Sunday

5 Ways to Know God's Speaking to You




Does God still speak to people? If so, how can we know it's Him speaking?

The concept of hearing messages from God sounds like a topic for an alternate reality television show, but in truth, it’s a very biblical concept. 

From the beginning of creation God has spoken to his people. In the early days, before the canon of Scripture, he spoke to believers in several ways: through his audible spoken word (Gen. 6:13), through angelic messengers (Dan. Luke 1:11), through a Christophany—a pre-incarnate appearance of Christ (Gen. 18:22), and through the prophets (Jer. 1:7). 

Today he speaks primarily through his messengers (pastors, teachers, and fellow believers), his Word, and the Holy Spirit’s voice in our hearts. But the question remains: 

How do we know we’re hearing God’s voice rather than our own or someone else’s? 

Here are some guidelines: 

1.  What we hear must agree with Scripture. In other words, God never tells us to do something contrary to his Word. This means the abortion clinic bomber who testified that “God told me to blow up this place” may have been hearing voices, but they weren’t the Lord’s. This is why we must read the Bible daily and become familiar with its truths. It becomes the plumb line for all other input. 

2.  God usually repeats an important message. He knows we’re sometimes spiritually dense, so he gives us more than one opportunity to get it. You may read something that applies to your life in your morning quiet time, read it again during a devotional reading, and hear a preacher or teacher mention it in a sermon or lesson. God’s willingness to repeat himself is blessed confirmation if we think we’re hearing from God but aren’t quite sure. This is why it’s important to journal during our Bible reading and prayer time and take notes during teaching and preaching times. Sometimes the pattern of God’s messages to us becomes clearer when we write them down. 

3.  An idea may come to us while we're praying. If it’s something simple, like Send Sally a note of encouragement; she’s been struggling since Dan lost his job, and isn’t contrary to Scripture, I usually act upon it immediately. It’s probably the Holy Spirit prompting me. If it involves a greater commitment, I test the thought by waiting to see if God reinforces it in other ways. 

For years the Lord had prompted me to write inspiring articles for homeschooling moms. Friends encouraged me to compile them into a book. When another friend invited me to attend a writers conference, the idea began to take shape. I sought confirmation by speaking to an acquisitions editor at the conference, and he invited me to submit a proposal. When I shared the idea with a Christian businessman, and he offered to help, I knew the idea had been from the Lord. 

4.  If an idea is from the Lord, the desire usually grows stronger with time. I confess—I get some crazy ideas sometimes. Crazy or not, I write down the idea and begin to pray about it. As the days pass, I’ll often find my enthusiasm and desire waning. Other times the desire grows, develops, and blossoms into a full-fledged calling. God confirms it in other ways and reinforces it with appropriate Scripture. 

5.  It usually requires an element of risk and faith. God seldom calls us to do something completely off the normal path of our lives. Instead his call is usually the next step, albeit sometimes a BIG step, on the path we’re already on. 

For years our family’s been involved with missions. We’ve financially supported missionaries, prayed and provided resources for them, and hosted them in our homes. When my husband and I began to experience a desire to take a short-term missions trip with our family, we sensed it was from the Lord. 

We began to pray about it, and the desire grew stronger. We already knew a mission trip was scriptural, so when one of our missionary friends mentioned how they’d love to have a family work with them in Mexico, we knew the Lord was calling us to go. 

Although it seems a bit mysterious, God loves to speak to his children. To hear him, we must learn to recognize his voice. This ability comes with patience and practice. Missionary Frank Laubach accurately expresses how every conversation with God involves learning to listen: 

“The trouble with nearly everybody who prays is that he says, ‘Amen,’ and runs away before God has a chance to reply. Listening to God is far more important than giving him our ideas.” 

May God bless you as you learn to listen to his voice. 


How about you? How does the Lord usually speak to you? And how do you know it's him speaking? Leave a comment below. I'd love to hear your thoughts. If you're reading by email, click HERE and scroll to the bottom of the post, then click on Comment to leave your thoughts.




Does Your Faith Need Refreshing?

That's in the Bible? I've never noticed that before!

It's probably been too long since you've newly discovered a story that speaks to your soul or a verse that pops with truth. But that's about to change!



Refresh Your Faith contains 66 culturally relevant, story-driven devotions, one from each book of the Bible. Each real-life story spotlights an unusual verse or Bible passage that you may have overlooked in your usual Bible reading. Lori Hatcher challenges you with additional features like an uncommon thought to ponder; an unusual faith action step; and an unfamiliar passage suggestion for additional Bible reading.

