Don’t miss God’s voice

Simon LawtonInspiration, PrayerLeave a Comment

“Lead me, Lord, in your righteousness because of my enemies – make your way straight before me.” (Psalms 5:8)

As I read the verse above, I had a flashback to when I was a boy attending a Christian youth camp where we used to sing an old chorus based on those very words. Within a moment I felt God say to me; ‘don’t miss God’s voice and don’t ignore the whispers from the Holy Spirit – they are my divine leadings.’

“Lead me in the right path, O Lord, or my enemies will conquer me. Make your way plain for me to follow.” (Psalms 5:8 NLT)

Don’t miss God’s voice

As I considered what God had said I decided to pause for a moment and I asked Him to remind me of any thoughts, desires or leadings, that I might have received from the Holy Spirit, which I had discarded. One in particular came to mind – the desire to go on a three day prayer retreat. So I booked it and had a really powerful and insightful time with God last month. It was so worth it and allowed God not just to speak into my life but bring future direction for our church.

“Lead me in the right path, O Lord, or my enemies will conquer me. Make your way plain for me to follow.” (Psalms 5:8 NLT)

I wonder what ‘leadings’ you have had from the Holy Spirit without realising it? 

I’m convinced that He regularly whispers thoughts, ideas and revelation into our ears. In the busyness of every day lives it is so easy to miss them or disregard them, but perhaps we need to slow down and reflect on what we’ve heard or we may miss something really important from Father.

How does God lead us?

God primarily leads and guides us through His Word and it’s just so important that we spend regular time immersing ourselves in the Bible. It is such a wonderful book, inspired by God and written as the foundation and guidebook for our lives.

However God uses other mediums to communicate with His us including his people, sermons, songs, poetry, arts, nature etc. He is not lacking in ways to communicate and our job is to make sure that we don’t miss God’s voice, remembering that He would never lead us to do something that His Word forbids.

Our world is such a noisy place and we are bombarded with information – television, radio, social media, 24 hour news, adverts everywhere and people – all jostling for our attention. Scientists have measured the amount of data that enters the brain and found that an average person living today processes as much as 74 GB in information a day (that is as much as watching 16 movies), through TV, computers, cell phones, tablets, billboards, and many other gadgets.* 

 

Don’t miss God’s voice

So it’s really important that we don’t miss God’s voice in the midst of all the other noises around us.

There is an interesting example of this in the book of Acts;

“Paul and his companions travelled throughout the region of Phrygia and Galatia, having been kept by the Holy Spirit from preaching the word in the province of Asia. When they came to the border of Mysia, they tried to enter Bithynia, but the Spirit of Jesus would not allow them to. So they passed by Mysia and went down to Troas. During the night Paul had a vision of a man of Macedonia standing and begging him, ‘Come over to Macedonia and help us.’ After Paul had seen the vision, we got ready at once to leave for Macedonia, concluding that God had called us to preach the gospel to them.” (Acts 16:6-10)

Nobody is quite sure what happened but somehow the Holy Spirit made it clear to Paul and his team that they should not enter Bithynia. Perhaps they lost their peace, or one of the team felt a whisper from God not to head in that direction, or that He wanted them to go elsewhere. Later of course, Paul received the vision of the man from Macedonia. I guess only God fully knows the reason for the change of course, however it led to really fruitful missionary journeys to Philippi, Thessalonica and later Athens and Corinth. 

Paul himself teaches us to keep in step with the Holy Spirit.

The New Living Translation puts it like this;

“Since we are living by the Spirit, let us follow the Spirit’s leading in every part of our lives.” (Galatians 5:25)

God speaks in so many ways

It’s my experience that God speaks in numerous different ways but He also uses whispers, feelings, senses, impressions and desires in order to communicate His will.

“The mature children of God are those who are moved by the impulses of the Holy Spirit.” (Romans 8:14 TPT)

When I was at Bible college we were doing our weekly shopping with what little money we had at a discount food store. The food there was always really cheap and often horrible! Still it’s all we could afford during that season. I saw a fellow student across the isle and God instantly whispered in my ear to give him the £20 that was in my pocket. That was pretty much all we had left to spend on shopping for our large family. After a brief argument with God, I gave the guy the money and with barely saying thank-you he dashed out of the store. It was only a few days later that he told me that he had been praying that God would provide him with some cash to drive to Scotland for an important family reunion later that day. Apparently the whole family were gathering for the first time for years and several members had not spoken at all for years and he was able to bring about a wonderful reconciliation. Isn’t God good!

