Thursday, 12 February 2015

Hearing God's Voice

Something that has been constantly weighing heavy on my mind as I continue to discern my next steps is... what does it mean to hear His voice? 

You hear the phrase being thrown around constantly within the church. "God told me..." "I heard Him say..." And it's not that I doubt their real experiences and convictions, but I really have been quite at a loss to understanding what they really mean when they say they heard from God.

Is it an audible voice? Is it something that pops out at you while reading scripture? Is it a sermon that you hear that particularly moves your heart?

Because I'll be honest with you... for the many years that have gone by, the way that I have made decisions really have come down to trusting a gut feeling. I pride myself in being quite a skilled intuitor... and have thus naturally put my faith in it when I'm at a crossroad. I guess you could say (and I'm sure I've used this reasoning each time) that God can speak to you even through that gut feeling. Maybe that heart tug in one particular direction is actually the work of the Holy Spirit?

I honestly can't be sure. Because it seems that at the end of the day... if you still haven't explicitly "heard" anything, you have to take action in some way. Perhaps... what I'm trying to get at is that listening to God may actually be a lot more of an active experience than a more passive... sit and just wait for a revelation type of experience. For example.. weighing out the pros and cons and practically deciding on something based on the fact that there arent any huge red flags waving before you. God is a practical God too, ain't he?

But on the other hand I question whether a decision should be made at all if God doesnt speak clearly. Perhaps his silence is a sign that you simply need to wait until he calls you to another place of obedience... a better option?

Sigh. As you can clearly tell...I am confused. So I have been scouring scripture and the net (bc that feels loke the next best resource to the bible.. lol sketch) for answers.

I started in 1 Kings 19:11-13... where God appears to Elijah in a "still small voice"... he doesn't always necessarily come in a roaring windstorm, nor in an earthquake, or fire. He speaks in gentle whispers.

Question is... what is that gentle whisper?!

More explorations on this next time!

Tuesday, 10 February 2015

God's Promises

" 'No weapon that is formed against you will prosper; and every tongue that accuses you in judgment you will condemn. This is the heritage of the servants of the LORD, and their vindication is from Me,' declares the LORD." - Isaiah 54:17 

A much needed reassurance from the Word. 

To accompany it, the soothing vocals and powerful back-up choir of Fred Hammond: 

Wednesday, 4 February 2015

Where is My Egypt?

The story in Numbers 13-14 is of the twelve men from each tribe that went to scout out the Promised Land to see what was available for them there. When they come back to report what they saw, they described an overflowing fruitfulness and abundance in the land, but also described the powerful men in fortified cities that inhabited it. As these men gave up hope of conquering the land and conceded to defeat with their tails between their legs, the Israelite people were enraged and wished they had never left Egypt - the place where they were enslaved and had toiled under the sun day in and day out.

"Wouldn't it be better for us to go back to Egypt? We should choose a leader and go back to Egypt."

But, Caleb and Joshua refused to give up. They knew what kind of God was on their side. A God who would never make promises to His beloved children only to break them. They knew of a God who desires to give His children good gifts. They knew that though it was, conceivably, the more difficult path to take... it was on that path that their Lord would fight for them.

"Only do not rebel against the LORD. And do not be afraid of the people of the land, because we will devour them. Their protection is gone, but the LORD is with us. Do not be afraid of them."

Their conviction is so sure and so bold. There is not even a hint of doubt in their speech.

So, why do I share this story?

In this season of discernment and tough decision-making, I've come to realize, through this story, what I need to be considering in my heart. As of right now, there are two options:

1. To stay in Toronto and meet the needs of people seeking God here (at church, with the KCF community, with the urban poor in Toronto, in a hospital as a nurse, etc).

2. To leave Toronto to do an intensive discipleship training internship serving the urban poor in East Vancouver and for two months in India.

The option that is "my Egypt" is the one that will enslave me. But right now, of the two options, it still isn't clear which it is.

The way I see it, in Toronto, I could be enslaved by comfort, stability, and familiarity of being with family and old friends, a stable income, and the city I grew up in. I could be enslaved by the thought that if I leave, the things I leave behind will start to break down and crumble without me... instead of trusting that God will provide.

In Vancouver, I could be enslaved by the thrill of running away from my obligations at home to find a job, to become a responsible financially stable adult to escape to a new and unfamiliar place.

They sound contradictory... but right now in my heart, both of these are very possible.

A friend recently told me... that what was important above all else is to choose what would cause me to be the most dependant on God. Which scenario would you be falling to your knees more in desperation of God's goodness and grace in my life? Which choice would make me fall deeper in love and deeper in my dependence of my Saviour and Lord?

I don't want to remain in Egypt. I don't want to rebel against Him. I want to trust with all my heart, as Caleb and Joshua did, that the LORD is with me. So, I wait. For the overwhelming peace that I am sure will come when he answers.

Tuesday, 3 February 2015

Now 23, I wanna be...

My 22nd year was an absolute blast. It had its bumps and ditches along the way but getting over them and climbing out of them was all worth it.

I conquered many fears, and overcame many doubts.

I climbed to the top of both literal and figurative mountains and inhaled the dizzying breath of fresh air as I looked down and laughed in the face of the uphill battle.

I learned what it means to love. What it means to trust. What it means to look past flaws and mistakes and hold onto and cherish the gems within... and never let go.

I vowed to stop running away. To plant my feet firmly and face the giants that stand before me.

I became graciously aware of my worth...  that I was someone that could be loved, could be pursued - rendering a most unfamiliar confidence that bolsters my gait and brings my heart so much peace.

So what of 23?
It's time to really put into practice what I've come to understand so deeply during 22. To look into the distance and map out the Mount Everests that still dot the landscape... while clinging to Jesus and counting on Him for every breath that I breathe, every step forward that I take. Firmly believing that in Him, my soul is most free, most complete, most satisfied.