When the fabulous has become familiar and your quiet times are more like nap times, it's time to step out of spiritual boredom and ignite the spark that will keep you growing. No matter where you are on your faith journey, Lori's conversational and engaging style will challenge you to think about things you've never thought about before.

“Real-life inspiration and candid wit. These 5-minute devotions will change your life.” —Psychologist and best-selling author Dr. Kevin Leman, commenting on Lori Hatcher's devotional style




Are you hungry for God, but starving for time? 
I’d love to send you a 5-minute e-mail devotion twice a week to start your day off with the Lord. 

Sign up for a free subscription to Hungry for God by CLICKING HERE.

Then, be sure to VALIDATE the confirmation email you receive. 

Note: I promise never to spam you or share your email address.


Because busy women need to connect with God in the craziness of everyday life.






Thursday

Why We Love Feeding People


Why do we love feeding people? 


In my family, it goes way back. “Eat!” my grandmother would say. “You’re too thin!” She’d fry up Portuguese doughnuts dusted heavily with sugar and set them before my sisters and me. Watching us devour her goodies, she’d smile a contented smile. 

One of my favorite memories is of preparing my youngest daughter’s 8th birthday breakfast. I was committed to feeding my family a low-sugar, no-junk food diet, but on her birthday, healthy went out the window. The birthday girl could request anything she wanted. 

She chose three of her favorite foods—chocolate chip pancakes, sausage, and ice cream with chocolate syrup. Seeing her eyes sparkle when I brought her tray into her bedroom was a joy. Watching her devour her special food made me happy. 

Now that I’m a grandma, I’m having fun introducing my 2-year-old granddaughter to new foods. When she was a tiny girl, she loved strawberries. She’d eat the leaves and all if we didn’t watch her. She tasted watermelon for the first time at my house. Knowing it was going to be a messy process, we stripped her down to her diaper and sat her in the middle of the table. Barely old enough to sit up, she held a watermelon chunk in both hands and gummed her way to watermelon heaven. The memory of that day still makes me smile. 

As a special treat at Christmas time, I gave her one of my favorite holiday goodies, a Peanut Butter Temptation. Baked in a mini muffin pan, these heavenly treats combine two of my favorites—a peanut butter cookie and a Reese’s peanut butter cup. She was delighted, and so was I. 

Today I filled my bird feeder with black oil sunflower seeds for the first time this winter. It didn’t take long for the cardinals, chickadees, titmouses, and nuthatches to find the feast I left for them. They swarmed my feeder, returning again and again to fill their bellies. Every time I passed the window, I felt happy. 


Watching my feathered friends feast and replaying my food memories makes me wonder if God takes equal delight in feeding us. Does it bring him pleasure to hear us sigh contentedly after a delicious meal? Does he grin happily when we return thanks for a bountiful Thanksgiving meal or a church potluck? Does his heart warm with satisfaction when we savor warm soup on a cold night? 

Our heavenly Father loves to meet our needs. Like I happily shared my favorite Christmas goody with my granddaughter, God delights in providing for us. And because he is a father who loves to give good gifts to his children, he doesn’t stop at the minimum. Sometimes he serves us chocolate chip pancakes, sausage, AND ice cream with chocolate syrup, just because. 

If you’re thankful for God’s generous hand of provision, why not join me in thanking God? Father, thank you for your generous heart toward us. Thank you for providing not just our needs, but our wants as well. Thank you for giving us the ability to taste food, share it with others, and return thanks. Help us never take it for granted, but always be mindful of where it came from. We love you, God. Amen.

"Look at the birds of the air; they do not sow or reap or store away in barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not much more valuable than they?" (Mat. 6:26).






Does Your Faith Need Refreshing?

That's in the Bible? I've never noticed that before!

It's probably been too long since you've newly discovered a story that speaks to your soul or a verse that pops with truth. But that's about to change!



Refresh Your Faith contains 66 culturally relevant, story-driven devotions, one from each book of the Bible. Each real-life story spotlights an unusual verse or Bible passage that you may have overlooked in your usual Bible reading. Lori Hatcher challenges you with additional features like an uncommon thought to ponder; an unusual faith action step; and an unfamiliar passage suggestion for additional Bible reading.

When the fabulous has become familiar and your quiet times are more like nap times, it's time to step out of spiritual boredom and ignite the spark that will keep you growing. No matter where you are on your faith journey, Lori's conversational and engaging style will challenge you to think about things you've never thought about before.