Before the pandemic Julia and I attended a conference at a hotel in Hull. During breakfast I noticed that one of the waitresses was really angry and stressed and initially I was offended by her behaviour, however I felt God tell me to bless her by giving her £10 and to thank her for serving us so well in a busy restaurant. When I spoke to her she was so surprised and grateful. During the remainder of the conference I had several conversations with her and was able to share my faith with her, resulting in her agreeing to attend the church hosting the conference the following Sunday.

It is so important that we listen and respond to the leading of the Holy Spirit.

Sometimes we will have the same impression or leading over a short period of time.  It’s important that we don’t make major decisions based on an impulse or a leading and of course we should always pray, reflect and consider before we act, including sometimes receiving the counsel of others.

God promises us this;

“Whether you turn to the right or to the left, your ears will hear a voice behind you, saying, ‘This is the way; walk in it.’” (Isaiah 30:21)

We should always look to Him to lead, guide and confirm His will for us as we seek to follow him.

If you learn to hear God’s voice then He will speak to you when you’re not listening!

As I look back there have been so many times when God has whispered something in my ear but one experience stand out above them all. Julia and I were attending a conference at a large church in Bradford and during one of the breaks I was enjoying a coffee and sitting on the steps looking out across the city.

My eyes were drawn towards the line of coaches and minibuses that were parked in front of me. In that moment God spoke clearly to me and said ‘If you pray and ask me to give you on of those mini buses then I will do.’ At that time we had started to transport women and children from the Women’s Refuge to our church services but I hadn’t considered the church actually owning a mini bus. We had no budget for anything like that.

I walked down the steps and took a note of the mini bus in front of me which was a 17 seater Leyland DAF Convoy 17. In that moment I felt God say to me ‘this is between you and me. Don’t mention it to anyone else or make any appeal for fund – simply pray and ask me.’ About a month later a christian man, who I had never met before, rang me and said God had told him to look for someone to help with mini buses and he had found my name in the telephone directory. To cut a long story short he came to see me several months later and to my shock and surprise gave me a 17 seater Leyland DAF Convoy minibus. The exact model that I had been praying for over the past few months.

God is amazing! I love that story. If we will learn to listen to God then He will speak to us at unexpected moments and bring revelation, wisdom, guidance, blessing and provision.

Let’s make sure that our hearts and minds are finely tuned, ready and alert to being led by His Spirit. We don’t miss out on anything that God has purposed for us.

Don’t miss God’s voice

What plans and purposes might you be missing out on right now because you haven’t recognised that the thoughts and impressions you are receiving are in fact the quiet, still voice of the Holy Spirit whispering in your ear.

Perhaps God has been trying to lead and guide you – but you’ve missed it, ignored it or discounted it as ‘just a thought?’

Why don’t you take a moment right now to ask God – have I missed anything?

 

NB: Perhaps you’re not yet a Christian and you’ve had the thought or desire to seek God, discover more or try a church. Please don’t ignore those whispers – I would suggest it is God himself speaking to you. Can I encourage you to act upon them and if you’re not sure where to start please contact me and I’ll try my best to help you move forward.

Another option is to join an Alpha course which is a great opportunity to explore the Christian faith for yourself

LOOKING FOR SOMETHING TO READ?

If you’ve enjoyed reading my blog you might wish to try one of our books. All have been well received and are available on Amazon.

“Imagine” is all about trusting God as you journey through life and how to really discover and experience the abundant life that God planned for you before you were born. It’s been used in many churches as a Sunday teaching series and in small groups. “Imagine” is available on Amazon here.

“Courage for the discouraged” was only published in November 2020 and has already touched and changed lives.  It has been described as “a book of help and a book of hope” and “encouragement on steroids!” It can also be read as a 30 day devotional as each chapter contain readings and suggested prayers. It’s available at all good online bookstores and on Amazon here.

My wife’s book “End of the beginning’ is a truly powerful book charting her journey from widowhood to finding Christ – it’s full of honesty and transparency. Bit it’s not just a story of hope in the midst of loss – it’s a story of finding freedom from anger, hurt, failure and discovering purpose and fulfilment in Christ Jesus. It’s available on Amazon here and all good bookshops.

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