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Archive for June 20th, 2010

The Challenges of Discipleship: Hearing God’s Voice … And Obeying it.

Hearing-Gods-Voice

If Anyone Hears my Voice ...

“He who is of God hears God’s words;” (John 8:47)

‘Behold, I stand at the door and knock; if anyone hears My voice and opens the door, I will come in to him, and will dine with him, and he with Me. (Rev.:3:20)

From the Gospel of John Chapter 10 we also read …

[4]   When he has brought out all his own, he goes ahead of them, and the sheep   follow him because they know his voice.

[5]     They will not follow a stranger, but they will run from him because they do not know the voice of strangers.”

[14-15]   I am the good shepherd. I know my own and my own know me, just as the Father knows me and I know the Father. And I lay down my life for the sheep.

[27]    My sheep hear my voice. I know them, and they follow me.


My Dear Brothers and Sisters in Christ,

Perhaps the key characteristic of one who is a disciple to Christ is obedience, the Obedience of Love.  This level of obedience is an obedience that is not only given willingly but out of a sincere, self-denying, love for Christ. Such and obedience may only be derived through an intimate personal relationship with the Master, a relationship where our ability to listen to His word and His teaching is essential. For without an ability to clearly discern His voice we cannot faithfully follow His specific instructions for our lives.

It is unfortunate that most of us Christians, though sincerely desiring to respond to the call of discipleship that is placed on all who believe, are seriously hampered from fulfilling our call because we lack the spiritual discernment needed to hear the Voice of God, be it the Father, the Son or the Holy Spirit. Instead, we blindly stumble along life’s way using our human instincts and human guidance to guide us in what we hope is a walk that is pleasing to the master.

Of, course we have the Word of God and Church tradition to keep us from totally going out of bounds in general, but the specific guidance for our lives requires that those general guidelines be interpreted and directed to the specifics of each person’s life. This level of discernment may only be achieved through a personal revelation of the Holy Spirit that clearly tells us what the Lord is saying to us personally, regarding the conduct of our lives for His Glory.

The Lord may speak to us in any manner of ways, such as through prayer, praise and worship, prophecy, visions, dreams, spiritual direction, friends, relationships, circumstances, and of course, the Word of God. Of course, because we are humans and always susceptible to deception, we must, as St. John tells us, test every spirit to truly discern the voice of the Lord in all of these ways (see 1 Jn. 4:1).

One of the ancient traditions that helps in the discernment of  God’s voice speaking to us personally through the Word of God is that of “Lectio Divina” (click HERE to go to that section).

A more recent approach in listening to the Spirit of the Lord, is that expressed through prayer in His Word and community chanting as exemplified by the Taize Prayer Community (click HERE to go to that section).

The Baptism in the Holy Spirit, is, of course, essential if we are to activate the spiritual gifts needed to open our spiritual ears (click HERE to go to the section on Pentecost and the Promise of the Faher).

Other Resources on Hearing God’s Voice in Relation to Discipleship

In order to provide you with some affirming resources I have compiled a several articles and links that will provide you further insight and instruction to assist you in your quest  for “Hearing God’s Voice .. and Obeying it”!

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Discerning Your Ministry

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The following was written by Renée Miller

(as excerpted from: http://www.explorefaith.org/tools/signposts/2010/jun_19.php)

And Samuel said, “Has the Lord as great delight in burnt offering and sacrifices, as in obedience to the voice of the Lord?”
—1 Samuel 15:22

For nearly all of history, it seems, humans have believed that pacification of some kind is required to quell God’s divine anger. In biblical times, burnt offerings and sacrifices were thought to appease the wrath of the Holy One.

The sacrifices and offerings were motivated more by a desire to avoid God’s anger than as a symbol of gratitude and love. It is as if we do not really trust in the Holy One’s love for us, and we must somehow win that love through acts of offering.

In truth, the heart of God seeks nothing more from us than a relationship of love. The root of the word obedience comes from the French word audience and, loosely translated, means being near enough to hear. God does not demand works nor sacrifices that fulfill some human-made law.

What God wants is for us to be near enough to hear—near enough to listen to what the Holy One has to say—so near that our heart can absorb the words of God and act on them. Can you imagine how your relationship to and with God would change if you stopped trying to please a capricious and potentially angry deity, and chose rather to come close enough to the heart of God to hear the words of life?

O God, when my fear of you, or my own guilt, leads me to try to appease you with gifts, let me hear the soft whisper of your call simply to come into your presence.

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The following was written By Oswald Chambers

( as excerpted from: http://utmost.org/ )

. . do you love Me? . . . Tend My sheepJohn 21:16

Jesus did not say to make converts to your way of thinking, but He said to look after His sheep, to see that they get nourished in the knowledge of Him. We consider what we do in the way of Christian work as service, yet Jesus Christ calls service to be what we are to Him, not what we do for Him. Discipleship is based solely on devotion to Jesus Christ, not on following after a particular belief or doctrine. “If anyone comes to Me and does not hate . . . , he cannot be My disciple”Luke 14:26 ). In this verse, there is no argument and no pressure from Jesus to follow Him; He is simply saying, in effect, “If you want to be My disciple, you must be devoted solely to Me.” A person touched by the Spirit of God suddenly says, “Now I see who Jesus is!”— that is the source of devotion.

Today we have substituted doctrinal belief for personal belief, and that is why so many people are devoted to causes and so few are devoted to Jesus Christ. People do not really want to be devoted to Jesus, but only to the cause He started. Jesus Christ is deeply offensive to the educated minds of today, to those who only want Him to be their Friend, and who are unwilling to accept Him in any other way. Our Lord’s primary obedience was to the will of His Father, not to the needs of people— the saving of people was the natural outcome of His obedience to the Father. If I am devoted solely to the cause of humanity, I will soon be exhausted and come to the point where my love will waver and stumble. But if I love Jesus Christ personally and passionately, I can serve humanity, even though people may treat me like a “doormat.” The secret of a disciple’s life is devotion to Jesus Christ, and the characteristic of that life is its seeming insignificance and its meekness. Yet it is like a grain of wheat that “falls into the ground and dies”— it will spring up and change the entire landscapeJohn 12:24 ).

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The following are some relevant links that will provide more detailed instruction on Hearing God’s voice:

http://www.kyria.com/topics/spiritualformation/biblestudyanddevotions/15.30.html

http://www.seekgod.org/message/hearinggod.html

http://www.acts17-11.com/hearing.html

http://www.allaboutprayer.org/hearing-gods-voice.htm

http://www.cbn.com/spirituallife/biblestudyandtheology/Discipleship/CVB_Seven_Keys_Hearing_God.aspx

http://www.cwgministries.org/Four-Keys-to-Hearing-Gods-Voice.htm

http://www.thewhisperwall.com/whisper-wall

http://caprisgarden.wordpress.com/in-the-garden/

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Other related articles or posts :

My Testimony

Enter in By the Narrow gate

The Double Portion Anointing

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May the Holy Spirit Guide you in your desire to draw closer to Him in true discipleship!

Your Brother in Christ  ….  Bartimaeus

© B.R.Timeo and Bartimaeus’ Quiet Place, [2008-2010]

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