“Real-life inspiration and candid wit. These 5-minute devotions will change your life.” —Psychologist and best-selling author Dr. Kevin Leman, commenting on Lori Hatcher's devotional style




Are you hungry for God, but starving for time? 
I’d love to send you a 5-minute e-mail devotion twice a week to start your day off with the Lord. 

Sign up for a free subscription to Hungry for God by CLICKING HERE.

Then, be sure to VALIDATE the confirmation email you receive. 

Note: I promise never to spam you or share your email address.


Because busy women need to connect with God in the craziness of everyday life.




Monday

Sometimes I Get Distracted -- A Guest Post by Meredith Mills

Meredith Mills is one of my favorite local writers. A gifted and talented communicator, Meredith gets to the heart of the matter and reminds us what's important every time. If you're feeling a bit distracted today, I know you're going to enjoy this post. After you read, be sure to leave a kind comment at the bottom.


Sometimes I get distracted. 


A few years ago, my husband attended a week-long business convention in Pennsylvania. We stayed busy while he was gone – our older kids went to STEM camp each day, our littlest enjoyed play dates with her besties, and I spent lots of time writing. When the weekend rolled around, we were more than ready for Daddy to come home. 

Except I wasn’t ready when he got home. 

Dinner wasn’t done. Supplies from Operation Deep Clean cluttered the master bath and bedroom. Laundry sat where I’d left it, waiting to be hung up in the closet. 

How I wanted everything to be perfect when my husband walked in the door. But alas, real life got in the way. 

Guess what? He didn’t care. 

He just wanted to be with us. To hear about our week and tell us about his. To snuggle up close and enjoy the evening together. 

As I bustled about the kitchen trying to hurry the cooking along, I remembered the story of another woman with whose life I so often relate. 

"Now as they went on their way, Jesus entered a village. And a woman named Martha welcomed him into her house. And she had a sister called Mary, who sat at the Lord’s feet and listened to his teaching. But Martha was distracted with much serving. And she went up to him and said, 'Lord, do you not care that my sister has left me to serve alone? Tell her then to help me.' But the Lord answered her, 'Martha, Martha, you are anxious and troubled about many things, but one thing is necessary. Mary has chosen the good portion, which will not be taken away from her' Luke 10:38-42, ESV. 

I so get Martha! 

She loved Jesus and wanted everything to be perfect for Him. That meal in the oven was an expression of her affection. She longed to make Him comfortable, to help Him feel at home. 

Yet all Jesus wanted was her. 

Her heart, her focus, her devotion. In contrast to restless Martha, there sat Mary – the picture of a quiet heart. Yes, there were unfinished chores to be done. But Jesus had arrived, and she had to be near Him. 

Serving from a distance just would not do. If He was sitting in the living room, that’s where Mary wanted to be. If He went to the dining room, you’d find her there. If He walked outside, she’d tag along. 

While Martha was preoccupied with service, Mary was preoccupied with Jesus. 

The Bible mentions this Mary several other times – once at Lazarus’ tomb, where she brought her grief to Jesus just before He raised her brother from the dead, and again at a dinner party, where she anointed His feet with expensive perfume as an act of worship. (See John 11:1-44, 12:1-3.) 

In both scenarios, Mary went wherever Jesus was. She loved Him and needed Him, so she ran to Him with zero hesitation. 

Oh, God, give me such a heart. May I never be content with days full of service yet absent of connection with You. Teach me to focus on You and walk closely with You, both in my daily “quiet times” and in the middle of my everyday crazy. 

How about you? How do you practice the presence of God? In what ways do you cultivate a quiet heart? 



Meredith Mills is a wife and mother to three inquisitive, adventurous, fun-loving kids. She writes about resting in Christ and walking with Him in our everyday spaces at MeredithNMills.com and Just18Summers.com. Connect with her on Instagram and Twitter @MeredithNMills and on Facebook @MeredithNicoleMills.




Does Your Faith Need Refreshing?

That's in the Bible? I've never noticed that before!

It's probably been too long since you've newly discovered a story that speaks to your soul or a verse that pops with truth. But that's about to change!



Refresh Your Faith contains 66 culturally relevant, story-driven devotions, one from each book of the Bible. Each real-life story spotlights an unusual verse or Bible passage that you may have overlooked in your usual Bible reading. Lori Hatcher challenges you with additional features like an uncommon thought to ponder; an unusual faith action step; and an unfamiliar passage suggestion for additional Bible reading.

