Revival is Outside Our Worship Gatherings (Stories from the Streets)

Morning Notes & Stories: True Christianity is More Than Praying & Attending Services/Conferences. The Disciples of Jesus Went Out and Did What They Saw Jesus Doing. Prayer Does Not Replace Action.

If anyone sees a fellow believer in need and has the means to help him, yet shows no pity and closes his heart against him, how is it even possible that God’s love lives in him?

Beloved children, our love can’t be an abstract theory we only talk about, but a way of life demonstrated through our loving deeds. We know that the truth lives within us because we demonstrate love in action, which will reassure our hearts in his presence.~1 John 3:17-19.

Jesus came and fulfilled Isaiah 61. The Spirit of the Soveriegn Lord was upon Him to do something to help others know God, connect with God, be healed, set free, and delivered. Jesus did not go into the Temple and sit down. He did not just teach people. He did not just hold prayer meetings. Jesus took the disciples out and had them do the stuff. Jesus activated the 12 and then they mulitpled. Jesus actually made disciples who replicated His teaching and actions.

Revival is a super buzz word. It sounds amazing. I think people believe just praying will usher in this great societal revolution. What people fail to realize is God partners with human beings to accomplish His will on earth and that moves beyond prayer. If my neighbor has no groceries or is starving, my prayers will not get them groceries. I have to either partner with God to meet their practical needs or ask God to send someone else who can.

I struggle with non participation in circles of people say they desperately want revival.

Last year I spent a year serving with the city and their initiative for the poor. I was the only born again, spirit person on their committee-that I knew of anyway. I asked them why they did not have more churches involved, there are so many in my city. They stated churches often turn them down and refuse to help-they have their own programs to support. We can pay thousands of dollars to have big name people come preach to us or sing to us, and not help the city with poor??? It does not make sense.

If all the believers took just one tiny slice of the pie, it could transform a city. Transforming a city trumps filling buildings and having packed out conferences.

If I am constantly wrecked in the glory of God that does not shift my priorities and heart to care about what He cares about, something is wrong. Either I am not truly connecting with God or I am disobeying God.

When I talk to people about helping the poor or abused, I will constantly get the response, “I am not called to do that,” or “I asked God and He told me not to support your ministry,” those same people (some not all) will come back with ways I can help support their vision, mission, and mandate from God. People love to give money, not so much the time, service, or feet on the ground.

I am not asking people to join forces with me on the street. I do ask people to serve somewhere, do something other than consume, take the Gospel out somewhere, go help someone who genuinely has nothing. Jesus was not a bench dwelling passive person. The early apostles and early church were not passive bench dwellers.

In an age of technology, the Gospel can be shared quickly with hundreds to thousands of people. If cat videos can go viral, why not Jesus? An encouraging text or email is easy to send. Letting someone go first in the grocery line-“God loves you, you go first.” Put blessing bags in the car for the homeless-include an encouraging note or bible. Stop for the neighbor and ask how they have been. Listen when people talk instead of dominating the conversation. Be a great friends instead of a one sided one. Find out what the city is doing to help people and tag along. Start a discipleship group-help people grow in their gifts. There are so many options beyond prayer. If I am starving to death, yes prayer is great. What is better is getting me a sandwich.

I was out last winter looking for people to feed. As we were in the park, we saw a man go into the port o john and not come out. One of the ladies said, “Let’s check on him.” I was reluctant to go knock on the port o john door. Yet would not let her go alone. The man came out of the port o john eating chips. He stated he was in there to block his body from the wind and cold. We offered him more food and winter gear (socks, hand warmers, scarves, etc). He was shocked someone wanted to help him. He was reluctant to take what he needed because he said there were so many in need. I told him to take what he needed. He was so excited about socks. Socks made his day. I could have just offered him prayer and the Gospel. Yet it was far better to demonstrate the Gospel, “God cares about every single detail of your life, including your cold feet and hungry belly.”

I was out one night with a team under the bridges. I met this elderly grandma and her grandchild. Since she had no home, her mom dropped off her child at the homeless camp for visitation. It was below freezing. This little girl had on a spring jacket, not a winter jacket. She had the most joy filled eyes. She was happy to be with grandma. I cried once I left them. I cried and cried and cried.

