The Voice of God tells a story, the story of your life. He whispers your name for you to hear, he dances over you when you are unaware, he sings your name and delights in you. He loves you dearly.
He wants to spend time with you just like a parent wants to talk on the phone. Spend a few minutes thanking him and loving on him and then listen closely. At first you may not hear him, he may seem far away, but He is right there waiting on you to be very quiet and listening. When he has your attention, you will hear him.
I have many conversations with Him, but I have to remember to STOP talking and listen. That still small voice is there.
When I was in church ministry, God ran the ministry through me by speaking to me. I would spend the month of July asking Him what He wanted to teach the kids for the year, I would talk to him in the wee mornings and the late afternoons and throughout the day as I would walk through the church. Somebody had to have thought I had lost it. Sometimes it was immediate responses and sometimes it took the entire month or even into August to get clarification. Sometimes it wasn't for the whole year, but rather a Theme for the year. The first year I worked in Children's ministry at this one church, the theme was obedience. So we looked at every story from the obedience lens. That year I received a traffic ticket for not obeying a sign that said NO U-TURN, I did it anyway. When the cop pulled me over, I laughed so loud and hysterically he had to have thought I was nuts. I explained that I was disobedient and I knew I deserved the ticket but now I would have to admit this to my Sunday school group and leaders that I was disobedient. He said I don't think you have to go that far, I said, yes I do because it was the right lesson for the right time. And I did too. After we were done with our worship and as our lesson sermon time, I admitted what I did wrong and what would you do if you disobeyed and got in trouble for it. Would you be thankful that you were caught so you would learn or would you continue to do the wrong thing even if you got into trouble for it? About this time of the year we were making our way to our Christmas lesson which we started at Advent time. We talked about how obedience was key to the story we were studying.
You see, we did what is called "Rotation" Sunday school. You take a lesson from the Bible and study it for 4-6 weeks, sometimes if it is a really hard lesson to learn and you want to get it in good, going 7 weeks was not uncommon. I love this approach to learning because you get the opportunity to learn the same lesson for a length of time and you remember it at great detail. I know them more today than I even did growing up. We had 6- 8 rooms depending on the lesson, I had a leader or two for each room. We had a Kitchen, so they cooked a snack or drink from that time. We had a Drama room and our drama teacher was amazing! We had a story room, where they read the stories; a Bible room where they read the Bible story and drew it out, an Art room for the project of the lesson, and a Music Room where they learned music and the music of the time and what it meant. We had at one time a computer room and a movie theater room. The Computer room had games that corresponded with the lesson, yes they have them and they are pretty inexpensive. Our movie theater showed the movies that went with it as well. When I started working here, this was a requirement and had been started from a previous Director. Much was spent on each room and the uniqueness of it, but when we did a rebuild, it was still there, just not as grand as it had been. To this day, six years later, I remember each rotation, story, lesson we dug into and it thrills me still.
We also used Bible Study for All Ages and it's awesome. It's a homeschooling curriculum that takes you though different books of the Bible, at the end of your reading that lesson it asks questions and has a coloring or question/color sheet to go along with it along with a time line to see where it placed in History. We used this for our 2nd service Bible class and our Rotation Bible class. We covered a lot of ground in this as well.
Listening to the Lord to make that transition smooth and easy was difficult at best, but along this journey it worked well. I listen more now than ever and I always, always get an answer. Sometimes that answer might not come for a while but rest assured it will be.
I love when the Lord leads and I follow. I love chasing after him at times when I really want to know the answers. I love to just sit still and listen to His voice in my ear. He delights in us! He loves to speak to us! He loves us! He desires us!
I didn't get into church ministries to be a voice crying out in the wilderness for myself, but because that is where the Lord placed me both times. In the Azores, it was to restart Awana. It was amazing, hard, petrifying, glorious, and wonderful. At the church, Steve prayed in the car during the interviews. It was the Lord who opened the door. It was hard to learn the rules to play by, it was hard to learn the ways of the church, but it was even harder still to listen to what the Lord wanted. It took six months of listening to the Lord and observing what the changes needed to be. I prayed out a leader because she was nasty and mean. My hope is the children's lives and leaders lives that God opened were changed forever. My hope is nothing less than God's absolute best for all.
It was an amazing journey of faith, hope, love, patience, joy, long suffering, peace, honor and more.
Here is another Oswald Chambers Devotion and it fits right into this conversation.
Are You Listening to God?
Am I constantly humiliating God by ignoring Him, while He lovingly continues to treat me as His child? Once I finally do hear Him, the humiliation I have heaped on Him returns to me. My response then becomes, “Lord, why was I so insensitive and obstinate?” This is always the result once we hear God. But our real delight in finally hearing Him is tempered with the shame we feel for having taken so long to do so.
So Send I You
Here is a second one that was very apropos for this day as well.
A devotion of Hearing.
Samuel answered, "Speak, for Your servant hears." —1 Samuel 3:10
The goal of my spiritual life is such close identification with Jesus Christ that I will always hear God and know that God always hears me (see John 11:41). If I am united with Jesus Christ, I hear God all the time through the devotion of hearing. A flower, a tree, or a servant of God may convey God’s message to me. What hinders me from hearing is my attention to other things. It is not that I don’t want to hear God, but I am not devoted in the right areas of my life. I am devoted to things and even to service and my own convictions. God may say whatever He wants, but I just don’t hear Him. The attitude of a child of God should always be, “Speak, for Your servant hears.” If I have not developed and nurtured this devotion of hearing, I can only hear God’s voice at certain times. At other times I become deaf to Him because my attention is to other things— things which I think I must do. This is not living the life of a child of God. Have you heard God’s voice today?