Welcome back to online Bible study at Women’s Bible Café! This week we are discussing Unit 5 of Experiencing God by Henry and Richard Blackaby entitled “When God Speaks – Part I”. Our lessons this week focus on the fourth of the seven realities of Experiencing God – “God speaks by the Holy Spirit though the Bible, prayer, circumstances, and the church to reveal Himself, His purposes and His ways” (p. 90).
In our busy, loud and chaotic lives often we don’t hear God speak. When we don’t hear Him, we tend to say it is because he is silent. But is He? Certainly, there are times when God is quiet. I like the analogy of comparing God to a teacher during a test – the teacher does not speak while the students are tested. At that point the speaking/teaching is done for the moment. It is the student’s opportunity to show what they have learned. But what about the rest of the time? How do we make sure that we hear God when He does speak?
Our memory verse for the week addresses this point:
“He who belongs to God hears what God says. The reason you do not hear is that you do not belong to God”. John 8:47
OUCH!!! What does that mean??? Yikes… Just hold on a minute and do not panic, okay? The key is in knowing how God speaks so that we can listen. This is a big topic. We will talk about it about it this week and again next week in Unit 6 – God Speaks, Part II.
This week we looked at some of the different ways God speaks – and some of the ways He doesn’t. We learned that God does not generally speak by opening or closing doors to reveal His will. He does not generally respond to our “If this is not your will stop me” kinds of prayers. We learned that He reveals himself to us. We learned that the words of Scripture are still very relevant and speaking to us today. So how can we make sure that we hear?
My favorite section of this week’s lesson is on p. 93 where Blackaby gives us suggestions that will help us look for God’s direction in our lives:
“If you do not have clear instructions from God in a matter, pray and wait. Learn patience. Depend on God’s timing, which is always right and best. Don’t get in a hurry. He may withhold directions to cause you to seek Him more intently. Don’t try to skip over the relationship to start doing something. God is more interested in a love relationship with you than He is in what you can do for Him. If God is having you wait, He may want to develop a deeper relationship with you before He gives you your next assignment. He may have you wait because the timing is not yet right.”
Hmmm, there it is again. That stuff about relationship. Perhaps you are like me. You KNOW what you want to do for God. And you are ready to do it – RIGHT NOW. Been there? I know I have. And the result has often been frustration. Why isn’t God opening the doors for me to do what I want to do for Him? Why isn’t anything happening? Why isn’t He blessing my plans, my dreams? Sound familiar? Take some time this week to think about that and what it might mean about your relationship with God. We’ll talk about this subject more next time.
YOUR ASSIGNMENT FOR THE WEEK:
- Join a small group for study and fellowship.
- Complete Week 6 in your Experiencing God workbook.
- Optional: Watch the Session 6 video or listen to the audio.
- Record your thoughts in your spiritual journal.
BIBLE STUDY TIP FOR THE WEEK:
Have you noticed the memory verses at the beginning of each week’s lessons? Did you see the scripture memory cards at the back of your workbook? Yes? Well, what are you doing with them?
These verses are tied very cleverly to the lessons each week. Reading the verses, perhaps in several different translations, and meditating on them each day adds to your understanding of the material. Memorizing them takes this experience even deeper.
I recommend finding a way to carry your memory verses with you wherever you go. Use the memory cards, or make your own using index cards in the Bible translation of your choice. I like to paraphrase the verse in my own words on the back of each index card. Another method is to use an App on your phone to record the verses. Look at the verses throughout the day. Read them to yourself, or preferably aloud a few times. When you do that your mind absorbs the verse both visually and auditorially so it does double duty. I also like to write the verses out each day – there is something about the physical act of writing that helps me remember them.
It doesn’t really matter how you chose to memorize your verses – these are just some ideas. Blackaby shares some additional tips for responding to Scripture on p. 105 in your workbook. The important thing is that you don’t just ignore them. They are there for a reason! Give them a try.
DISCUSSION QUESTIONS FOR THIS WEEK (answer in your small group or post your answers here):
1. Describe a time when God told you to wait (p. 92).
2. Has God used a particular Scripture verse from Units 1-5 to speak to you
during the course so far? What verse has God brought to your attention and why? (p. 104-105)
3. Has God spoken to you by the Holy Spirit through prayer during this course? If so, describe what you sensed He was saying. (p. 110)
4. Has God given you any confirmation through the Bible, circumstances or other believers thus far during this course? Describe what you sense He is saying. (p. 110)
5. How have you responded to what God has called to your attention thus far during this course? (p. 96)
If you are having trouble with these concepts or feel you are not hearing God speak, do not worry. We will be spending next week talking again about how God speaks to us and things will be clearer after that. For now, work on your lessons and spend time with Him. Work on the relationship. Bask in His presence. You will be amazed at the results.
See you next week.