When the fabulous has become familiar and your quiet times are more like nap times, it's time to step out of spiritual boredom and ignite the spark that will keep you growing. No matter where you are on your faith journey, Lori's conversational and engaging style will challenge you to think about things you've never thought about before.

“Real-life inspiration and candid wit. These 5-minute devotions will change your life.” —Psychologist and best-selling author Dr. Kevin Leman, commenting on Lori Hatcher's devotional style




Are you hungry for God, but starving for time? 
I’d love to send you a 5-minute e-mail devotion twice a week to start your day off with the Lord. 

Sign up for a free subscription to Hungry for God by CLICKING HERE.

Then, be sure to VALIDATE the confirmation email you receive. 

Note: I promise never to spam you or share your email address.


Count Them One by One -- A Guest Post by J.D. Wininger

Today I'm pleased to introduce you to J.D. Wininger, one of my favorite bloggers. J.D. has a heart as big as Texas, so it's a good thing he lives there. He loves his ranch, his critters, but most of all, his Savior. Pull up a chair, pour yourself a cup of coffee (or tea), and let J.D. remind us of something we all tend to forget. And when you're done, leave a kind comment for J.D.

Count Them One by One


Standing at the window, I take a sip from my third cup of coffee. 



Finally. It’s light enough. 

As dawn breaks each morning, before I don my boots, hat, and jacket, I count cow butts. First one pasture, then the next. It’s not a glamorous job, especially when you consider that cattle don’t use toilet paper (good thing these days), but it’s a necessary one. I tell myself it’s inventory control. 

If the count is off in a particular pasture, I need to investigate, especially if an animal is missing in the pasture where I place the expectant mama cows. When birthing is imminent, a mama cow will get away by herself and hide. It’s an instinctual thing, just like hiding their newborn calves for the first week of their lives. 

This morning I count the mamas and babies first, then move to another window to get “eyes on” Mavric the bull and my donkeys. I glance at the neighboring pasture too, just to make sure things look right. 

About the time I get to 40, I realize I’m humming one of my favorite old hymns. Count your blessings, name them one by one. Count your many blessings see what God has done

I suspect most of y’all know what happened next. Yep, the waterworks turned on. 

Standing there, I realized I wasn’t taking inventory, I was counting my blessings. 

Each animal here at the Cross-Dubya is a blessing. Like my family members, God has entrusted each one’s care to me. I don’t take this responsibility lightly. 

Perhaps that’s why I’m up each day before dawn, preparing to take care of all the blessings God has given me. Maybe it’s why I pray as I stand watch over them each morning. 

Philippians 4:8 reminds me, “Finally, brethren, whatever things are true, whatever things are noble, whatever things are just, whatever things are pure, whatever things are lovely, whatever things are of good report, if there is any virtue and if there is anything praiseworthy—meditate on these things” (Philippians 4:8, NKJV). 

In these quiet moments, when it’s just me, the cows, and God, it’s easy to count my blessings. 

As the day progresses, emails, phone calls, and problems elbow their way in. I find it more difficult to recognize all the good things God has given me. Satan takes great delight in disrupting our thoughts and taking our minds off of the good and godly things we should make central in our lives. 

With all this pandemic hoo-ha and political posturing going on, he must be having a field day with many of us. 

 All too often, I find that our human lives take precedence over our spiritual lives. Living only in the day and dealing with current challenges can and will take our focus off our future. 

The result? We set aside our joy and hope in Christ. We focus on our problems instead of counting our blessings. We forget we are sojourners, passing through this temporary life on the way to a better reality. 

One way I combat this tendency is to spend a few minutes before I close my eyes at night thanking God for each blessing I’ve received throughout my day. Most are living beings, not material things. 

My wife, friends, and others I’ve interacted with during my day. The land and animals God allows me to care for, and, yes, tangible things like not getting the tractor stuck in the mud hole or not getting knocked to the ground by the bull when I wasn’t paying attention. 

When I do this, I can fall asleep knowing I’ve taken a few minutes to say thank You to the One who is most deserving, the One from whom all blessings flow (James 1:17). 

What changes to your routine can you make to help you count your blessings more than your trials? During this challenging time, I hope each of us will take a few minutes each day to stand in God’s presence. Let’s spend some time sharing with Him our thanks for all He is, all He gives, and all He does. 


