How interesting, with a heaven full of angels, the close oneness of the triune God, the Trinity created man and woman for fellowship. Someone with whom to walk and talk in the garden as good friends should and do. It was all about desired fellowship.
I am indebted to Jim Denison and Mark Batterson in the Denison Forum of February 27, 2018 for striking the fire that ignited the ideas of this essay.
It often happens in marriage counseling, the wife will say, “He just won’t talk to me.”
I understand that the normal woman is equipped with at least twenty times more words that the normal man. Depending on the work environment, more or less words are used at work, leaving an even larger imbalance of words to be spoken at home around the dinner table and after. Now this is not an essay on getting along in marriage so I will leave that dilemma for the marriage experts.
There is a greater problem for men and women: how do I talk with God, and more importantly, how do I listen?
Every Christian knows they need to talk to God, but they are just not sure how. Far fewer are listening for God to speak. Many have been taught that God doesn’t communicate these days. Some have been taught that is false religion—Pentecostal stuff. Therefore, run!
From the first few pages of Genesis, God is saying, “Can we talk?”
He is willing to listen 24/7. And just as willing to communicate. We just need to tune in and listen. Another problem, some expect God to speak over a loud speaker from heaven, like in a B movie.
Now God’s love language is obedience, from John 14:23, that “if you love and obey me, we will come and make our home in you…”
God has made it plain in all 66 books of the Bible that his love language is also to worship him, give him honor, praise, and glory in worship.
The third love language is fellowship in communication. Communication must be two way: talk and listen.
It is always wise to check all that mankind writes and speaks against scripture. I am aware of the standard Christian church interpretation of Hebrews 1 that “in the past God spoke through the prophets and in various ways. And in these days through Jesus…” I will agree if you are talking about some new and unmentioned revelation that involves people in general. I would agree that was completed with the life of Jesus Christ and the finished cannon.
Thus, when I read Mark Batterson’s Seven Ways God Can Talk to Us, I had to agree that all should be checked with the closed canon of the Word of God. “Batterson points to Scripture, desires, doors, dreams, people, promptings and pain as the seven ‘love languages’ (I prefer to call them seven open doors to communication with God) of God. Throughout the Bible, we find the Lord speaking to us in all seven ways. As Batterson makes clear, the other six should always be judged in light of God’s word, but all seven can be channels of God’s communication.” I would add that each scripture that you quote as a stand alone proof must be checked out in full context of the statement then balanced with all other scripture to make sure you are in God’s will.
Before we deal with the seven doors to open communications with God I want to deal with the best timing for communications. I want to deal with timing for me, any time from 2 AM to just after dawn is the best time to pray and listen, thus to hear from God. Dr. Jim Denison gave me, that is reminded me, of why this is the best time.
“Jesus’ example, ‘rising early in the morning… he prayed’ (Mark 1:35).
Moses prayed, ‘Satisfy us in the morning with your steadfast love…’ (Psalm 90:14). Job would rise early in the morning to pray for his family (Job 1:5). Saul was after David, but David prayed and wrote, ‘I will sing aloud of your steadfast love in the morning.’ (Psalm 59:19).
It may not be the only time, but it is the best time.”
President Reagan asked the pilot of Air Force One why he always landed close to the beginning of the runway. The pilot explained,
“Mr. President, every pilot knows you can’t use the runway behind you.”
God often starts early on my timetable. I awaken suddenly with a possible solution to a problem I had been praying about the evening before and it is just the right answer to the problem. I pray a thank you prayer and then make a note for tomorrow and I am back to sleep and rested. Honestly, often the problem is also a matter of worry that I turned over to God and went to sleep.
I wake up often a few minutes before my alarm at 4 AM seven days a week. I never hit the snooze button; I am wide awake for the day. I turn my Christian radio to a teaching program, tend to bathroom things and back to my bedside to shave and dress for the day accompanied by Christian radio teaching programs. By 5 AM I am on my way to the dining room for my breakfast drink and provisions. I scan two papers and head to the office for 6 AM Bible reading, devotional reading and prayer. Then my work day begins. I can’t tell you how many times I have been stuck in writing an essay, sermon or video, Around the World with Jesus and woke up at 3 AM with a jar in the right direction. Let’s listen for God in the following.