Love is more than sweet words that escape our lips yet never move us to do anything.

Love is more than warm fuzzy feelings that drive us to do only what is comfortable for us.

Love is more than an anthem we sing that never forces us to shift our perspective or actions.

Love is a verb that moves us beyond talking to doing.

Can we do everything? No. Can we do something? Yes. It amazes me with all the hats I wear how many people will ask me to help them personally or support what they are doing. There are thousands to millions doing nothing but soaking up teachings, worship, and experiences and going home. Some aren’t even paying attention in services or to lessons. There is more in God and it is not about passive or idle Christianity. Revival involves transformation and transformation requires participation.

I have yet for God to tell me to do nothing at all for anyone but myself. God highlights people on a daily basis to invest in them. God is generous, loving, kind, compassionate, looking for someone to bless through us. Love looks like someone, Jesus. Love acts like someone, Jesus. Love is demonstrated in our choices and actions-not just our words.

If you see someone hungry, and you can feed them, feed them.

If you see someone freezing, and you can clothe them, clothe them.

If your city struggles with poverty, and you have the means to help, volunteer/serve/be a blessing to the city.

If someone in your church or fellowship looks discouraged, encourage them.

If you see someone struggling to pay their groceries, and you can help them, help them.

If God highlights someone to you that is hurting, reach out. I will say a silent prayer is not as powerful as picking up the phone and calling, “Hey, you have been on my heart. Are you okay? I love you.”

Love in word only is just noise (1 Corinthians 13).

God give us your eyes and heart. Help us to see as you see. Help us to move beyond just going to services and praying for revival to going out and releasing your goodness on earth. Light a fire in our hearts for transformation. Transform us from the inside out. Transformed people transform cities. We need Jesus in the places He is needed most, all 7 mountains of influence. Heaven come through us to leave the world better than it was before we entered.

Warmly,

Erin Lamb

OperationGodisLove.org

Facebook.com/OperationGodisLove

New Books Coming!

First let me say thank you for subscribing to the book blog! Thank you. You are prayed for and loved.

I wanted to let you know of upcoming books.

It has been quite a while since I Thought I Knew What Love Was was published. I hope you check it out! People have stated it was a source of encouragement and helped them connect with the heart of God. It has a 5 star rating.

Book update:

I have been working on several books. One will be released this year. It is entitled Confident & Free. It is a devotional book designed to help others connect with the heart of God in areas of overcoming; overcoming fear, overcoming trauma, overcoming rejection, overcoming persecution, and even overcoming when facing death. God created us to live confident and free. The Spirit of God is one of an overcomer.

My hope after Confident & Free is released is to send out book 3 which is Killing Insecurity.

We live in a world that seems to be plagued by violence, abuse, mistreatment of human beings. We also live in a world where there is money to be made off of insecurity. Marketing says, “Tell them who and what they have is not enough.”

God designed us in love (God=Love), to be loved, THEN to love. We have too many people trying to love others when they do not love themselves.

Some people say societal issues center around mental illness. I disagree. I believe at the root is fractured identity and insecurity. Insecure people cannot love their neighbor because they do not love themselves. We can not give away what we do not possess. We cannot value another while hating ourselves.

Insecurity is the root of bullying, abuse, racism, sexism, murder, jealousy, domination, competition, many addictions, mistreatment…lack of healthy identity and love creates systemic problems. We can deal with fruit all day, yet change happens when we pull up the roots.

Our world has an identity crisis and love deficit. These things can be overcome by the power and love of Jesus. These books are not designed to be self help. They are written to hopefully lead the reader into an encounter with the truth of who God is and an encounter with His heart. Once we truly encounter Jesus our lives are never the same. The securest identity is in Jesus.

My prayer for us today is we would know the height, depth, width, and vast expanse of God’s love!

I will let you know when Confident & Free is released! I hope you pick up a copy and leave some feedback. Most importantly, know whether you get a book or not, you are prayed for and deeply loved!

Love in Christ,

Erin L Lamb

OperationGodisLove.org (Missions/Street Ministry Website)

P.S Check out facebook.com/erinlambauthor for daily devotions!

