Have you heard people talk about, God spoke to me. I had a prompting. He gave me a nudge. The Holy Spirit was telling me to do X, Y, or Z. Well, how do you know whether that's really God or whether it's just you? How do you hear the still small voice of God?
That's today. Stay with me. Thanks for joining us for this Edition of Living on the Edge with Chip Ingram. Living on the Edge is an international discipleship ministry focused on helping Christians live like Christians. Well, today our guest teacher, Ryan Ingram, will wrap up his series, When We Pray, with the second half of his talk, Hearing God.
Now, if you missed any part of this series or want to go back to a helpful message again, listen anytime at livingontheedge.org or through the Chip Ingram app. As we get started, Ryan reminds us of how God communicates with us today. Now, if you have a Bible handy, he'll be in Exodus chapter three. The first way is God speaks to us through his word. Like he wrote it down. Like, God, just speak to me, please.
And he's going, I'm dead. 2 Timothy 3.16 says, all scripture is God-free and useful for teaching, training, rebuking, and correcting so that the person, the servant of God, might be thoroughly equipped for every good work. God speaks to us through his word, and God speaks through his spirit, the Holy Spirit of God. Like the same spirit that raised Christ from the dead now lives and dwells inside each of us. In 1 Corinthians 2.10, the apostle Paul says it this way, the spirit searches all things, even the deep things of God, for who knows a person's thought except their own spirit within them. In the same way, no one knows the thoughts of God except the spirit of God. We have received not the spirit of the world, but the spirit who is from God, now listen to this, so that we may understand what God has freely given us. The spirit communicates with our spirit, and verse 16 says, but we have the very mind of Christ. This is where we talk about the still small voice of God.
This is where we talk about and understand that inner voice, the whisper. Some of you might think of it and you might hear someone say, well, I just felt like I had this nudge of the Holy Spirit. And as you begin to respond to those nudges or those promptings, you begin to clarify his voice in your life.
See, if you have a thought that's for someone else's good, that is contrary to what you would naturally desire and it requires faith, chances are that's the spirit of God and not your spirit. And as you become aware of that and recognize it in partnership with the word of God, then you begin to experience the daily guiding and leading. He also speaks through other people. God uses other people.
I'm praying that God is using me right now in this moment to speak to you. And there's other people in our life that God uses and he brings a word. That's why 1 Corinthians 12 says this, that now to each one, the manifestation of the spirit is given for the common good. So one, there's given through the spirit a message of wisdom for somebody. It's another message of knowledge by the same means of the spirit. That God uses other people.
I'll give you an example. Over our time in Mexico with our high school ministry, one morning I was wrestling with God. I felt like I had a word from God a little over a decade ago about the dreams and things he put on my mind and heart that he wanted to be a part of. And I'm looking at it a decade later, I'm like, none of it. And then I'm just going like, come on, God, I thought I heard from you, but maybe it's just me. And if you're not about that, I'm okay. And I was having a little bit of a gripe fest, but also a surrender fest.
Like I'm frustrated here, but if I don't want to be a part of what's not, what you're not a part of. And then I had this gal, we're in this worship service, like tap me on the shoulder and I go, yeah. And she says, do you speak Spanish? And I go, absolutely not. No, I don't speak Spanish at all.
A little bit. I'm great at ordering, fantastic at ordering food, but that's about it. And so she spends the next like 10 minutes typing in her Google translate and then hands me what she typed out. This person that doesn't know me that we don't even speak the same language had written some of the very same words and themes that I had just written two hours earlier in my journal. Like God speaks through other people. And there are things and times where as you're praying for someone, he gives you a word of encouragement, a word of wisdom.
He might give you a picture for them. And we got to be so careful with this as well, because we can abuse that. And it's been abused in the church. God told me that you're supposed to marry me. Like, no I didn't.
And if he did, hold that to yourself until after you get married and tell the story and it's awesome. The other way feels like manipulation. In fact, my friend Judy does this so wonderfully. She'll often be praying for me and she'll like have a word and she writes it on a three by five card and she'll go, Ryan is this praying. This is just a word that God was bringing to my mind. And I just want to give it to you. And you take time and you sit with Jesus and whatever's from him, you know, allow him to bring that to the forefront.