Scripture: All scripture is God breathed. The whole Bible is the word of God. The Bible is a living book, and God can use an account or statement to give you a boost in the right direction. God can use a
Scripture to direct you to a right answer. When you are reading the
Word, be watching for a word from God.
Desires: Be very careful with this one. I wrote an essay in [the] Epistle [of March 4, 2018], Why Are You Afraid?, that I read an advertisement about needing a Church in Las Cruces. The rest of the day I was homesick for New Mexico. Separate your desires from your day dreams and desire to escape a hard job. I remember the line from a favorite song. “If I have longed for shelter from the cold when Thou has given me some fort to hold, dear Lord, forgive.”
Doors: In the spring of 1969 I needed to move from Aztec. In my stupid years, I thought if I owned the company I work for then I would have more time for the church work. I became a Chrysler Import dealer. I was their fair-haired “Boy.” Then Chrysler made a stupid move and they cut off all of us independent dealers overnight. I had out sold VW with the Simca. They had a 50k miles, 5 year warranty, and my customers were told to take warranty work to Albuquerque 200 miles away. My customers were lined up saying, “Preacher, you signed my warranty book; now fix my car.” I was buying parts retail, and giving parts and labor away. I needed to sell out and move. One freezing Saturday morning I got a job offer in Beaumont, Texas, and we went through the open door.
Dreams: I am skeptical about dreams, except to awaken you to a problem and send you to God for an answer. It is possible that God can still use dreams, but check all dreams with the word of God. Don’t mistake your day dreams with messages from God. If your day dreams continue and there are other promptings and messages from God, make it a matter of prayer and Bible study and get good solid Christian counsel before acting on dreams.
People: God often speaks through Godly people; listen to good counsel. Get two or three counselors then check with the word of God.
Promptings: At times I call these quirks: ideas that flash into your mind as you mull over a situation or problem. Listen to the quirks and promptings, always in your mind consider the consequences and unintended consequences of any action on your part. The constant unknown factor is God’s input. In all, listening to God requires a lot of faith that God will help you complete your good project. Once you are sure God has spoken then proceed with all diligence knowing God will provide for what he has assigned.
Pain: I want to be very careful with this one. Yes, at times God speaks through your pain, at times he shouts through pain, and at other times he whispers in your pain—and one must listen carefully. Then at times God just speaks love and comforts us through our pain. Now the question most important in God speaking through our pain: what message does he want to communicate?
- It is just like him to speak comfort in time sickness and injury.
- If you and your family are often down with colds, flu, and the other old catch all, “I just don’t feel well”, perhaps God is telling you to dress yourself and children for the temperature now at 4 PM and the expected drop of 30 degrees when the sun goes down. Then perhaps God is telling you to spend more time planning the veggies at meal time than in planning the main dish and desert.
- If you have chronic pain and pervasive illness that prayer and doctor’s care is not treating, perhaps God is telling you it is time for a James five meeting with the elders for confessing the illegal, immoral, sexual sins, harsh and honest prayer by all elders and anointing with oil. The James passage promises no healing by just anointing with special oil. This kind of sickness is sin caused, sin of abusing alcohol, drugs, eating wrong, tobacco, sexual immorality, and there must be oral confession, repentance, a changed lifestyle and prayer and anointing with oil for God to respond.
- Sometimes God is speaking though pain, as with Melba, saying it is time to come home. Listen well to your pain. God whispers, speaks, and shouts through your sickness and pain.
To help you listen for God and recognize His voice, stay in the Word and worship and fellowship. God wants fellowship with you. God is interested in your problems and wants to help. You are to do your part. Listen to God and obey; that is God’s love language.