Part II – See Part 1 for the first three points.
- God speaks to us today through praise and worship.
I cannot count the number of times I have “heard” God speaking to me through times of worship, either on my own, or during a church service.
One of the saddest things for me is to see how worship has become “sing a few songs” in many church services. The worship should be the highlight of the service. (Isn’t that why we call it a “worship service”?)
During times of trial or depression, I have been blessed by the words and the atmosphere of a song of praise or worship, and I have known God’s peace sweep over me. Sometimes a song of praise has the effect of saying, “Hey! My God is an awesome God! Why am I afraid?”
In 2 Chronicles 20:21, King Jehoshaphat faced a huge army of formidable enemies. Instead of following typical battle protocol, he sent in a choir of praise singers:
“Jehoshaphat appointed men to sing to the LORD and to praise him for the splendor of his holiness as they went out at the head of the army, saying: ‘Give thanks to the LORD, for his love endures forever’”
And God won the battle for him—through praise. When we neglect our praise and worship of God, we cut off a major area where He wants to speak to us. One way to sing true worship songs is to personalize the words. Sing them to God—and allow Him to speak back to you. Instead of, “He is Lord . . .” sing “You’re my Lord . . .” and mean the words. You’ll be amazed the difference it makes.
During radiation treatment for cancer, I sang the words, “Wherever I am, I’ll praise Him . . .” but I sang them to Him. Later in the song, the words “His love surrounds me like a sea,” became, “Your love surrounds me like a sea.” I could almost hear the waves lapping as I knew God’s love was all around me.
- God speaks to us today through nature
During cancer treatment, when I looked and felt a real wreck of a person, God spoke to me through the hidden beauty of a drab brown moth with a splash of gold under his wings. I realized that my outward appearance was not what mattered. It was the splash of gold that God had placed within me, yet to be revealed.
He showed me the arid desert with no flowers and reminded me that when the Spring rains came, the desert would blossom. “You too will have life again,” I sensed Him assure me.
Some months later, I watched a tiny ant carrying a heavy burden, racing to his unseen nest in the ground. The wind kept blowing him off course—but each time he picked up his precious parcel and got back on track. I sense God say to me, “You must learn from that ant. Don’t give up. Keep on moving forward, and you’ll get there.”
- God speaks to us today through others.
God may use a loved one or a casual friend, a preacher on the radio or one of our children, to pass on a message.
I cannot count how many times someone has said something to me and I’ve stopped in my tracks. It has been just what I needed to hear. It might not be what I wanted to hear—but I knew the words were from the Lord. Always, but always, they had to agree with God’s Word.
Does it seem strange that God may speak through the mouth of a five-year-old? He spoke through a donkey once (Numbers 22:28). So why can’t He speak through our friends or other Christians?
“I can’t understand why I have to tell you this, but I just feel I do . . .” often precedes the comments. They are not what the person thinks I need to hear. They often don’t understand why they’re saying the words, but they’re exactly what I know God wanted me to hear.
We once attended a meeting in a large auditorium. The speaker didn’t know us, and we never met. Half way through the meeting, he pointed towards the back to the hall, directly at us, and said, “God wants you to know that . . .” and proceeded to speak for several minutes!
Once I got over the shock that this was for real, I knew what the man was saying was from God. Why? Because he quoted things we had said to one another before the meeting, while sitting in the car park in the rain with the windows wound up. He spoke of things he could not possibly have known. The only ones that knew these things were Rob and I–and God. (And now the entire audience of several hundred people.) He went on to say some precious things to us, things we knew could only be coming from God. That has only happened once to me—but it was enough to prove to me that God does speak to His children today!
- God speaks to us today through our circumstances.
- God used the circumstances of plagues to convince Pharaoh to let God’s people free.
- God used the circumstances of a blind beggar to teach the disciples a valuable lesson.
- God used an irate Queen Jezebel to chase the prophet Elijah into the desert, where he would hear God once again.
- Jesus used everyday scenes and circumstances around him to teach parables about God’s Kingdom.
- And God used the circumstances of cancer to speak to me—over and over again.
One of the first things I’ve learned to do when I find myself in unusual or difficult circumstances is to ask, “God, what are you saying here?” Once again—never forget this. Whatever God appears to be saying to you through your circumstances, it will always be in line with the words of Scripture.
Read on . . . for Part III