Holy Spirit the Teacher (Holy Spirit University (HSU) Series Part II)

When they bring you before the synagogues and the magistrates and the authorities, do not be worried about how you are to defend yourselves or what you are to say; for the Holy Spirit will teach you in that very hour what you ought to say.”~Luke 12:11-12.

But the Helper (Comforter, Advocate, Intercessor—Counselor, Strengthener, Standby), the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in My name [in My place, to represent Me and act on My behalf], He will teach you all things. And He will help you remember everything that I have told you~Jesus (John 14:26).

I love Holy Spirit. Though depicted as a dove, fire, or wind, Holy Spirit has a mind, will, emotions, intellect, and personality.

Holy Spirit is fully God, and the greatest teacher of mankind.

Holy Spirit is the promised gift given by God to bless humanity.

Holy Spirit leads and guides us into God’s truth, wisdom, knowledge, and continually reveals Jesus.

Custom Learning:

One of the things I love about HSU-Holy Spirit University is the curriculum is tailored to the student. You and I may have completely different seasons and syllabi. Yet the objective for all of humanity is to continually reveal the nature of God and the person of Jesus.

What God is teaching me at the present moment may differ from what God is teaching you. God knows where we are spiritually, and emotionally. The path mapped out for each of us is custom.

In every season we can ask God, “What are you teaching me? What are you revealing about Jesus to me in this season, trial, challenge, and situation?”

Do Overs/Welcome to Graceland:

Lessons taught by Holy Spirit are not only custom, you get many chances to learn. If you fail love 101, no worries…you get to take it again.

Have you ever faced something and it felt so familiar? It seemed as though you had been through it before? Have you encountered the same scenario over and over? I have. In those moments either we did not learn from the first situation or God is giving us a chance to demonstrate what we have learned again.

“You have heard that it was said, ‘You shall love your neighbor (fellow man) and hate your enemy.’ But I say to you, love [that is, unselfishly seek the best or higher good for] your enemies and pray for those who persecute you, so that you may [show yourselves to] be the children of your Father who is in heaven; for He makes His sun rise on those who are evil and on those who are good, and makes the rain fall on the righteous [those who are morally upright] and the unrighteous [the unrepentant, those who oppose Him]. For if you love [only] those who love you, what reward do you have? Do not even the tax collectors do that? And if you greet only your brothers [wishing them God’s blessing and peace], what more [than others] are you doing? Do not even the Gentiles [who do not know the Lord] do that? You, therefore, will be perfect [growing into spiritual maturity both in mind and character, actively integrating godly values into your daily life], as your heavenly Father is perfect,~Jesus (Matthew 5:43-48).

Love is something God wants us to learn and demonstrate. God gives us numerous opportunities to learn to love. Many times it comes in the form of an unloveable person. That person who drives you crazy is an opportunity to grow in God love. It’s fairly easy to love the loveable. It requires God to love the hateful, unkind, spiteful, and nastiful (my made up word for full of nasty).

We can cry, scream, and ask for relief from the nastiful, yet they will be present this side of heaven and teach us the most about God love.

Are we always the most pleasant to be around? Are we always easy to love? How do we treat God? Our experiences with other people can teach us so much about how to love God and others.

Growing Up in God:

Who wants to be an infant forever? I hope the resounding answer is, “Not me!”

God loves to see us grow and learn just like natural parents love to see their kids grow and learn. Staying in the same place has never been the plan or design of God. The plan has always been for fruitfulness, growth, maturity, Godly character, and Christlikeness.

…become imitators of God [copy Him and follow His example], as well-beloved children [imitate their father];~Ephesians 5:1.

Jesus is the role model and standard. I am not pushing striving or trying in our own strength to be like Jesus. I am a proponent of abiding (remaining, staying connected to, and intimacy with God).

As we yield to Holy Spirit there is a manifestation of His character and fruit put on display. God is the Source of goodness. Abiding in Him produces Christlikeness in our lives.

We are told to yield to Holy Spirit and not quench the Holy Spirit. Therefore, our lives are rooted in life in God, not striving to be like God. We yield, abide, and grow!!

Studying the Bible:

I cannot think of anyone more beneficial to learn the scriptures from than God. I highly recommend inviting God into study times, “Lord come and reveal your truth through your written word. I want to know you and what you intended with these verses. Teach me your truth.” There is something powerful that opens up with study with Holy Spirit.

