Welcome back to the Womens Bible Cafe™ and our fifth week studying Experiencing God by Henry and Richard Blackaby. We now know that “God speaks through a variety of means. Today God primarily speaks by the Holy Spirit through the Bible, prayer, circumstances, and the church (other believers)” according to Blackaby. What a relief to finally have an answer when someone asks “How does God speak?”

Knowing that God speaks through the Bible, why do we struggle to find time to read it? Why do we fall behind on Bible study lessons? Are we willing to let family, work, and daily events get between us and time with Our Savior?

You may be reading a translation you don’t understand and might need a different Bible. Many of the classic Bible studies use the New International Version (NIV). When I was a new believer, my pastor recommended the Life Application Study Bible (NIV Bible), which was invaluable. Today I use printed Bibles at home, a Bible application for my smartphone, and online Bibles such as BlueLetterBible.com and YouVersion.com

Now to him who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to his power that is at work within us… Ephesians 3:20 NIV

“His power” stands out to me as I wear the serenity prayer bracelet on my wrist. Because for many years, I was feeling a “power drain” from people or events. Now as a mature Christian, I have drawn into the strength of the power of the Lord, not people. There, I found my freedom.

When I read the news, I feel powerless. When I speak with family members, I feel powerless. When I walk into a dark storm, I feel powerless. Then…GOD shines the LIGHT of Jesus. And I no longer feel powerless in my storms. He gave me spiritual maturity and wisdom through consistent Bible study.

Blackaby writes, “When God spoke, the experience was usually unique to that individual.” God speaks to us differently, which is WHY we have multiple leaders in our ministry. And multiple denominations. Based on Scripture, Blackaby pointed out this week how God spoke differently to those God “Called.”

Now, we can look and see how God spoke differently to Mary the mother of Jesus, and Mary of Bethany. Or how He spoke differently to the apostles. Even in Revelation, God speaks differently to SEVEN CHURCHES. Not One church…but SEVEN!!!

We talked about this last week too. God might be telling a televangelist we don’t like how to preach to his audience. So while we may disagree with the preacher, God might be TELLING that person what to say and how to reach his audience. We are NOT the audience. And that’s okay when God leads. Remember, there were four Gospel writers, not one. All four men walked and lived with Jesus for 3.5 years. Yet all wrote DIFFERENT Gospels, for different audiences.

Today, we have denominations that believe God and the Holy Spirit do NOT speak today. They think the Blackaby study is heresy. We also have denominations that believe you need a priest or elder to speak to God, and you cannot speak to God on your own. Remember, seven different churches in Revelation? Not all churches will be in agreement.

When you are uncertain how God speaks, open your Bible or use the free Bible apps. Dig into the Word and discover how God spoke to people in the NEW Testament and AFTER Christ was resurrected.

“God wants us to look to Him in a relationship rather than depend on a method or a technique.” (Blackaby, p91). When I was a seven-year-old girl, attending a church school, each Friday I walked into a confessional booth and told a human how I sinned. All this did was make me feel shame and punishment. Then, I had to say seven hail marys when I left the booth, to earn forgiveness.

When my daughters were young, I taught them to pray in their rooms, directly to God. I wanted them to learn HIS voice in their hearts, not a religious voice. I wanted them to have a relationship with God because methods and rituals sometimes fail. That particular man in the booth that I confessed to was later found guilty of sexual abuse against my classmate.

According to Blackaby, “When God spoke, the person was sure God was speaking.” Are you certain when God speaks (like Moses) or uncertain (like Gideon)?  Today I feel certain and never hesitate, because I no longer need God to validate Himself to me. Now I trust and Know Jesus… as a Bride knows her Groom. When we learn how God speaks (by reading Scripture) then we recognize when we are hearing something contrary to His will. The more we read Scripture, the more we understand it.

Many are the plans in a person’s heart, but it is the Lord’s purpose that prevails. Proverbs 19:21 NIV

When I am soaking in the news, I soak up fear or anger. When I am soaking in the Bible, I soak up the Lord’s PLANS. Remember, God speaks through the Bible. Pick it up and read it as GOOD news!!

The gatekeeper opens the gate for him, and the sheep listen to his voice. He calls his sheep by name and leads them out. When he has brought out all his own, he goes on ahead of them, and his sheep follow him because they know his voice. John 10:3-4 NIV

[Jesus spoke] “If you love me, keep my commands. And I will ask the Father, and he will give you another advocate to help you and be with you forever— the Spirit of truth. The world cannot accept him because it neither sees him nor knows him. But you know him, for he lives with you and will be in you.” John 14:15-17 NIV

 The world does not SEE or KNOW the Holy Spirit. So stop allowing the world (news, social media, political parties, etc) to DEFINE YOU. Hear God’s voice, not theirs. We hear God when we pray, read the Bible and fellowship with other believers.

Let us stop arguing with spiritual blindness. As we learned in this study, unless GOD opens someone’s eyes to see and his ears to hear, you are arguing with a stubborn heart.