Many people ask, “How come God speaks to you”? “I never hear him” or if I do, I don’t know it”. Throughout the coming year, 2015, I will share some of my mornings spent with the Lord. I will share tips which will help quiet the world and assist you in hearing God’s voice amongst all the others which clamor for our attention.
As we’re approaching quickly a new year, why not start today. Let’s begin by talking about devotional books. The formatting of a Devotional book is usually a short writing by the author with a verse, or a few verses, extracted from the Bible. Devotionals are designed to give the reader food for thought; to spur them on to better Christian living. The verses included in the short writings usually connect to what the author writes; but not always. Some fabulous Devotionals exist in the market place; each designed to get us thinking about spiritual things and into God’s Word; daily, somewhat. I say somewhat, because none are truly the Word of God. The Bible is the only true source for God’s Word. One very popular devotional in Christian circles today, is the book “Jesus Calling”, written by Sarah Young. Awesome devotional book! God has, on several occasions, confirmed his speaking to me through Sarah Young’s writings. Did you notice the word confirm in my last sentence. I never use only her devotional as a source of hearing from God; never. And therein lies the danger of not only this devotional but many others, such as “Hugs” by Criswell Freeman or “My Utmost for His Highest”, by Oswald Chambers, or “My Daily Bread”, to name a few.
The danger comes when we substitute the Word of God for a quick 5 minute read in a devotional book, a short prayer or even a 5 minute journaling experience and walk away with the false belief we have spent time in God’s Word with the Lord. Folk’s, if this is your daily routine you’re short changing yourself and more importantly, you are short-changing God.
Devotional’s are wonderful additions to a quiet time, but, should never, never, ever, take the place of spending quality time in the Bible; the very Word of God. “I love that the verses are printed right on the page for me. I don’t even have to open my Bible” is a phrase I hear all too often. My response: “Would you know if the authors print lies or half-truths if you don’t check what the author says against the word of God? No, of course not”. Don’t take another’s word for what the Bible says, check it out for yourself.
Sadly, not only are we taking another’s word for truth, but we’re allowing them to speak to our hearts rather than allowing the very heart of God to speak, to comfort, to give guidance and wisdom for circumstances. God warns against Idols in our lives; Idols are books, things, people, activities, etc., which are given worth or value above God by our actions. When we spend more time reading “Jesus Calling”, “Our Daily Bread”, ”His Utmost for my Highest” or any devotional over God’s Word, we’ve made our devotional book an Idol. Ouch, did my last statement sting a little? We didn’t start out to sidestep God. Never our intention, yet, it’s what has taken place for many. An Idol… hmmm, something to think about.
God desires to be the voice you are tuned into. He desires to teach you all there is to know about the Word of God. He desires to guide and direct your path each day. The only sure way you have of knowing what is on His mind and heart is by being in the Word; His Word!
Let me reiterate, I’m not saying never read a devotional. I’m not saying devotionals are bad. I’m certainly not saying “Jesus Calling” is a devotional book to be avoided. As I shared with you, I own several and I love to read them. There are some super-dooper ones written by solid Christian authors. ; Jesus Calling is one of my fav’s. Devotionals spur my thinking and sometimes, yes, the Holy Spirit uses what I read, within the covers of my devotionals, to confirm His Word too me. I never read them only, or first. I only read a devotional after I’ve spent time hearing directly from God, through the Bible.
Quality time with the one who gave us life, who knows us forwards and backwards, inside and out, is the starting place for hearing God’s voice. If you desire to hear the God of the universe speak to you, it starts with reading His Word.
Until next time,