Papa God, thank you for the precious Holy Spirit who teaches us and reveals His truth. Thank you for the wisdom imparted by Holy Spirit! What a gift!! Help us to yield to Holy Spirit and grow in Christlikeness. You are so good. Grow us up in love! In Jesus powerful name. Amen.

Love in Christ,

Erin Lamb

Weekend Devotion (God Wants Relationship) 

Photo: Nay Crumors 

Morning Devotion: Knowing God (intimacy with God) is the most important thing…Not church attendance, tithing, church affiliation, serving, or being entertained. God is after personal, intimate relationship. 

Being with God, knowing God, trumps doing for God. Being is to lead to doing with the motivation to love God and others. 

When intimacy with God and knowing His heart and character are removed from Christianity you end up with powerless religion. 
We can spend our lives in church, paying tithes, doing Christian stuff, having great worship, and go to hell (totally miss God). How can I say this? Well, it came straight from the mouth of Jesus. Read Matthew 7:21-29, Matthew 25:31-46. 

Religion void of relationship leads to idolatry and oppression. The Pharisees had religion not relationship with God. 

Mankind without connection to the Vine (Jesus) yields no good fruit. See John 15:4-5. There is a form of godliness in religion void of transformative power and genuine agape love. That’s why the Bible was used as an excuse to kill millions of Native born Americans (First Nations people) or enslave Africans (deny them any human rights) or abuse women and deny them equal rights. So many horrific things have been done under the mask of “Christianity,” yet Jesus made it very plain. He stated, “You will know My followers by their agape love.” See John 13:35. 

Love fulfills the law because it does no harm to it’s neighbor (Romans 13:10). Love is holy and without any sin, including selfishness the most destructive sin. Love involves freedom and equality. Love is not rude nor full of mean sarcasm. Love builds up. Love gets low to serve not seeking to be served. Love has no prejudice. Love honors even the dishonorable. Love seeks the best interests of others. Love possesses humility (others matter). Love does not seek to dominate, control, hurt, harm, abuse, use, or harass others. 

There is a huge difference between someone who claims God and someone who knows God. The one who knows God grows to resemble God (1 John 4:8). Some of what we call Christianity is not about Jesus at all. It is traditions of men and void of God’s love, purity, and power. 

God invites us to know Him. All the other things flow out of knowing God. If I am intimate with God, I will want to give. If I am intimate with God, I will grow more loving. If I am intimate with God, I will want to fellowship with other believers. If I am intimate with God, I will want to serve. If I am intimate with God, I will want to share the Gospel. If I am intimate with God, I will humble myself and serve others. If I am intimate with God, the fragrance on my life will draw others to Him. Our strength lies in intimacy with God. 

Love, 

Erin Lamb 

Everything God Allows Is Not Necessarily His Will (Wednesday Devotion)

  
Morning Devotion: This was all God’s plan or was it? Everything God allows is not necessarily His will. Everything stated or predicted to be true is not necessarily God. 

God is good (Mark 10:18). Evil exists because of the abuse of free will (Romans 5:12). We can choose evil over good. We can choose our way over God’s way. Why? Because love involves freedom. The desire to control people is demonic. 

Nothing happens outside God’s knowledge. He does not prevent every horrible thing from happening. 

This does not mean the following: 

1. God is cruel or loves to punish people. 

The Bible says He is slow to anger and abounding in love (Psalm 103:8). He is merciful wanting all to come to repentance. 

2. Everything that happens is God’s perfect will. 

God desires that none should perish (2 Peter 3:9), yet we know millions will. 

3. When things happen, God caused it to happen. 

Allowing and causing are two vastly different concepts. To cause something to happen is to have motivations and intentions that pursue that outcome. All the evil we see in the world came from Adam choosing to obey the devil instead of God (Romans 5:12). Did God cause sin? No. Did He give choices? Yes. 

God hates sin. Yet He allows us to choose sin. 

There will not be anyone in heaven who chose the devil over God or chose themselves over God. Why? God will not force anyone to love Him. 

This concept of humans have no personal responsibility due to the sovereignty of God is false. 

