Hearing God

My sheep hear my voice, and I know them, and they follow me.
John 10:27 ESV

So faith comes from hearing, and hearing through the word of Christ.
Romans 10:17 ESV

“Don’t say things. What you are stands over you the while, and thunders so that I cannot hear what you say to the contrary.”
From an essay titled, “Social Aims” by Ralph Waldo Emerson published in 1875.

Communication. It’s not so easy, is it? And we live in a time when communication is seemingly effortless. Unless the person we wish to speak with is located somewhere one of the many technologies dedicated to communication is not available, we are often able to connect almost instantly. Any time we want. Not that long ago, within the perspective of human history, one had to wait weeks or even months for a letter to find its recipient. I’m guessing letter writers were pretty careful with their words. Now, we live in a sea of words. Print media has virtually ceded power and influence to television and the internet. Vigilance over what we read and what we listen to is more important than ever. Who we listen to and believe and our responsibility to do our own due diligence is more critical than ever.

The two scriptures shown here at the top reveal aspects of God talking to us. One of the primary ways we are able to hear God is through scripture. The Bible we rely on to hear God remains remarkably unchanged. It is truly a miracle that it has stayed intact over the centuries. It’s clear God has kept a hedge of protection around his word. However, contrast those scriptures with the quote from Emerson. A Google search will reveal multiple versions of the original words, some differing so as to seem like the results of a game of telephone. Some of my favorite quotes are attributed to Winston Churchill. Unfortunately, there are a few that can’t be accurately sourced to the famed British leader, though they are repeated often.

So, we rely on scripture to hear God. Also, we rely on prayer. And part of prayer is listening. Being quiet. Finding a gentle river apart from the thundering sea of words and other sounds we are bombarded with every day. If sleep is a way for our body and mind to repair itself, surely prayer is a way to repair our spirit and hear God. Finally, we come to fellowship. God has designed us to be social beings, even for those of us who prefer solitude over crowds, there is a need to speak and be spoken to. God made us for community, where there is learning, sharing, and yes, healing, to be found.

I search for the hearing of you,
with every sense with which I was born.
I cry for the knowing of you,
and pray for the knowing to never be torn.
Teach me to gather every way
I can be with you.
Help me collect them,
as gifts beyond value.
Though the world may thunder away,
let me yet hear your whisper today,
the precious treasure,
the hearing of you.


© Joel Tipple 7/13/2019



On Empty

(Just because we feel empty, that doesn’t mean we are)

For this reason, I kneel before the Father,  from whom every family in heaven and on earth derives its name.  I pray that out of his glorious riches he may strengthen you with power through his Spirit in your inner being, so that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith. And I pray that you, being rooted and established in love, may have power, together with all the Lord’s holy people, to grasp how wide and long and high and deep is the love of Christ, and to know this love that surpasses knowledge—that you may be filled to the measure of all the fullness of God.
Ephesians 3:14-19 NIV

If you’ve driven for long, chances are you’ve discovered that the empty mark on your vehicle’s gas gauge isn’t always an accurate indicator of how far you can actually go before you run out. There is usually some reserve left in your tank. Again, that amount will vary, and it’s always a good practice to fill up sooner rather than later.

Yesterday, I found myself discouraged. Some setbacks, together with a lack of sleep, combined to put me in a funk. I reached out to God and asked Him to throw me a lifeline… an auxiliary tank, so to speak. “God, I need you,” I said.  I don’t know about you, but sometimes, when I’m feeling that way, it’s a little like I’ve failed. “Here I am again, Lord, unable to handle this on my own. What’s wrong with me?” Admitting you need help is not a sign of weakness though, it’s a necessary part of a healthy relationship with the Lord. Just as we long to be there for our children, God longs to be there for us.

From the depths of my discouragement,
from the place where I have need,
from my lack of resource,
fill me up.

I’ve nothing to repay you God,
but I’ll go where you say.
Just teach me to listen to your voice.
Then the next time I journey,
and I’m planning for the miles,
let your direction be my first
and not my second choice.

© Joel Tipple 10/23/2018