How to Hang Out with God

hearing god in conversationUsually I like to finish reading a book before I recommend it to someone else. Today I’m making an exception. I’ve read enough of Hearing God in Conversation: How to Recognize His Voice Everywhere, by Samuel C. Williamson, to know that I didn’t want to wait another moment to recommend it. This is a book I can recommend to every believer—and perhaps even you who doubt God’s existence.

I’ve written about this topic before; see Did You Say Something? from July, 2013 for one such post. I don’t intend to rehash what I wrote then, as I doubt I could express my thoughts much better now. This book, however, surpasses my little post in all ways. Of course, he gets to use an entire book to do so.

Don’t take my word for it. Here are a few quotes to whet your appetite:

Above all else, God wants us to know him personally—he wants a personal relationship. But we mostly want to know direction: “Should I take this job or that job?” We want information; God wants a conversation. We want to know answers; God wants us to know him.

… false expectations about hearing God cause us to overlook the many ways he actually does speak to us.

In all the biblical accounts of men and women who hear God’s word, their principal emotion is fear, not peace; that’s why all the messengers have to exclaim, “Fear not!”

The book covers all the different ways we hear from God, but it goes far beyond that. Chapters include “How to Recognize the Voice of God,” “Hearing God’s Voice for Others,” and “God Shouts in His Silence,” among others. Williamson not only explains what God’s voice is like, but what it isn’t like. In short, he answers all the questions I didn’t even know I had about listening prayer.

For example, one of my ongoing concerns is if I’m really hearing my voice, not God’s.  When it’s something I very much want to do—or not do—does my voice drown out the still, small voice of the Holy Spirit? Am I hearing what I want to hear, instead of what God is saying? Williamson addresses these concerns in chapter 9: “Hijacking the Conversation.”

Williamson’s style is easy and entertaining to read. All this Godly wisdom is couched in stories about his childhood—how he learned these truths from his parents and now passes them along to us. He writes with humility, and grace for those of us learning God’s ways. He doesn’t claim to have all the answers (although he sure has a lot of them!), but rather shares his understanding, learned through his experience of walking with God for many years.

If you’ve been reading my blog for a long time, you may recognize Williamson as the author of Is Sunday School Destroying our Kids?, which I reviewed and recommended back in 2014, as well as the blogger behind Beliefs of the Heart, which I list at right under “Blogs I Read.” Obviously, I’m impressed by the wisdom and insight God has granted him. He’s a pastor in Michigan; if we lived closer, I’d definitely check out his church.

You can find Hearing God in Conversation online at Amazon, etc., and in Christian bookstores. And no, I don’t get paid for writing this glowing review!

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Guilty

Here’s a little quiz for you. When a Christian is caught doing something wrong, we should:

  1. Post it on Facebook
  2. Gloat
  3. Alert the press
  4. Talk to them gently, one on one

I wish the church was full of perfect people. I wish none of us ever did anything wrong—that no Christian ever had an affair, or watched pornography. Never cheated on their taxes or fiddled with the accounting. Never hated, or was slef-righteous, or ignored a person in need.

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I Think You Should Resolve to…

What if someone else made your New Year’s resolutions?

That was the question our pastor posed to us. It got an embarrassed twitter of laughter. Seems we all have something that needs changing, but we don’t want to admit it. Or maybe we do admit it—but we aren’t willing to put out the effort to deal with it. We laugh, but the question obviously hits home.

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Remember When… ?

LAH_1716Christmas is drawing near and there’s still that hard-to-buy-for person on your list. They certainly don’t need more stuff, yet you want to gift them with something special, something that shows how much you appreciate them. Don’t give up. You don’t need to buy that fruit cake or “tower of chocolates.” Invest in a memory instead!

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Read These and Be a Better Wife

As I mentioned a few weeks ago, Pete and I celebrated our anniversary last month. (Well, technically, we haven’t celebrated yet—he was out of town at the time, and now I’m somewhat incapacitated  with an injured back. But we will be celebrating soon. I’m sure we will.)

In addition to the typical romantic dinner out, etc., we have a number of more unusual traditions that we enjoy when our anniversary comes around each year. We had a long distance relationship for our first year dating. This was before such conveniences as email, cell phones with free roaming, and the discovery of electricity. So we wrote letters and put them in envelopes and actually mailed them to one another. We still have those letters, and they’re fun to read and reminisce about how clueless we were back in the day.

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Shared Adversity

We’re going camping this weekend. We are voluntarily giving up our comfortable bed, convenient bathroom (complete with delightfully hot shower), and custom-designed kitchen for a leaky air mattress in a small tent, a pit toilet down the path, a sponge bath, and a two-burner Coleman stove. Afternoon thunderstorms are likely, but at least they’ll settle the dust and bring some relief from the heat. There will probably be mosquitoes, and maybe even bears. We’ll spend a day getting ready to go, and another day putting everything away again, all for two nights in the mountains. We must be crazy. Continue reading

Happy Anniversary?

1979May - P&L Yosemite may79Today is our wedding anniversary. Pete and I made our vows, trusting God to help us keep them. Thirty-eight years later I can honestly say that Pete is still my best friend. I love spending time with him. We’ve been through good times, hard times, and some very exciting times. If asked, we’d say that we have a good marriage. Not perfect, but definitely good.

Today, Pete is in Missouri attending the International Conference on Computing and Mission. I’m home in Colorado, missing him. This is not how we’d plan to celebrate our special day, but we didn’t pick the conference dates. Such is life.

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