I don't like getting ready to go to church on Sundays. There I said it. I don't like having to shower. Don't like having to get out of my pajama's. Don't like getting out of bed. Don't like getting the boys ready. Don't like wondering what I am going to wear or if I have anything to wear. Don't like the hustle and bustle to get everyone out the door.
But, I don't think I have EVER regretted going once I got there.
My church challenges me. It makes me want to be a better person. It gives me the opportunity to be around other Christians. Are any of them perfect? Absolutely not! But then neither are my family or friends, and I still hang around with them. Watch an excellent video here about "Why Your Church Doesn't Feel Like Family". Watch at least the first 45 seconds. It's worth it! Especially helpful video for anyone who has been disillusioned by the church. Anyone who watches the video gets 50 points.
Today we had a guest speaker. The topic had to do with how to know if you are hearing God. I thought I'd share my notes here as it's something that I thought was very good, something I've been questioned about, and something I want to remember.
There are 3 ways to know if what you are hearing is from God.
1. Does God's word confirm it? Is it biblical?
2. Does the body of Christ confirm it? Talk to other believers.
3. Does the Holy Spirit confirm it? What is the voice inside you saying?
God speaks to us in many ways. When someone speaks to us in church and we say "wow, that was just for me". That's God. When we are reading and something jumps out at us. That's God. When we wake up and think of someone that we need to call or write. That's God. As long as you can answer yes to the questions above, it's God.
The speaker went on to have us close our eyes and just listen. What is God telling you? And like I always do, I questioned if what I was thinking was my thought or God's. My thought was about my family and how I need to be a better mother and wife. So then we opened our eyes and he asks, "What did you hear?". And immediately I'm thinking that I'm not sure I "heard" anything. And he says, "Why can't it be the first thing that came to your mind? Why do we always say 'that's crazy?'". And if I answer it against the questions above, it absolutely is a YES to what God wants from me. 1. It's biblical. 2. I don't have to ask my fellow Christians on this one, I know they'd agree. 3. That still small voice inside me (the Holy Spirit) is telling me that is what is right.
Sunday morning church is just one avenue of hearing from God. You have the Holy Spirit with you all the time. Many times we only hear people saying that they heard from God things like "become a missionary and go to Spain". But God also tells us things like "I love you", "Say you're sorry to Tim", "be slow to anger", "Call Sarah and encourage her as a mother", "Send Jim a note to let him know you are thinking of him" and on and on. Sometimes I think we get so good at ignoring that voice. We think it must be our imagination or our own thoughts.
I did this just yesterday. I was in a hurry and late to meet a friend. I was driving past Tim's cousin's house and saw her outside reading as I drove by. The first thought it my head was that I should stop real quick and tell her hi and give her a hug. That is not normally something I would do, but that thought was definitely there. I rationalized though as I continued down the road that I was in a hurry and how the farther I got the dumber it would be to turn around that I was too far gone and the gas it would take to go back and on and on till I had talked myself right out of it. Did God tell me to stop and hug Marcia? I think so. The Bible talks a whole lot about encouraging others and I'm pretty sure that it would have been a bright spot in her day had I stopped. Would other Christians confirm that it was something I should do? Yep. Did I have that small voice telling me to? Yep. Something that would have taken me maybe 3 minutes could have impacted someone else's life for days. God doesn't always ask us to do hard things.
12 “There is so much more I want to tell you, but you can’t bear it now. 13 When the Spirit of truth comes, he will guide you into all truth. He will not speak on his own but will tell you what he has heard. He will tell you about the future. 14 He will bring me glory by telling you whatever he receives from me. 15 All that belongs to the Father is mine; this is why I said, ‘The Spirit will tell you whatever he receives from me.’
When we are questioning if God is telling us to do something, we need to remember that when God tells us something, it won't be new. His word is the same yesterday, today, and tomorrow. He's not going to change the way he's done things just to suit us or our situation. We need to go to people who love God and get counsel from them. What do they think about what you are "hearing"? We also need to ask God "Is this really you? Is this something you're telling me to do?" and then sit with it. I'm pretty sure that if we followed these guidelines, we'd have much more certainty about what we are hearing from God.