Thursday, August 22, 2019

Divine Appointments

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

Let the word of Christ richly dwell within you, with all wisdom teaching and admonishing one another with psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing with thankfulness in your hearts to God. Colossians 3:16 NASB



Expected and unexpected people, the sign-post people God allows to cross our paths, influence our journey. From parents to adults-like-parents, siblings to friends of siblings, school teachers and Sunday School teachers, friends and almost-friends, either brief or lasting, historical or current, God uses these encounters to speak to our lives. Batterson calls this “the fifth love language of God... people.” (Whisper/ p132)

 God speaks regularly to us through the people who speak to us about the things of God. Henri Nouwen, Discernment

How frequently we forget or dismiss or overlook our many God-appointments; these are the people God sends with words of encouragement, applause for effort, signposts pointing to truth, reminders of His presence, hugs for tears. In Whisper, Mark Batterson writes, “Part of the genius of Jesus was His ability to see potential in unlikely places and unlikely people.” (Whisper/ p140)

Sign-post people offer new perspectives, ask different questions, and suggest other options. Sometimes they bring opportunities for us, like a chance to give more, to step outside ourselves, to sense another's loneliness, to hear a deeper need, to respond like Christ. God embraces us with love and encouragement but also has designed us for purpose - His purpose. God asks us to take our God-given talents, to reach out into the world, to share Jesus. 

Whether the sign-post marks the way with a stranger or friend, lasts for a season or a lifetime, comes full of mystery or simply as a reminder, God is speaking to you and me. Could it be a completely new direction, a familiar path with a new attitude, a change of location, a closer connection within a current community, a new passion, or renewed passion? "No one is in your life by accident; everyone is there by divine appointment.” (Whisper/ p142) Are we listening? Let's not miss our sign-post people! ~dho

Thursday, August 15, 2019

Dream Giver

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


May God himself, the God who makes everything holy and whole, make you holy and whole, put you together—spirit, soul, and body—and keep you fit for the coming of our Master, Jesus Christ. The One who called you is completely dependable. If he said it, he’ll do it! 1Thessalonians 5:23-24 MSG


In Whisper Mark Batterson continues his discussion of the languages of God saying, “The language of dreams is the fourth love language” of God, calling Him the “Dream Giver”. (Whisper/p 117) Scripture gives us many examples of God speaking through dreams, and Batterson lists several in his book. In discussing dreams, he tells us that God “speaks through memories of the past and dreams of the future”. (Whisper/p 118) It is important for us to remember, “The dreams God gives us are for us, but they’re never for just us; they are for everyone who will be affected by and inspired by them.” (Whisper/p 120) 

Scripture is the primary voice of God to us, and Batterson cautions us, “A God-given dream won’t take you beyond the boundaries of Scripture, but it will stretch you to do things you didn’t know you were capable of even attempting.” (Whisper/p 124) We often ignore or overlook this way that God speaks to us, prompts us, and leads us. While accomplishing great things for God’s glory Is important, Batterson reminds us, “The primary goal is who you become in the process.” (Whisper/p 127) Scripture tells us that however God speaks to us and whatever questions or doubts constrain us, God calls us into His holy service, and He remains “completely dependable”. -dho



Thursday, August 08, 2019

God’s Doors

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

“See, I have placed before you an open door...” Revelation 3:8



In Whisper, Batterson writes about “doors” being ways that the Holy Spirit can help us discern Scripture and circumstances. We know that Scripture is the inspired word of God, that Jesus is the Word incarnated, born to walk on earth, both man and divine. Jesus calls Himself “the door” or the gate to eternal life. Batterson tells his readers that “God speaks through circumstances.” (Whisper, p98) These doors, open or closed, can be signs to those seeking God’s way.


Scripture gives various examples of “open doors” such as the Israelites escape from Egypt and the parting of the Red Sea. By stepping out in faith and obedience, God provides. Another example is when Paul is blocked from taking the Gospel message to Bithynia; instead, God re-routes him through Macedonia. God closes some doors and opens others. While knowing the mind of God and the reasons He chooses is something we cannot explain, we can be certain that God is power and peace, protection and provision.

God closes doors to protect us.
God closes doors to redirect us.
God closes doors to keep us from less than His best. - Batterson/Whisper, p 107

God constantly provides and empowers the Believer who seeks His way. Often, we are cavalier in calling these circumstances a coincidence or luck, but God has divine appointments for each of us. When we are called to a new purpose, God allows us to be “released from” our present task. In longing for reconciliation with us, the sovereignty of God permanently opens the door to eternal life through Jesus. “God reveals His sovereignty... by opening and closing doors.” (Whisper, p 104) Listen for God’s whisper because He is speaking - to you and to me. -dho






Thursday, August 01, 2019

God’s Desires for Us

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

“Delight yourself in the Lord; and He will give you the desires of your heart.” Psalm 37:4

In our seeking God and searching for a deeper relationship, we find that our desire to know Him more grows. Scripture encourages us, convicts us. While Scripture defines grace and describes joy and directs obedience, the Holy Spirit opens our hearts to God’s heart, teaching us to delight in God. In this way, God can give us His desires - some new, some newly discovered.
“We sacrifice our desires on the altar of other people’s expectations.” Batterson/Whisper, p82
Batterson gives us some “caution signs” to watch for, such as ego, wrong reasons, emotions, the source of our desires, and emotional intelligence. In discerning God’s “desires” we must be careful of our pride, idols, and reactions. We must keep God first and seek the things He desires for us.

Desire is a language of God. We settle for good enough or better when God desires for us His best. By divine design, each person is uniquely created by God; yet, we try to re-create ourselves with personal efforts to reach personal goals we set for ourselves. Batterson writes, “God-given gifts are what we’re best at. God-ordained desires are what we are most passionate about.” Whisper, p83 Ask yourself, “Who do I desire to serve?” 
-dho