By Meg Bucher, Crosswalk.com
Though we aren’t likely to hear the audible voice of God through a burning bush as Moses did, or in the midst of a dream as Joseph experienced, the One who spoke the earth and the heavens into existence still speaks to us today. When we seek to understand the character of our Creator, our lives will begin to reveal His protective hand.
A foundational relationship with our Father in heaven can be established because of Jesus’ sacrifice on the cross. With His death, the temple curtain was torn, and we were all granted access to the One True God. In the think of life’s unfairness, He stands by our side. Through our mistakes and missteps, His back never turns on us. In our triumphs, He awaits the first high-five of praise. We don’t have to fix or become better versions of ourselves to start hearing from God. He loves each of us for who we are, right now. Though some of the ways He speaks to us today are incomprehensible, here are ten that we can trust expectantly.
Photo credit: ©Thinkstock/erikreis
Answered prayers riddle the Old and New Testament, serving as proof that our God not only hears our prayers as He says, but answers them according to His will. “Bend down, O Lord, and hear my prayer; answer me, for I need your help” (Psalm 86:1). The psalmist was focused on the sovereignty of God, rather than the woes of the one praying for help (New Bible Commentary). We can pray with the same confidence, knowing that God has already gone before us.
“I will call to you whenever I’m in trouble, and you will answer me” (Psalm 86:7). This was most likely written by David, whe knew from such feats as taking down Goliath and outrunning King Saul, that he could unwaveringly trust God. Even when his direct requests were not expectantly met, “teach me your ways, O Lord, that I may live according to your truth!” he pleaded (Psalm 86:11). David knew that God’s will was better than anything he could conjure up or imagine for his own life. He reminded Himself of God’s character, saying, “But you, O Lord, are a God of compassion and mercy, slow to get angry and filled with unfailing love and faithfulness” (Psalm 86:15). Though life’s road is long and will continue to wind, He speaks into our lives through His promise to hear and answer our prayers according to His will.
Photo credit: ©Thinkstock
It’s through Jesus, the Word made flesh, that God speaks to us through Scripture. We can be assured that when we read the Word of God, His breath is upon us. The Holy Spirit that resides within us when we accept Christ as our Savior translates and interprets, helping us in our daily study and prayerful application of the Word to our lives.
“All Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness, so that the servant to God may be throughly equipped for every good work” (2 Timothy 3:16-17). “God-breathed” is often translated as “inspired” which doesn’t give credit to the gravity of the true definition of the Greek word that was penned in it’s place.
“God-breathed,” the Greek word theopnuestos, is ‘formed from theo (the root form of the word ‘God’) and pneustos (from a Greek root having to do with breathing.)’ The NIV Application Commentary The VOICE version paraphrases Paul’s words: “All of Scripture is God-breathed; in its inspired voice, we hear useful teaching, rebuke, correction, instruction, and training for a life that is right so that God’s people may be up to the task ahead and have all they need to accomplish every good work.”
Photo credit: Unsplash
3. Holy Spirit
On the road to Emmaus shortly after His resurrection, Jesus explains to two travelers, “what was said in all the Scriptures concerning Himself” (Luke 24: Luke 25-27). Jesus went through the Old Testament Scriptures and explained His place in all of it. Through the fulfilled prophesies, they both admitted, “our hearts were burning within us while he talked with us on the road and opened up the Scriptures to us” (Luke 24:32). The Word, Himself, holds the power to reveal His Truth to our hearts. Through Jesus Himself, and His residence in our hearts, we begin to see Him throughout the entire Bible—not just beginning with His birth in Bethlehem.
When Jesus appeared to His disciples after His resurrection, “he opened their minds so they could understand the Scriptures” (Luke 24:45). He then promised them, “I am going to send you what my Father has promised” (Luke 24:49). Jesus was referring to the coming of the Holy Spirit, fulfilled in Acts 2:4, “All the people present are filled with the Holy Spirit and begin speaking languages they’ve never spoken, as the Spirit empowers them.” God speaks to us, today, through His Holy Spirit. That’s why we can study a passage of Scripture multiple times, through different stages of our lives, and be ministered to from different angles by it.
Photo credit: ©Thinkstock
The Apostle John penned Jesus’ words, “I am the way, the truth and the life.” Then, now, and for all time, God speaks His message of love for us to and through His Son. Before ascending to heaven after His resurrection, Jesus assured His disciples, “I am with you always, to the end of the age” (Matthew 28:20). Emmanuel, God with us. Jesus came to break down the barrier that the fall of sin had erected between God and His most precious creation … us. This life is promised to be hard. “For the gate is narrow and the way is hard that leads to life, and those who find it are few” (Matthew 7:14). But we’re never asked to walk through it alone.
No one can relate to the hardships of life more so than Jesus. He, who had all power and authority to come down off of that cross, died on it for us. He was mocked, ridiculed, betrayed, physically beaten, and burdened in sorrow to the point of blood-stained tears in His desperate prayer to the Father to make any other way than the cross. Jesus came to earth out of compassion for us, to understand the temptation of humanity and face it head on, conquering it for us with a strength only He holds. “Here on earth you will have many trials and sorrows. But take heart, because I have overcome the world” (John 16:33).
Photo credit: ©Thinkstock/Hemera Technologies
There are many ways to go to church other than physically walking through a set of doors and shaking hands with actual people. In a virtualdriven world, many hear of Christ for the first time through media, but the importance of taking our faith out into a living and breathing body of Christ is crucial. Hebrews urges that we “not neglect our meeting together, as some people do, but encourage one another, especially now that the day of his return is drawing near” (Hebrews 10:25). God speaks to us today, through His church.
