Thursday, July 25, 2019

God-breathed Words

2019 Summer SeriesWhisper: How to Hear the Voice of God by Mark Batterson takes us on a spiritual journey, a journey of how to listen for God and what God can reveal to us. I read this book about a year ago and am re-reading it this summer. As I share some excerpts from his writing, I hope you will be encouraged to read along. - Donna

All Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness. 2 Timothy 3:16

Christians believe the Bible to be the inspired Word of God, the living Word of God. We also believe, “All Scripture is God-breathed.” Batterson says the first language of God is Scripture. He tells us the Bible is “composed by more than forty writers over fifteen centuries in three languages on three continents.” These myriad of authors are “farmers and fishermen and kings” and “poets and prophets, and prisoners of war.” (Whisper, p66)

The prophet Jeremiah writes, “Your words were found, and I ate them, and Your words became to me a joy and the delight of my heart, for I am called by Your name, O LORD, God of hosts. (Jeremiah 15:16 ESV) Batterson talks about consuming and savoring and digesting the Word of God. “The Bible comes alive only when we actively obey it.” (Whisper, p73) Obedience becomes our living out the Scriptures. This is transformation.

When I read the ancient words composed centuries ago, they still touch my soul, enrich my living, convict my spirit, encourage my journey. The Holy Bible is composed of words inspired by God and the revelation of The Word sent by God. The promises of God belong to each believer. God is greater than any questions or doubts we can have; however, we will never be great enough to understand all of God’s answers. Through His Word, God whispers to our hungry, weary souls and our eager, longing hearts. God whispers joy and love as He celebrates with us. God whispers eternal Hope to all who listen. ~dho

Thursday, July 18, 2019

Languages of God

2019 Summer SeriesWhisper: How to Hear the Voice of God by Mark Batterson takes us on a spiritual journey, a journey of how to listen for God and what God can reveal to us. I read this book about a year ago and am re-reading it this summer. As I share some excerpts from his writing, I hope you will be encouraged to read along. - Donna

God spoke to our ancestors... at many times and in various ways. Hebrews 1:1 



God still speaks in “various ways” to those who seek Him, who listen for His Voice. Batterson begins to explore “seven love languages” of God, beginning with “Scripture, the first and final Word. Then... [he explores] six secondary languages: desires, doors, dreams, people, promptings, and pain.” (Whisper, p57) 
“God speaks through divine appointments and divine timing.” (Whisper/Batterson, p59)
At times, God speaks what Batterson calls “sign language” or uses signs and wonders to reveal Himself through Scripture, using angels, visions, dreams, a burning bush, a talking donkey, a gentle whisper to name a few. As we read along, Batterson carefully points out that, “God will never lead us to do something that is contrary to His good, pleasing, and perfect will as revealed in Scripture.” He goes on to remind us, “Scripture gives us guidelines, but the Holy Spirit is our Guide.” (Whisper, p60) 

In listening and learning to listen, we begin to understand God’s way of speaking these “spiritual languages” of love to us. Knowing God is more than gathering academic information. To truly know and follow God, we must gain experiential knowledge. We must develop spiritual discernment. Let us begin to listen in different ways to hear the Voice of God. -dho

Thursday, July 11, 2019

Breathe... Holy Sighs

2019 Summer SeriesWhisper: How to Hear the Voice of God by Mark Batterson takes us on a spiritual journey, a journey of how to listen for God and what God can reveal to us. I read this book about a year ago and am re-reading it this summer. As I share some excerpts from his writing, I hope you will be encouraged to read along. - Donna

Now the earth was formless and empty, darkness was over the surface of the deep, and the Spirit of God was hovering over the waters. Genesis 1:2




In the beginning before creation, we find infinite space, emptiness, and lack of order; yet, even then, the Spirit of God is present. Scripture tells us how God speaks the emptiness into an ordered system, sufficient to sustain life, and then God creates life. Batterson reminds us that God, “still speaks light into darkness... still brings order out of chaos... still makes beauty out of ashes.” (Whisper, p31) Christ is called Immanuel, God with us, and when we embrace the love of Christ and accept His grace of salvation, Christ becomes “God within us”.


“God is as close as the breath we breathe.” (Whisper, p32) 

The human mind cannot begin to measure the infinity of God. His Sovereignty exceeds time and space, being everywhere at all times, without boundaries, without beginning, without ending. His power is greater than any power in the world, above or below the heavens. The Holy Spirit brings us into God’s presence, anoints us with unspeakable holiness, embraces us with perfect love, covers us with unfailing mercies. Holy, Holy, Holy!

This week spend some time thinking about God’s omnipresence, God-everywhere! God cannot be contained or measured, only rejected. Let’s try to listen better to the “God within us” and breathe the holy sighs of His presence. - dho 



In 

Thursday, July 04, 2019

True Freedom

You were called to freedom, brothers and sisters; only don't let this freedom be an opportunity to indulge your selfish impulses, but serve each other through love. All the Law has been fulfilled in a single statement: Love your neighbor as yourself.  Galatians 5:13-14 CEB




Americans celebrate the birthday of our country’s freedom this day, July 4th! Often we use the word freedom as permission to do whatever we want, whatever might satisfy our own personal desires. While it is true, freedom has wide boundaries, this is not the intention of freedom. In the Epistle of James we read about the "royal law found in Scripture" [James 2:8] which reminds "you do well when you really fulfill the royal law found in Scripture, Love your neighbor as yourself." Christians find true freedom in Christ, our liberty from the captivity of sin. This GRACE is for the asking, no strings attached - but the responsibility of such extravagant freedom transforms our hearts. Our focus can no longer be consumed with selfish motivations. Instead, we are to exercise freedom with love for others - upholding this "royal law". This is freedom's opportunity for all!  

In every way, then, speak and act as people who will be judged by the law of freedom. [James 2:12 CEB]

In 4th grade, we learned all four verses to My Country 'Tis of Thee. I can still see them written on the blackboard with white chalk. As we learned each verse, we would sing it. Of course, things were different then. We also said the Pledge of Allegiance every morning; the American flag hung in every class room. Prayer had not yet been removed from public schools, and it was not a crime for a teacher to speak God's name. That same year, we practiced civil defense drills, too. Anyone remember those? We would get under our school desks for the drill. These were practiced in case America was attacked. I smile at the absurdity of thinking this would have kept any of us safe in an attack. Yet, my heart immediately goes to 9-11 when America was attacked! Getting under the desk did not save anyone. If fact, the only way to save America is for its people to live Christ's law of freedom. Don't miss freedom's opportunity! - dho

Our fathers' God to Thee,
Author of liberty,
To Thee we sing.
Long may our land be bright,
With freedom's holy light,
Protect us by Thy might,
Great God our King.*

* the 4th verse to "My Country 'Tis of Thee”