Like not somehow I have a word and I'm going to drop this on you. But this is what I believe God was working in me. Far be it from me to know that I actually heard completely clearly and understand it fully. But I'm going to give to you and let and trust that the Spirit of God is going to speak and work in you. And God speaks through his word. God speaks through his spirit. God speaks through other people in our lives. And then he uses creation. The psalmist says it this way. Psalm 19 says the heavens declare the glory of God.
The skies proclaim the works of his hand day after day. They pour forth speech night after night. They reveal knowledge. They have no speech. They use no words.
No sound is heard from them. Yet their voice goes out into all the earth and their words to the ends of the world. There's many other ways that he uses to speak to us. The final one I'll know is he uses visions and dreams. There's things, you see this throughout scripture that he uses visions and dreams to speak to us and to tell his people some special things. You know, the way God speaks actually to my wife often is God gives her a picture. She's very artistic and visual. And so God will give her a picture.
And for me, I'm pretty cerebral and I've got my journal. God often, you know, is in his word and kind of dropping some things to me that way. Here's one of the amazing parts is God meets us in the way he made us and that he meets us individually in that way. One of the things that doesn't catch the headlines is the spread of the gospel in these countries, in these closed countries where they don't have access to the gospel and Jesus just shows up at them.
Not just Iran, but Afghanistan and other Muslim countries. And there are so many people coming to know Jesus because he shows up into a dream. And you're seeing the church grow and spread in incredible ways in Afghanistan and Iran through and under incredible persecution. And Jesus shows up and he meets people profoundly. And so how does God speak to us through his word, through the Spirit of God, through other people, through creations, visions and dreams? But the question then is how do you know it's God speaking to you?
Right? How do you know that dream was God? And not just like, man, that was weird. That's different.
That hit different. Like how do you know that? Joyce Huggett in her book, Listening for God, she's an international bestseller. This is an old book. She wrote, if you believe God has told you something, ask him to confirm it to you three times through his word. Like he'll never contradict himself. Get back into his word.
Do I see alignment here? Through circumstances. Like God, you've called us to move and you called us to maybe change a job. Are you going to begin to lead me and show different ways that you've set things up as I'm taking steps of faith and through other people who may know nothing of the situation? Where you begin to go, okay, I'm not just going to run and just go like, I heard a word from God.
In fact, I get that sometimes. Especially young people will often come to me and like, God told me. I go, well, that's fantastic. But when you say God told me, and this is what you're doing, you've now closed yourself off to the community of God of speaking into and bringing wisdom and any other things that God might want to say through his people. Instead of God told me, you go, you know what? I'm really sensing God is leading in this direction. Would you pray with me a love for you to discern with me and help me discover, is this really the path he has for me? And you begin to do this journey in community.
Five foundational truths. God is closer than you think. He's into everydayness. God longs to speak to you. Number four, God will not compete for your attention. You ask the question, if God is closer than I think in my everyday life and longs to speak to me, why don't I hear him more?
Right? Why don't I hear him more? Because he's not going to compete for your attention.
Remember, think about this. I mean, this picture, Moses has seen hundreds of burning bushes. He's at work. He's doing his nine to five, and he's probably got a couple sheep that are just annoying him.
You know, they just keep wandering off. And then he sees this sight over here, and here's what had to happen. He had to not just see it, but he had to actually take steps toward it. He had to stop what he was doing, stop his work, not just take a picture, post it on Instagram and say, oh, cool, burning bush.
Hello. But he had to turn and actually begin to move in that direction. And did you notice it wasn't until he got there that God spoke? And so often the reason we don't hear from God is we don't create space for God to speak. The whisper of God, the still small voice, he will not compete for our attention. And we have so many things clamoring for our attention, the busyness of our lives, the constant like draw to our phones, the hectic pace that we live at, and the noise of our life is louder and louder and louder and louder. And the still small voice of God is still consistent and constant. We just don't hear it.
Dallas Willard again said this. He said, first of all, the fact that we do not hear God does not mean that God's not speaking. God will not overrun us. We must be open to the possibility of God addressing us in whatever way he chooses, or else we may walk right past a burning bush instead of saying, as Moses did, I must turn aside and look at this great sight and see why the bush is not burned up. See, I think there's a few reasons we don't hear from God. I think one, we have hearing problems.