We must challenge ourselves to leave our devices and dive into God’s mission for the church. There are lives that need our personal touch, our in-person hugs, and our shared laughter and tears. The family that forms in a healthy church body equips and consoles us in a hard world with a difficult mission to spread the gospel. When we show up, we give ourselves the opportunity for Him to show us who He made us to be. There’s a reason it’s easier to swipe ‘yes’ than it is to fight traffic and schedules and let God use our lives. “All of you together are Christ’s body, and each of you is a part of it” (1 Corinthians 12:27). We’ll never know what part we’re to play if we don’t physically show up to listen.
Photo credit: ©Thinkstock
God speaks truth into our lives through His good and faithful servants. We are surrounded by others to help us live out God’s calling in our lives, weather the storms that inevitably surround, and share in the joy that breaks through it all. God reveals our weaknesses through others, if we will allow our hearts to be humble enough to hear constructive criticism. One of the best sermons I have ever heard highlighted the fact that when we find ourselves applying a sermon to someone else, God is convicting our own hearts! Often we recognize fault in others because we, ourselves, struggle with it, too.
There’s no way that a God who loves us so much that He sent His only Son to die for us wants us to feel alone and abandoned in the world when we are suffering through a time of trial. I sometimes joke that I am a product of someone else’s prayer. Acts 2:42-47 tell of the first disciples, and how excited they were to meet together and share all that they had learned from Jesus. “They devoted themselves to the apostles teaching and to the fellowship, to the breaking of bread and to prayer. Everyone was filled with awe, and many wonders and miraculous signs were done by the apostles” (Acts 2:42-43).
Photo credit: ©Thinkstock/Brand X Pictures
We recently drove through a Northern town after a fresh foot of snow fell from a stalled out lake-effect band of snow. I stared out the car windows in awe of what God is capable of. Through the tall trees and over snow-covered roads, it’s like He didn’t miss a branch. “It’s like this was just for us!” my husband commented. I have known God long enough to know that nothing is impossible for Him.
It doesn’t take a sea full of powder-covered pine trees to reveal the majestic awe of God’s creative hand. Any calm body of water holds a magical mirroring effect at sunrise or sunset, and every one of those is different. Brush strokes across the sky and birds coming and going in perfect time all fall under the sovereign control of our mighty God. He speaks to us through His creation. As miraculous as the nature that surrounds this beautiful earth and the stars beyond are, each life is more precious to God than all of it. Imagine the feeling we get when we revel in an amazing sunrise over the water, or century-old forest full of trees that stretch towards shreds of blue sky … He loves us immeasurably more. Nature reminds us of who He is, who we are, and His love for us.
Photo credit: ©Thinkstock/RyanTangPhoto
God speaks to us through our gifts and talents. The strengths that we all possess are part of the designed purpose for our lives. Running down a country road in the bitter cold is not everyone’s idea of bliss, but it is for the distance runner gifted with the strength and ability to stride for miles on end. What seems grueling to some is glorious to others. We all have purpose laid within us that comes alive as we learn how to use it. No talent exalts itself without hard work and patient perseverance. God’s talents are perfected as we seek His purpose for them. We can be successful without following His lead, but not in the way that brings true peace to our lives.
The faithful way that we serve and honor Him in the simple tasks and the unfathomable achievements in our lives gives glory to the One who cheers us on. The mom that decides to stay home, and the mom that continues her career can both know the joy of God’s purpose in their lives when they are following after His will over their own.
Photo credit: Unsplash
God speaks to us through worship, through which we welcome His presence. It happens when we sing, through the quiet way we stand in awe at the end of the pier each day, and the overwhelming blessing we feel as we hug our children. On our knees, hands lifted high, we can feel Him with us. 1 Peter 3:15 states, “Instead, you must worship Christ as Lord of your life. And if someone asks about your hope as a believer, always be ready to explain it.” Well, hope is hard to explain sometimes, isn’t it? Worship helps us communicate our expression.
Witness to the worship in our lives is a way for others to see where the root of our joy lies. Worship is a testament to the Author of our souls, that we not only acknowledge His presence, but know unequivocally that our hope lies with Him, alone. The prophet Isaiah’s words show up in the gospel of Matthew to assure us that “his name will be the hope of all the world” (Matthew 12:21; Isaiah 42:1-4).
Photo credit: Unsplash
10. Social Media
God is not surprised by social media, nor is it beyond His power to cut through the surrounding negativity it can exude to reach lives and hearts. The online church movement should in no way seek to replace the physical church, but many of the surf-able outlets in existence to spread the Gospel are well-meaning in utilizing one more way to launch God’s truth out to as many ears that can hear it.
Social media feeds can be flooded with Biblical inspiration and encouragement to combat aired-out drama and negative agendas. Conversations can be started rather than side-shutting arguments. Just as people in real life can expose our weakness and encourage our accomplishments, social media allows us to reach out even farther into the world than physically possible. God speaks to us through social media, today. Where the people are, He is. And people are in the thick of social media. It’s an honorable war that Christians should not pull out of, or lose sight of the responsibility we have as witnesses to Jesus, over all else, on those channels of communication.
Photo credit: ©Thinkstock/Rawpixel
Meg encourages others to seek Him first through her life as a stay-at-home mom, career as a freelance writer, teaching Emoti-moms Weekly Bible Study, and leading the kids worship teams at her local church. She resides in a small, Northern lake town with her husband of ten years, two daughters, and their Golden-doodle. Meg writes about everyday life within the love of Christ on her blog, http://sunnyand80.org.