God gave both Adam and Eve dominion on the earth (Genesis 1). They were to fill, subdue, reign on earth. They were given authority and dominion. They surrendered it through sin. 

Jesus regained what was lost. Jesus restored what was broken in the Garden. Yet there is still a world in chaos. Why? People can still choose sin. Sin leads to destruction and death. Sin hurts us and others. 

Death, sickness, destruction, brokenness, broken relationships, hurt, sorrow, lust, greed, and all evil were not a part of the Garden pre fall. God knew man would sin, so there was already a plan for redemption. The fall of man happened. It does not mean God caused it to happen. 

God’s sovereignty is also not an excuse for prayerlessness or not doing our part. Saying, “Oh this is just the way it is,” or “God will fix it,” or “I am waiting on God to show up,” or “This is God’s plan or will,” are sometimes excuses to not do our part. God gave us brains, feet, hands, vocal chords, and resources so we could use them. 

I love what Joyce Meyers says. She says, “You know what happens when you do not pray? Nothing. Nothing happens.” 

God enters situations He is invited into. Someone invited God; He revealed His power. 

I want to take you further along this path with the prophetic. Ready? 

Every prophetic word that is true or comes true is not necessarily from God. Say what? Indeed. 

When Jesus walked the earth demons would sometimes cry out, “You are the Son of God.” He would tell them to be quiet because His time had not yet come (Luke 4:41). 

When Paul delivered the woman with the spirit of divination, she was speaking the truth. Her source was not God (Acts 16:16-18). 

Demons and the devil can speak truth. The devil knows the Bible better than most people. Demons also network to understand the workings, patterns, desires, and ways of humans. Just because something true is spoken or predicted does not necessarily mean it was God who inspired the vocalization. 

More examples…Just because it’s spoken and happened, does not mean it was inspired by God. 

I have met several woman over the years who were prophesied to who their spouse would be. I truly believe God speaks and may tell someone. These ladies ended up with men who did not truly love God or them. Two were told, “You will marry this person.” There was no bliss on the other side of “I do.” There was a whole lot of hell; some of those marriages ended in divorce. Some were deeply wounded by the dreams, words, visions that were not reality or did not become reality.

I have had at least a dozen “prophetic” words from people about who my spouse will be, and when he will come. Guess what? None of them match, nor have they come true. Since God is not the author of confusion, what could be the source? 

1. Flesh or soul. 

We have a spirit, a body, and a soul. The soul can sense things too. It does not mean it’s God. 

2. Evil spirits. 

They can interject thoughts, dreams too. Sometimes with people they can insert thoughts that are first person, “I hate my life,” or “I am so ugly.” They can implant words, “You will marry this person.” Hence scripture telling us to test every spirit to see if it is God. 

For relationships, please examine the way the person treats you. Look at the fruit in their life. Look at who they spend their time with and how they treat people who can do nothing for them. Look at how they respond to not getting their way. Look at their life. Is it a hot mess? How well do they love God? Do they truly love Him. How they treat God is how they will treat you. 

God is good. Every good and perfect gift comes from above, from the Father of Lights. Gifts from God are good. People are not perfect, yet when God brings a gift there is blessing tied to it. 

I highly recommend with some words, visions, pictures to sit them on the shelf and to also pray, “God I cancel any enemy assignments of deception. I only want to hear Your voice. I want to walk in Your truth. Holy Spirit lead and guide me.” 

There are false Holy Spirits too…will touch on that in a deliverance/freedom post later. They work to hurt and bring deception. You will hear people say, “God told me to do this immoral, harmful thing.” No He did not. Holy Spirit will not violate the word of God. 

Papa God, help us to colabor with You. Help us to be people of wisdom, prayer, and doing what we see Jesus doing. Help us to have heavenly vision, ears that hear Your truth above the noise, and discernment to know what is You, what is our flesh, what is the devil/his minions, and what is coming from our souls. Anything not of You, please uproot it. Replace it with Your love, truth, and power. In Jesus powerful name. Amen. 

God bless you! You are in my thoughts and continual prayers. You are so deeply loved. 

Erin Lamb 

Receiving and Abiding in Love (Intimacy with God Part IX)

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Our greatest strength comes from abiding (remaining) in God.

