Friends! I pray today finds you well and that perhaps you’re getting to experience a beautiful spring day. It’s been a wild-n-crazy week in the Hoagland Household. (Translation: Not enough hours in the day.)
I found a post on a most helpful and interesting book by Bill Hybels which I wrote about a while ago, worthy of a reprise. Please enjoy.
Next week, I’ve got a fun, new devotional to share with you. It will lift your spirits every day.
May you have a blessed week and hear from the Holy Spirit thanks to Bill’s great thoughts…
Ahhhh…Motherhood…. A time when you finally admit, “Never say never!”
How ‘bout a for instance?
“I’ll never be one of those Mothers who chucks a pop tart in the back seat to my child on the way to school.” Busted.
“I’ll never plunk my child down in front of a TV and let him/her sit for hours.” Busted.
“I”ll never scream and yell like a possessed person at my child.” Yeah, right.
To this day, our boys’ favorite seemingly-possessed-style-of-parenting was me shouting “May Day! May Day!” at the top of my lungs when something really went awry. As if “the troops” knew I was waving a major white flag?
After years of experimentation (!!!), probably the biggest attention grabber in my mothering was lowering my voice, in a do-or-die whisper. Whispering won out way over yelling. Greatest fear factor: Whispering “Don’t Make Me Come In There!”
So what exactly do you do when someone’s whispering to you? You sit still, ears at attention, and you listen.
This week I’d like to share some highlights from an intense book by Bill Hybels: The Power of a Whisper: Hearing God, Having the Guts to Respond. It had me from its’ title…
Not such a gutsy gal, I prayed this book would give me some gargantuan guts. (I s’pose “Guts for God” sounds better…)
Allow me to share the wealth:
Bill begins with informing us he’s been on a fifty-year odyssey of hearing whispers from God. Bill expounds: “Inaudible whispers at that!…My entire journey comes down to a series of unplanned promptings from heaven that have charted a course for my life even I never could have foreseen.”
Sound crazy? Perhaps. But…to encounter Bills’ experiences all over the world immediately hooks and leads us, the readers, to want to learn to listen expectantly and prayerfully.
After citing Samuel’s story, how he became a prophet of God from listening to God in I Samuel 3, Bill shares a poem one of his teachers gave him which he memorized in the second grade:
“Oh! Give me Samuel’s ear,
An open ear, O Lord,
Alive and quick to hear
Each whisper of Thy Word;
Like him to answer to Thy call
And to obey Thee first of all.” (A hymn by James Drummond Burns)
Titus 3:5 returned to Bills’ memory when he surrendered his life to Christ: “He saved us, not because of righteous things we had done, but because of his mercy. He saved us through the washing of rebirth and renewal of the Holy Spirit.” (NIV)
Soon after that, a Christian man offered to buy Bill dinner. Over burgers, the man asked him a show-stopping question: “What are you going to do with your life that will last forever?…I’m just curious what you’ll do that will outlive you and all of those earthly accomplishments.”
Oh boy…that’ll make you think, huh? My husband, John, is always saying upon his death, he just hopes he’s missed. Not remembered so much for what he did, but because if you are missed, you have touched others’ lives.
We are forever and a day laughing at obituaries that rattle on and on and on filled with clubs and organizations people belonged to as if a resume is needed…for heaven? I don’t think so.
Bill also reminds us of Romans 8:6 “For to set the mind on the flesh is death, but to set the mind on the Spirit is life and peace.” (ESV)
Billy Graham, in his book Day by Day, tells us what the Holy Spirit does for us: “The Holy Spirit illuminates the minds of people, makes us yearn for God, and takes spiritual truth and makes it understandable to us.”
Billy’s daughter, Anne Graham Lotz, in a recent Decision Magazine said “Learning to recognize the voice of God is critical, not only for our own peace of mind but also for developing a personal relationship with Him and for living a life pleasing to Him.” There’s the peace found from Romans 8:6.
Well how exactly do we hear from the Spirit? Bill gives us five filters to help us test every whisper we receive. He says, “No matter how confusing, challenging, or unsettling a prompting may be, if it passes the following filters, I obey it every time:
Filter #1: Is the Prompting Truly from God?
Filter #2: Is it Scriptural?
Filter #3: Is it Wise?
Filter #4: Is It in Tune with Your Own Character?
Filter #5: What do the People You Most Trust Think About it?”
The best way to learn more about these, in addition to the book, is to watch the below YouTube clip where Bill talks about this whole concept and explains the filters. It’s only eighteen minutes long. The testimony included will bring you to tears.
Stormie Omartian, in her book Lead Me Holy Spirit affirms the concept of being rooted in our faith: “The Holy Spirit is the power of God flowing through you, and that puts you on solid ground, like a house built on rock.”
Last week we talked about how we want to become rooted like redwoods. All of these authors we’ve heard from today are textbook examples of Colossians 2:6-7: “My counsel for you is simple and straightforward: Just go ahead with what you’ve been given. You received Christ Jesus, the Master; now live him. You’re deeply rooted in him. You’re well constructed upon him. You know your way around the faith. Now do what you’ve been taught. School’s out; quit studying the subject and start living it! And let your living spill over into thanksgiving.” (The Message) Don’t miss those last two crucial sentences!
Look at how The Voice puts it in verse seven: “Let your roots grow down deeply in Him, and let Him build you up on a firm foundation. Be strong in the faith, just as you were taught, and always spill over with thankfulness.”
May it be with us…
‘Til next time!