What is LISTEN WHEN HE SPEAKS?
Listen When He Speaks is a monthly Scripture reading and writing plan inspired by Evelyn Christenson’s devotional Bible reading method, called Read Until He Speaks, and Scripture-writing plans that are growing in popularity. It’s like old-school Bible journaling, before painting on your Bible pages became a thing.
What does it mean to read until God speaks?
You know those times when you’re reading Scripture, and a verse or a phrase stops you in your tracks? It speaks to a need or a question you may or may not have recognized in yourself.
When God speaks to through His Word, what He says usually falls into one or more of these four categories:
Character: He reveals to me more of Who He Is. Wow.
Comfort: He breathes healing into an ache or emptiness. Ahhh.
Confirmation: He lets me know I’m on the right track. Yes!
Conviction: He points out where I’m going wrong and need to yield. Ouch.
When He brings you up short, don’t just brush it off and keep moving, stop to listen.
Each month has a themed reading list, and a suggested passage to memorize.
Daily selections are longer than typical Scripture-writing passages, but rarely more than one chapter. Not to scare you off if you’re looking for a non-threatening way to ease yourself into, or back into, a habit of daily devotional Bible reading, but sometimes you may find God drawing you on to read more than what’s listed.
On the other hand, He may stop you in the first verse.
God’s primary method of speaking to us is through His Word. But so often we believe we’re too busy to take the time to read our Bible, let alone conscientiously meditate on what it says.
We long to hear from God, but we won’t slow down long enough, or quiet our thoughts and heart enough, to listen.
The plan is to approach each reading less like an item on our checklist, and more as an opportunity to be blessed by a deeper understanding of God, His Purpose, ourselves, and our part in His Plan.
The goal is not to merely read the words of the day’s passage, but to hear God through them. If God knocks you down with an invitation to stop right there, read no further. Soak in what He said, and let it soak into you for the rest of the day, or longer if that’s what it requires. Sometimes God gives us an answer for the moment. Sometimes the meditation of a day is sufficient. Sometimes He uses a single passage to work a longer process of growth.
And we never know when He’ll bring something we’ve hidden our hearts back to mind when we need it.
Why Listen When He Speaks?
Listen When He Speaks is not just a checklist when properly done, but it is just a tool.
This little plan is imperfect. But here’s what I love best about it, and every other time we pick up our Bible: God’s Word is living and active (Hebrews 4:12), and God has always known exactly when we’d be listening for His Voice in the passage we read.
It’s mind-boggling. Awesome, in the best sense of the word.
The purpose of reading and writing as we go is to slow down enough for God’s Words to sink in. To read, to learn, to write, to meditate, to be changed.
Listen When He Speaks is an opportunity to exercise our Scripture-study muscles and gain confidence to learn what God’s Word says from God’s Word. I hope it encourages you to take a deeper jump not only into Bible-reading, but also into Bible study.
How often do we rely on someone else to tell us what God’s Word says, what it means, and how it should be applied in our lives?
Where Do We Start?
The best place to start when reading God’s Word to hear Him speak is with prayer. Each of us has a lens through which we view, well, everything. It has been colored by our experiences, and warped by misconceptions we didn’t recognize as lies.
We should ask God for clear eyes, open minds, and soft hearts to see, believe, and accept His Truth regardless of how it fits our preconceived ideas, or how it makes us feel.
What Do We Write?
As we start each reading with the understanding that God gives wisdom in response to our request for it (James 1:5), and with an expectation that He’ll speak to us as we place ourselves in a position to listen, we need to focus on the page before us. When the words jump out at us, we need to stop.
Read the portion again. The verse, the phrase, maybe even a paragraph, or sometimes a single word. Write it down.
Consider, and write about, the following:
Does what you wrote tell you something about God?
Does it speak to a situation in your life, or a condition of your mind or heart?
Does it suggest a necessary change in an attitude or behavior?
Does it speak grace to gratefully pass on to someone else?
Are you confused by the words God stopped you on? Willfully? Thinking that you must have heard wrong because God wouldn’t be saying that, at least not to you?!? See Cautions below.
Which of the four C’s does this speak to, and what could my new understanding ask of me?
After we write down the words from Scripture God used to speak to us, what it revealed to us, and how it could be applied to our life, we need to keep letting God speak to us by meditating on His words.
Society’s progress through the twentieth century and the rise in popularity of Eastern and New Age mysticism caused many well-meaning Christians to back away from the term meditation. It can still cause discomfort and confusion. But what does it actually mean, if it’s not some woo-hoo disengage-your-brain type of spirituality?
Well, basically, it just means to think about. We don’t want to pick up our Bible and just read it for head knowledge. We don’t want to just stop to listen when God speaks to us, or even just write down the passage. We want to take God’s Word with us through the day, in a way that changes us.
Prayer, and conscientiously maintaining a humble approach, are key. Using isolated Bible verses to reinforce what we want to believe is dangerous and self-defeating.
When considering how to apply a particular Scripture passage to your life, consider the context. We’ll get more into that later.
Remember that all Scripture should be interpreted in light of the rest of the Bible. If there’s something you’ve read in the Bible that you want to better understand, find out what else the Bible says about it. There are many resources to help you find specific references. If you’re not sure where to find what you need, feel free to get in touch and I’ll do my best to point you in the right direction to find the resources you need.
In a Nutshell
2017 Theme List
September: You Make Me Bold
We changed things up a bit for September – Check out the blog series!
December: God with Us
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