Podcast #113 Learning to hear from God (6:36) (Connecting with God #3)

Folks often ask me how do I hear from God. It’s actually pretty simple, but it’s a very personal experience. I’ll share a great exercise to help you get started.

Here’s the podcast transcript:

Welcome to the Sabbath Cafe Podcast. This is episode 113 – learning how to hear from God.

One of the questions people often ask me is how do you hear from the Lord.  I always have a hard time explaining because I think this is a very personal experience. But there are practices that can help.  So that’s what we’ll talk about today.

Let me just clarify first… that hearing from God isn’t anything weird or strange. It’s not like you hear this “deep voice” from the sky.  It’s really just learning how God communicates with us in a personal way.  Hearing from God is also a major part of the Christian tradition. From Catholic to Protestant groups, You’ll find many classical Christian literatures that talk about it. I learned a lot from reading classics like “Practicing the Presence of God” by Brother Lawrence and “Celebration of Discipline” by Richard Foster. Hearing God is an essential part of our spiritual heritage.

For many of us today, when we think about this topic, we tend to imagine God speaking from heaven in a booming voice. There may even be thunder and lightning in the background.  Kind of like what happens in a Disney movie, right? But in reality, it’s the complete opposite.  When God wants to communicate with us personally, He actually speaks in a gentle and quiet voice.

It’s like that Bible passage when Elijah hid in the mountains after his big showdown with Jezebel. And God came to meet him. There first came this great and powerful wind that tore the mountains apart, but God was not in the wind. After the wind, there was a powerful earthquake that shook things up, but God was not in the earthquake. After the earthquake, there came a fire. But God was not in the fire. And after the fire, God showed up in a whisper. And that’s when Elijah went to meet God.

And that’s how God speaks in my life too, with a still and quiet whisper. That’s why when I’m seeking God’s insight and wisdom, I need to first calm down my heart. I notice that when I’m relaxed, I can sense God’s thoughts more clearly. However, if I’m feeling stressed or worried about something,  it’s hard for me to sort out what God is trying to tell me.  And it’s not until I journal and process through some things to calm those emotions down, and then, I can sense more clearly what God is trying to say.

So in today’s session, let’s look at some easy steps to help you practice how to tune into God’s still small voice.

I really think the most important part in learning to hear God’s voice is learning to pay attention to God. The truth is if you’re used to multi-tasking or doing many things at the same time, it’s very hard to hear God when you’re in that mode.  Because all of the things you’re doing will distract you and drown out God’s quiet whispers.  So I recommend that in the beginning, you set aside time when you can be alone. And if you can’t be alone, find some time when you can give God your full attention.

Now relax, and take a deep breath.  In the beginning, pray this prayer, “Lord, I’m here to meet with you.  You have my full attention, come and meet with me.” We declare to God and to ourselves that this is our focus.  And then focus on a short prayer like “Thank you Lord, Thank you Jesus.”  “I love You, Jesus.”  And if any thought or worry suddenly rise up, acknowledge them, and simply pray, “Lord, I just give this concern to you.”  Return to your simple prayer – “Thank you Jesus. I love you Jesus.” and continue to focus on God.

After a couple of minutes, your heart will relax and you’ll begin to calm down. As you start to feel more at peace, the thoughts that usually clutter your mind will clear up.  And that’s when God’s thoughts will quietly appear.  Sometimes, God chose to be silent, and that’s fine. Allow your heart to rest and just enjoy the Peace and Stillness for as long as you can.

The first few times you try this, maybe you won’t sense anything yet. And you may still get distracted. And that’s okay.  Just like everything else, it gets better with practice. 

And as you continue these short sessions where you learn to focus your heart and your mind solely on God, then it will become easier, and you’ll know how to tune into God’s voice in your own way. 

Just remember this.  God wants us to succeed. And as we make our hearts available to Him. The Holy Spirit will come and help us learn how to dwell in Peace.

Eventually, as you become familiar with hearing God’s voice, you’ll start to recognize His voice throughout your day even when you’re busy.   For me, God often talks to me when I’m driving, or when I’m on a walk. And lately, He’s been especially chatty when I’m doing dishes. 🙂 

So as you can see, there’s no secret handshake when it comes to hearing from God.  All you need is a willingness to hang out with Jesus. And it’s just like making a new friend. The more time you spend together, the better you’ll get to know each other.  

I hope what I’ve shared has been helpful, and I’m excited to see what God will show you this week. Thanks for listening, and we’ll see you next time.

