.
You say it, and I’ll obey it.
You say it and I’ll carry it out.
Whatever it is you want done in order for your kingdom to advance, God, you whisper the word and consider it done

For me, personally, if I truly believe that our Creator is sovereign over everything—which clearly includes my own life—I will never hesitate to obey his commands.  At least that’s how I want to aim to live.  Go and do as commanded with faith like the centurion in Mark1.  Really.  If I truly believe He’s God, I trust Him fully.  I will listen to His whisper and do what He asks.  For He is Good.

  1. Mark 8:5-13 []

Here I am

Oh! give me Samuel’s ear,
An open ear, O Lord,
Alive and quick to hear
Each whisper of Thy Word;
Like him to answer to Thy call
And to obey Thee first of all.1

I finished reading Bill Hybels’ The Power of a Whisper.  The primary reason why I started my daily devotions was due to forgetting what God’s voice sounded like.  Months would go by and I still couldn’t recognize what His voice even with the daily devotions.  I felt my distant from Him felt even further during this period of trying to get closer.  When I read the first chapter from Bill Hybels’ new book, I knew I had to pick it up immediately.  What caught Hybels’ attention (and mine too) is the story of Samuel as a young boy hearing God’s voice.

Here I am, you called me. […]
Speak, for your servant is listening2

Just thinking that God felt He would get to a little boy’s ear while asleep caught my attention.  God didn’t try to get little Samuel’s attention once but 4 times!  And the response that Samuel gives Him, “Here I am, you called me,” and then, “Speak, for your servant is listening.”  God did and he still does speak when you’re willing to listen.

Daily, I end my prayer with that.  I ask Him to speak because I, a servant of His, is listening.

  1. “Hushed Was the Evening Hymn” by James Drummon Burns []
  2. 1 Samuel 3:9-10 []