J.D. Wininger is an award-winning writer and speaker who teaches compelling lessons in faith and writes heartfelt devotionals and books to glorify God. He has written for national magazines, CBN.com, Lighthouse Bible Studies, and contributed to several books. When not working his Texas ranch, He and his wife Diane share God’s love in surrounding communities. To read more from J.D., visit his website: https://jdwininger.com/





Does Your Faith Need 
Refreshing?

That's in the Bible? I've never noticed that before!

It's probably been too long since you've newly discovered a story that speaks to your soul or a verse that pops with truth. But that's about to change!



Refresh Your Faith contains 66 culturally relevant, story-driven devotions, one from each book of the Bible. Each real-life story spotlights an unusual verse or Bible passage that you may have overlooked in your usual Bible reading. Lori Hatcher challenges you with additional features like an uncommon thought to ponder; an unusual faith action step; and an unfamiliar passage suggestion for additional Bible reading.

When the fabulous has become familiar and your quiet times are more like nap times, it's time to step out of spiritual boredom and ignite the spark that will keep you growing. No matter where you are on your faith journey, Lori's conversational and engaging style will challenge you to think about things you've never thought about before.

“Real-life inspiration and candid wit. These 5-minute devotions will change your life.” —Psychologist and best-selling author Dr. Kevin Leman, commenting on Lori Hatcher's devotional style




Are you hungry for God, but starving for time? 
I’d love to send you a 5-minute e-mail devotion twice a week to start your day off with the Lord. 

Sign up for a free subscription to Hungry for God by CLICKING HERE.

Then, be sure to VALIDATE the confirmation email you receive. 

Note: I promise never to spam you or share your email address.









Tuesday

Rest or Rustle? Two Choices When We Feel Threatened

Thankfully, the mother bird saw the rat snake before the rat snake saw her.

She was perched on the edge of the nest she had woven in my hanging basket, a wriggling worm dangling from her beak. Ready to drop it into the open mouth of one of her fledglings, she froze, then quickly hopped into the nest. Her squawking babies quieted as she covered them with her outstretched wings. Hunkering down atop her tiny charges, she blended into the foliage until the slithering serpent passed by.

Those babies may have been newly hatched, but they knew something I sometimes forget—that danger is an invitation to trust. As my friend Nan Jones says, “It’s better to rest than to rustle.” The Psalmist puts it this way:

“I will trust in the shelter of your wings,” (Psalm 61:4).

When danger threatens me or my family, my default setting is to start squawking. I cry. I fret. I call my friends. I wring my hands and wail as if the Philistines were storming the gates. I work myself into an emotional tizzy that would rival a two-year-old’s bedtime meltdown. In the end, I’m left spent and exhausted.

On other days, when my heart is full of God’s Word and I’ve spent time in prayer, I react much differently. Like the baby birds in my geranium, I seek the shadow of my heavenly Father’s protective wings and rest quietly, trusting that he will care for me.



What about you? How do you react when something scary threatens you? When are you more likely to respond with faith instead of fear? Leave a comment below and join the conversation. If you're reading by email, click HERE to leave a comment at the bottom of the post.






Does Your Faith Need Refreshing?

That's in the Bible? I've never noticed that before!

It's probably been too long since you've newly discovered a story that speaks to your soul or a verse that pops with truth. But that's about to change!



Refresh Your Faith contains 66 culturally relevant, story-driven devotions, one from each book of the Bible. Each real-life story spotlights an unusual verse or Bible passage that you may have overlooked in your usual Bible reading. Lori Hatcher challenges you with additional features like an uncommon thought to ponder; an unusual faith action step; and an unfamiliar passage suggestion for additional Bible reading.

When the fabulous has become familiar and your quiet times are more like nap times, it's time to step out of spiritual boredom and ignite the spark that will keep you growing. No matter where you are on your faith journey, Lori's conversational and engaging style will challenge you to think about things you've never thought about before.

“Real-life inspiration and candid wit. These 5-minute devotions will change your life.” —Psychologist and best-selling author Dr. Kevin Leman, commenting on Lori Hatcher's devotional style




Are you hungry for God, but starving for time? 
I’d love to send you a 5-minute e-mail devotion twice a week to start your day off with the Lord. 

Sign up for a free subscription to Hungry for God by CLICKING HERE.

Then, be sure to VALIDATE the confirmation email you receive. 

Note: I promise never to spam you or share your email address.


Because busy women need to connect with God in the craziness of everyday life.