John 15: 1, 4-17.

“I am the true vine, and my Father is the gardener…Remain in me, as I also remain in you. No branch can bear fruit by itself; it must remain in the vine. Neither can you bear fruit unless you remain in me.

“I am the vine; you are the branches. If you remain in me and I in you, you will bear much fruit; apart from me you can do nothing. If you do not remain in me, you are like a branch that is thrown away and withers; such branches are picked up, thrown into the fire and burned. If you remain in me and my words remain in you, ask whatever you wish, and it will be done for you. This is to my Father’s glory, that you bear much fruit, showing yourselves to be my disciples.

“As the Father has loved me, so have I loved you. Now remain in my love. If you keep my commands, you will remain in my love, just as I have kept my Father’s commands and remain in his love. I have told you this so that my joy may be in you and that your joy may be complete. My command is this: Love each other as I have loved you. Greater love has no one than this: to lay down one’s life for one’s friends. You are my friends if you do what I command. I no longer call you servants, because a servant does not know his master’s business. Instead, I have called you friends, for everything that I learned from my Father I have made known to you. You did not choose me, but I chose you and appointed you so that you might go and bear fruit—fruit that will last—and so that whatever you ask in my name the Father will give you. This is my command: Love each other.

Culture vs. the Kingdom of Heaven

Our culture promotes self. If you want something, you go for it in your own strength. You make it happen. You persist. You press harder or push harder. The central character is us, the created ones. Our culture celebrates the “self-made” person.

The Bible teaches us that we can do nothing apart from God. Nothing means no thing. He is the Source of human life, even for the wicked and unbelieving. We exist because of Him. The central character of God’s story is God. The Kingdom of heaven celebrates the person dependent on God.

It hurts the pride and bruises the ego to realize that God is above all. He is above us. We are not God or demigods, though some teach this. God doesn’t force us to obey Him or comply, He’s still God and there are consequences for our choices. We are never truly independent from His Sovereignty.

If we are in Christ, then it’s good to recall that we are to rely on His strength. Our striving produces stress. Abiding produces abundant fruit. He is the Source of love, peace, joy, hope, faith, goodness, life, patience, meekness, gentleness, and self control. He’s the Vine. If we remain in Him, there’s flourishing life.

Example from Gardening…

I had a plant with vines. I noticed it would grow towards the light. Any parts of the vine that fell off, died. It was disconnected from its life source. The root system of that plant was supplying nutrients. The branches produced no life on their own. If I forgot to water or fertilize the soil, it died.

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We need intimacy (relationship) with God more than anything else. We need the Light (God). We need water (His Spirit). We need fertilizer and food (His Word). When we place other things in front of Him, we suffer. God doesn’t cease loving us, we cease producing fruit.

Fruit is the result of fellowship and intimacy (abiding, remaining). We will always see fruit of our fellowship. If we fellowship with fear, the fruits are worry, anxiety, insecurity, suspicion, unhealthy stress, people pleasing, jealousy…

God knew and knows that we will suffer if He’s not first. We can’t produce Light and His Love without Him. He is Light; He is love.

Our first step in intimacy with God is salvation. The second is abiding. We receive first, then we give.

The highest priority isn’t doing for God, it’s being with God.

So beautiful friends, may we seek Him first. May we meet with Him, talk with Him, listen to Him…

What is God doing? What is He saying? What does His word say? What is God teaching us at this moment?

May we soak in His Presence and allow God to heal, restore, saturate us, and minister to us. God can do more in a moment than we can in a lifetime. He contains solutions to all the world’s problems.

Father, Abba Pai, help us to first receive from You and abide in You as Jesus did. Teach us to rest in Your love and the finished work of the Cross. May we have a deeper revelation of what’s already been paid for in Your Son. May we know heart, mind, and spirit the height, depth, and vast expanse of Your love for us. May we rely on Your strength and Your Spirit. In Jesus powerful name, Amen.

Praying for you! You are deeply loved (John 3:16).

Erin

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Photo credit: Pinterest

Hearing God’s Voice (Intimacy With God Part V)

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Then came the Festival of Dedication at Jerusalem. It was winter, and Jesus was in the temple courts walking in Solomon’s Colonnade. The Jews who were there gathered around him, saying, “How long will you keep us in suspense? If you are the Messiah, tell us plainly.”