We do. I just think we have hearing problems. Men as we get older, we naturally lose our higher frequency of hearing. And women as you get older, more commonly, you lose the lower frequency of hearing. And so the older you get as a couple, you actually hear each other less. It's going to be so used as a weapon this week in some marriage.
I know it. No, Ryan said my low frequency. We got to tune into the frequency of God. And we have so much noise in the background of our life, so many things that are keeping us busy and inwardly dispersed and distracted. And that noise is turned on and we just can't hear the gentle, the quiet whisper, the promptings of the Spirit of God. See, I think we just have a hearing problem.
We got to go, you know what? The noise is too loud. I got to turn down the noise. I got to pause and I just got to stop for a second and just actually allow God to speak. And we don't want that because the minute you quiet the noise, then we recognize the ache of our soul.
And God says that's the reason I want to speak to you to meet you and meet the very ache of your soul. But as long as you keep the noise on, you'll never hear from me. First, we just got to say we got a hearing problem. We got to turn down the noise. I think the second is we have selective hearing. We have selective hearing. We actually hear from God what we want, but not really what we need to hear.
I mean, truth be told, we don't really want to hear from God because we're afraid of what God might say, what God might ask. And we're going like, no, it would be nice, but I don't know. I just might have to change my life. I just might have to respond.
I just might have to adjust. And so we have this selective hearing where we really want to hear from Him, but we don't at all. Am I tuned in to the frequency of God? Do I want to be about the business that God's doing in my life and creating space? God will not compete for your attention. Finally, this is the great beautiful truth that I don't know we get in this passage on the first reading.
And I believe this is not just a truth for those of you who are far from God, but this is a truth that needs to sink deeply into our souls for us who are followers of Jesus. God invites you into relationship. God invites you into relationship. Moses goes over to the burning bush and then that's when God calls and He says, Moses, Moses. And I don't know how you read that or how you hear that or what comes into your mind, but the repetition of name feels a little bit like I'm going to get in trouble from my perspective.
If my mom's like, Ryan, Ryan, you know, it's like this escalation, you know, she never really used my middle name. So I just the double name would have been like, hello, you know, and, and yet here's what's so fascinating professor of Old Testament, Douglas Stewart writes this, an ancient Semitic culture addressing someone by saying his or her name twice was a way of expressing endearment. That is the affection and friendship. Thus, Moses would have understood immediately that he was being addressed by someone who loved him and was concerned about him. God invites you into relationship.
Moses is on the far side of the wilderness. And I don't know, I think this may be some of the reason we don't turn down the noise is we're afraid of what God will say. We're afraid of what his first words will be. And he calls them by name. He knows his name. He's like, I know you, Moses.
And I know who I made you to be. By the way, Moses means deliverer. And he's on the far side of the wilderness. He's not deliverer. He's a shepherd right now.
Right. And he says, I see you and I see who you're made to be. And I call that forth. And I call it forth with such affection and love and delight. And I call you into relationship. So I think we're afraid of what God might say. You're no good. How could you have wandered so far? What's wrong with you?
What were you thinking? And God calls out his name, his identity, what's true of him, how he made him and calls them into relationship. God invites you into relationship.
Not into rules. Not into somehow trying to work your way back to God. He says, no, I'm present right now with you in relationship. Moses response was, here am I. Here I am. And that's the posture if we want to hear from God is just simply here I am. And the beautiful part about that is God was saying here I am before Moses ever said here I am. God was present. And today he's saying here I am. And this is an incredible passage of Revelations chapter three. Jesus is talking to the church in Laodicea to followers of Jesus.
This is what Jesus is saying to followers of Jesus. Here I am. I stand at the door and knock.
If anyone hears my voice and opens the door I'll come in and eat with that person and they with me. Here I am. I long to be in relationship.
Not motivated by odds and duties. I long to know you. To walk with you. To be with you. For you to experience my love, my great delight.
For you to stop living out false identities and running and striving after all these things but to have the security that your Heavenly Father knows you and he has called you and he has made you and he's created you. And he says here I am. And he says the minute you begin to respond to that he says I lean in.
In fact in that culture in that day to eat with somebody was the sign of full acceptance. Of friendship. Maybe for the very first time you didn't realize like God wants to have a relationship with you and you'd say here I am and Jesus made the way. He says I'm standing right now I want to have relationship with you and you just go here I am. Jesus would you come into my life and make me new? Would you meet me in this moment? The reality is as many of us we like maybe the Laodiceans and maybe like Moses.