Podcast #112 Finding a theme for your spiritual walk (4:19) (Connecting with God #2)

Starting a new journey often feels intimidating. I share some prompts and questions in this episode to help you find a personal focus for your spiritual path.

Here’s the podcast transcript:

Welcome to Sabbath Cafe Podcast. You’re listening to Episode 112 – Finding a personal theme for your spiritual life.

So last time we talked about writing a letter to God. And it’s a chance to get reacquainted. I hope you at least gave it a try. I’m hoping writing a letter gave you some momentum so you can continue that dialogue with God. Today, I’ll share about how to find a theme for your spiritual life.

When you’re starting your own spiritual journey, one of the more challenging things is that now it’s more free form. It’s not as structured.  So I get questions from people asking about that because they’re used to going to church and having a sermon or Sunday school program already planned for them.  There’s a theme that’s already picked out.  And suddenly, when you start your own walk with God, and you’re like what do I focus on? What do I do?

So today, let’s look at 2 simple ways to start your own program.

The first question I often ask people is what are some verses that you’ve been thinking about lately? If there are scriptures that come to mind a lot, start writing them down.  And look it up.  Read up the whole chapter… or the whole story, if it’s about a Bible character.  The other day, I was praying, and something reminded me about Queen Esther, so I read parts of the Book of Esther.  It was very insightful and helped answer my questions.   Is your name Joseph?  Maybe you can read up on the story of Joseph.  The key is to keep your heart open and see what truths or insights jump out at you while you’re in this process.  

Another helpful question is… what’s a topic you’ve been curious about or you think about often? Is there a question you’ve been wanting to ask God about?  For a season, I was curious about prayer.  The idea that a normal person like me can influence the divine is simply fascinating.  So I went to a Bible website, and searched for all the scriptures about prayer in the New Testament.  Surprisingly, there weren’t too many in the New Testament. So I just started reading through them.  And I learned a lot about prayer from that.  

So as you can see, there are many ways you can start your own spiritual journey.

The important thing is to find something that you’re interested about so you can start a dialog with God. I’ve found that God is so ready to share His thoughts with us in a personal way… It almost doesn’t matter how or why we come to Him… As long as we do, He will take that opportunity to connect with us. So feel free to jump in wherever you’re at in your journey. 

I hope the ideas I’ve shared in this podcast have been helpful, and I hope you try it.  Have fun, and I’ll see you in the next podcast.

Podcast #111 Reconnecting with God (5:41)

Many of us feel spiritually isolated lately. In this new podcast series, I’ll be sharing some ideas to help you jumpstart your personal dialog with God. I share my first quick tip in this short episode.

Mini-podcast: Any advice for yourself during quarantine? (Covid Reflections #3)

In this last part of our Covid Reflections minicasts, let’s think about what we’ve learned and see what wisdom or advice you’d like to share with yourself during quarantine.

This finishes up the Covid Reflection series. I will be starting a new series in the next episode. Stay tuned!

Mini-podcast: What did you learn during quarantine? (Covid Reflections #2)

For part 2 of the Covid Reflections series, I’ll share a surprising lesson I learned from a simple grocery store run. This podcast was originally recorded for Jifcast. Enjoy!

Mini-podcast: How did you change during quarantine? (Covid Reflections #1)

Through all the ups and downs, many of our communities are slowly transitioning out of quarantine. It’s a great time to reflect on the past few months, and process through this unprecedented event. Here’s my mini-cast (3 min) to help with the process.

Podcast #107 Connecting with God in times of crisis

Like the rest of the world, we’ve been sheltering in place for over a week now. I felt tossed about in the storm, and overrun with fear. Where do I go from here?

Podcast #106 My Experience in Replacing Anxiety with Peace

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I started a simple 10 day program last year on learning to rest in God. A year later, I’m still working through the lessons. 😀 Decided to share some of my experiences here in podcast 6.  And you can download the free scripture worksheet here: Peace meditation worksheet.

 

Podcast #105 How my anxiety affected my perspectives

Pod-logo-aqua-square-3000x3000-medium-qtyThe title sounds really serious… but this podcast is really just about my latest silly, *facepalm* / “Homer Simpson” moment… I promise, it’ll make you feel much better about your day. 😉

Podcast #104 Working through creative blocks

Pod-logo-aqua-square-3000x3000-medium-qtyI’ve been pretty quiet on my blog these last few months. I blame it on taxes, birthdays and just life in general.  On top of that, I was stuck in a creative “quick sand.”  Here’s what I learned from working through my creative blocks.