Jesus answered, “I did tell you, but you do not believe. The works I do in my Father’s name testify about me, but you do not believe because you are not my sheep. My sheep listen to my voice; I know them, and they follow me. I give them eternal life, and they shall never perish; no one will snatch them out of my hand. My Father, who has given them to me, is greater than all ; no one can snatch them out of my Father’s hand. I and the Father are one,~John 10:22-30.

I recommend reading John 10 in it’s entirety. Jesus repeats that His sheep know His voice and the voice of another they will not follow. Sheep are not smart animals. They will follow each other off cliffs. They need a shepherd. Through close proximity, relationship, and time there’s a knowing of the shepherd to his sheep.

It’s challenging to know someone we’ve only read about or we only have second hand knowledge.

God speaks. I’ve heard some teach He does not speak, which is opposite to many scriptures. Such as:

Now I wish that you all spoke in tongues, but even more that you would prophesy; and greater is one who prophesies than one who speaks in tongues, unless he interprets, so that the church may receive edifying,~1 Corinthians 14:5.

It will come about after this that I will pour out My Spirit on all mankind; And your sons and daughters will prophesy, Your old men will dream dreams, Your young men will see visions,~Joel 2:28.

See also 1 Corinthians 12:4-11.

God has spoken to His children since the beginning of time. He spoke to Moses through a burning bush. He sent an angel to speak to Mary. He spoke to Abraham and Sarah. He spoke to Saul, the later to be Apostle Paul on the way to Damascus. Jesus retreated often to be with the Father. People in the old and New Testament prophesied, had dreams, visions, and encounters with God.

We too, through relationship with God have the opportunity to know His voice and communicate with Him.

I had a pastor friend who believed we could not hear from God outside of reading the Bible. God continued to place people in his life who would regularly prophesy over him things he’d only told God. He grew to believe God speaks, though he cautioned we shouldn’t just believe every person who says they are speaking for God or saying, “God told me this.”

The Bible is clear that what we believe we are hearing from God or what others believe they are hearing from God is to be tested against the word of God. God doesn’t violate His Word. He will expand our understanding, yet He won’t violate His Word.

Examples:

God won’t tell you to leave your spouse for that cute person at work who’s nicer to you.

God won’t tell you to gossip or slander people.

God won’t tell you to steal.

God won’t tell you to sleep with that person who’s not your spouse.

God does speak and listening to Him increases our intimacy with Him. I told a friend this story.

Suppose a father narrates stories for his son or daughter to help them through life. He places many words of wisdom in the book. He appoints several people to help his child along and represent him. The child gets the book and the father says, “I’m not going to talk to you anymore. You must find what you need in this book. I no longer want to deal with you, please go find someone I appointed to help you.” We’d call that parent cruel and unloving. Yet we say God is that father.

There are doctrines that make God out to be a deadbeat, lazy, and uninvolved parent. He wants us to memorize the Bible and never speak to us or engage with us outside of the book. Or some believe only “special people” can hear from God. There’s a doctrine that essentially silences the Holy Spirit and anyone’s ability to hear from God themselves.

You will find if you read the Bible God is more eager to speak to His children than they are to listen. I could write an entirely new series on the ways God speaks. I will say spending time in God’s word is essential for knowing if what we think we are hearing or sensing or seeing (dreams and visions) are from God.

Sweet friends, Jesus died for relationship. God wants to dwell with mankind, hence sending His Son and Holy Spirit. He’s after relationship. Relationship involves intimacy (knowing and being known). Intimacy involves communication. God wants to be known by you. He wants to be the closest One to you and for your relationship to grow. He longs to communicate with you. Prayer isn’t simply talking to God, it’s listening to Him as well.

Father, please reveal to us how much you long to speak to us. Reveal how your love for us surpasses that of an earthly parent. Help us to see you as you really are. Help us to hear clearly from you. Remove any deception, doubt, unbelief, and anything hindering us from hearing from you. May we know clearly your voice, check it against your word and character, and grow in intimacy with you. In Jesus powerful name, amen.