We are in our own wandering in our own place and Jesus is still saying here I am. I'm not down on you. I love you.
I'm for you. Here I am. Well as we close out this series isn't it incredible that Jesus says to us here I am and I think the response for us is simply in return to say here I am and for some you have never stepped into relationship with Jesus. You didn't even know that the God of the universe longs to have a personal relationship with you that it's not about religious duty or all these other kind of rituals or programs but God your Heavenly Father loves you came for you sent his son to die for you. He took on all of your brokenness and my brokenness on the cross and then rose again victorious on the third day that we might have life now and forever more and he says here I am I stand at the door of your heart and I knock if you would let me in into relationship I'll come in forever. And so in this moment if you have yet to begin a personal relationship with Jesus if you've never said here I am right now I want to invite you to say here I am Jesus would you come into my life and make me new. I long to have a personal relationship with you and experience the life that you promise the peace that you bring the hope that is fundamentally in you. And so I just want to give just a simple prayer and now there's nothing magical about this prayer this is just a conversation between you and your Heavenly Father and what we know is as we turn to him he responds immediately to us. And so would you pray with me Heavenly Father today I say here I am I'm tired of doing life my own way I recognize that I have things in me that are broken and hurting and I long for you to come in and to fill that space I believe that you sent your son Jesus for me I believe that you came and took on all of my sin and all of my shame on the cross and I believe that you rose again to new life and today I receive your life in me Jesus would you come into my life and make me new in Jesus name Amen.
Amen. Well if you prayed with Ryan we have a free resource we'd like to put in your hands specifically created for new believers. It's a tool that will help you gain a clear biblical understanding of what it means to become a Christian. Request this free resource by calling us at 888-333-6003 or by visiting livingontheedge.org then clicking the new believers button that's livingontheedge.org or call 888-333-6003. Let us help you get started in your faith journey. Well before we wrap up this program Chip's here with me in studio to share one last thing with all of you.
Chip. Thanks so much Dave. I want to pause just for a minute and if you're a financial partner with Living on the Edge I just want you to hear a message that we received from a lady named Kelly who listens every single day. She said thanks so much for your ministry and daily podcast.
I listen every day. I'm a recovering addict of many things. I grew up in a Christian family and was saved at the age of 17. Shortly after that because of peer pressure in school I started doing drugs. I now have a few years of sobriety and God saved my life and he has totally removed the physical urge to use drugs and alcohol and cigarettes. I've now joined an awesome church that has small groups and Christ has blessed me in recovery meetings. Anyway thanks so much for sharing your life with others. You've made a positive difference in my life. You know Kelly is one of hundreds actually thousands of emails that we get at Living on the Edge. I just call them life change.
Spirit of God took the Word of God and it might have been on a podcast, could have been on the radio, could have been in a small group, could have even been a CD or a book. But God intervenes with their life and something happens that changes the course of their life. And I just want to pause and thank you. You know some of you write a check every month. Some of you have it taken out of your account every month.
Some of you like once a quarter, twice a year. You give to Living on the Edge. I want to remind you what it actually does. It's not about giving money. It's about extending ministry and changing lives. So thank you, thank you, thank you.
And if by chance you're listening and you're thinking you know I've never given to Living on the Edge but I'd like to get in on that. We'll give you a very simple way of how you can join the team and really make a difference. Thanks Chip. Well if this story inspired you and you'd like to become part of our team we'd love to have you join us. Your support helps us reach more people with insightful biblical teaching. To give a gift go to livingontheedge.org or the Chip Ingram map. Or if it's easier you can text donate to 74141.
That's the word donate to 74141. And let me thank you in advance for doing whatever the Lord leads you to do. Well as we close our mission at Living on the Edge is to help Christians live like Christians. And one of the best ways we can continue to do that is through programs like this. So when you hear a message that helps you, pass it on to someone else in your life. Now you can easily do that through the Chip Ingram app or by forwarding them the free MP3s that you'll find at livingontheedge.org. And don't forget to include a note about how it made a difference in your life. Well until next time this is Dave Druey thanking you for listening to this Edition of Living on the Edge.
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