Sunday Devotional Playlist:
This week’s playlist starts with some songs to sing along with, but then will move into some instrumental music as a backdrop to your devotional time.
Feel free to use the opening songs as moments to worship, or just have them as background music while you read. It’s up to you!
Hit play on the video above and it will run through the songs in the playlist.
Walking His Way (part four)
How does God speak? How might He lead us into his way?
Well…. I have good news and bad news!
The bad news is that there is no one set way.
He speaks in different ways all the time and if we’re looking for an equation or formula we’re going to be disappointed. This isn’t because He wants to make things difficult for us but because of His unshakable desire for relationship. His voice is found in connection and so we have to lean into him as we learn to listen and hear. (So it’s not really bad news after all!)
The good news is that God is a way better Father than we realise.
I remember hearing Bill Johnson talk about how He speaks to his son Eric, who was born profoundly deaf. He said he would always try to make sure Eric could see his mouth, slow down his speech and minimise background noise. As a dad he took responsibility for “speaking in a way that Eric could hear” and his point was that if that is how he is then how much more will our perfect heavenly father make the same commitment to us?
1 In the past God spoke to our ancestors through the prophets at many times and in various ways, 2 but in these last days he has spoken to us by his Son, whom he appointed heir of all things, and through whom also he made the universe.Hebrews 1:1-2 NIV
The bible is full of God speaking and directing his people in all sorts of different ways. He speaks through scripture, dreams and visions, angels, prophetic voices, words of knowledge and the still small voice in peoples hearts.
At other times it was through seemingly less “spiritual’ means and in very practical, everyday ways. (See Jeremiah 1:11-15 for example) So for us maybe that is a film we watch, advert we see, something we read or encounter in nature.
The point is God speaks, in many different ways and it is our privilege and responsibly to learn to hear and recognise his voice, however it comes.
Sometimes God is very specific about what He wants us to do or where He wants us to go.
For example in Exodus 14 when the Israelites have just left Egypt, God gives incredibly precise instructions of where they are to camp. Likewise in Acts 16 Paul has a dream where he is explicitly called to go to Macedonia.
Whatever the means of how He speaks there will be times for all of us when what He says is precise, specific and doesn’t need interpretation – He says it… so we follow!
We also see times in the bible where God does it completely differently! Look at his call to Abraham:
“Go from your country, your people and your father’s household to the land I will show you.”Genesis 12:1
So poor old Abraham was only told to go, what to leave but with no direction as to where to!! God promised that he would show him where – but just not before he set off! Sometimes we need to go, to start walking and trust that, like He did for Abraham, God will direct us and show us on the journey!
His voice can come to encourage, direct and adjust us as we are walking and I think that this is what God promises us in Isaiah:
“Whether you turn to the right or to the left, your ears will hear a voice behind you, saying, “This is the way; walk in it.”Isaiah 30:21
If you’re anything like me you’d much rather have the voice ahead of you saying; “this is way, go there, do that” and get all the instructions and route map ahead of time but sometimes that isn’t how he leads!
Green lights and open doors
When God hasn’t given us a specific direction or instruction then I think the way He often leads is through keeping the right doors open and closing the wrong ones. So look for open doors and take time to think about where there seems to be favour and flourishing. What do we have faith for and feel peace about? What opportunities are available to us? We can start to walk towards those, start pushing those doors and see what happens.
My clearest experience of this was when I was applying for university and of all the places I applied to every single one rejected me except Manchester. It was the only green light, the only open door so that’s the way I went – and I’m hugely glad I did!
At every point we keep praying, listening and watching for Gods hand and keep walking with him, trusting the lights are all green until God turns one red.
I think we have been given an enormous amount of freedom within the will and ways of God. Remember, His way isn’t always a tightrope and He deeply values our partnership with him. There is a really valid place for wise, prayerfully considered and carefully made decisions that we make – he trusts us to choose!
The hopes, desires and dreams seeded in our hearts have often been placed there by God and are part of how he speaks and guides. What would we like? What do we think would be a good direction?
All of these ways of walking and hearing require faith and connection. It won’t look the same for all of us and probably won’t been the same for any one of us every time. All of us can rest in confident peace remembering our 4 corners that surround and frame all the decisions we make.
If you haven’t caught up with Alys’ Our Church My Story from Wednesday then have a listen here – it’s a brilliant testimony of many of these themes and a beautiful reminder of Gods goodness as He leads us and establishes our path.
- Take time to remember what God has said and how He has spoken in the past.
- Re-read and reflect on the prophetic words He has already given you – they are a vital lamp lighting the way for us (see 2 Peter 1:19)
- Try something new – maybe go for a walk and ask God to specifically speak. Put a notepad next to your bed and ask him for dreams.
- Be ready to listen for others – take time to pray for someone God places on your heart and ask Him to speak a word that you can encourage them with.