Hearing God’s Voice

By Julian Wells

“As has just been said: ‘Today, if you hear his voice, do not harden your hearts as you did in the rebellion.’” (Hebrews 3:15 NIV)

There are a number of ways God speaks to us today, but his primary means of communication is through his written Word. That is why I try to start each day reading the Bible before other earthly distractions clamor for my attention.

But all too often I have been guilty of reading it just to maintain a reading plan without truly digesting what God is saying to me. Doing so results in prejudging the content to align with my preconceived interpretations and inclinations, leaving little room for the Spirit to guide me in a different direction.

We should never be so nonchalant about the best opportunity we have each day to hear the voice of God.

Years ago, after hearing a message by Dr. Charles Stanley on this topic, I recorded in the cover of my Bible ten ways we should read God’s Word to establish the ideal mindset to hear his voice. We must read it:

  1. Eagerly
  2. Attentively
  3. Trustingly
  4. Expectantly
  5. Prayerfully
  6. Patiently
  7. Humbly
  8. Purposefully
  9. Joyfully
  10. Repentantly

Remembering to adopt these postures as I read God’s Word has served me well through the years. When I do so, I rarely fail to hear God’s voice. He shows me things I’ve never noticed before. He feeds me, strengthens me, challenges me, humbles me, and gives me ideas for reflections to share with others.

If your life is too busy to read the Bible this way, then your life is simply too busy. When Christ walked among us, it was clear to all who encountered him that his teaching was unlike any before him, and yet so many missed his glory and majesty. We must not make that same mistake by allowing trivial pursuits to keep us from the awesome privilege of hearing God’s voice through the pages of his Word.

“I must honestly declare my conviction that, since the days of the Reformation, there never has been so much profession of religion without practice, so much talking about God without walking with Him, so much hearing God’s words without doing them.” – J.C. Ryle

But God

“You intended to harm me, but God intended it for good to accomplish what is now being done, the saving of many lives.” (Genesis 50:20)

“David stayed in the desert strongholds and in the hills of the Desert of Ziph. Day after day Saul searched for him, but God did not give David into his hands.” (1 Samuel 23:14)

“My flesh and my heart may fail, but God is the strength of my heart and my portion forever.” (Psalm 73:26)

“But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us.” (Romans 5:8)

“When they had carried out all that was written about him, they took him down from the cross and laid him in a tomb. But God raised him from the dead.” (Acts 13:29-30)


Did you notice the two-word phrase found in each of these passages? Those two words are rich with hope for times like these. In this week before we celebrate Easter, we are especially drawn to that last passage from the Book of Acts. The enemy thought he was finally victorious in his lifelong opposition against the King of the universe, “but God” raised him from the dead.

The virus that continues to spread across the globe has gripped our world with fear and uncertainty about the future. But God is still perfect in his love. He is still infinite in his wisdom. And God is, and forever will be, sovereign in his control.

No matter what you may face today, those circumstances do not get the final word. Our enemy is a great deceiver, but he does not get the final word. This coronavirus is invisible and deadly, but for those who know our resurrected Savior, it does not get the final word.

Because there is always a “but God” who works in all things “for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose.” (Romans 8:28 NIV) And he always gets the final word.

Note: All Scripture references from the New International Version (NIV)

Eight Powerful Words

By: Julian Wells

“Be still and know that I am God.” (Psalm 46:10 NIV)

Sometimes, it’s the simplest Bible verses that have the greatest impact when we face the inevitable challenges of life. And the events of recent weeks in our nation and around the world certainly qualify as challenging and fearful. Almost five years ago I published this article which I have edited in light of those current events.

In my mind, I don’t know if there are eight more powerful words to minister to us in times like these than those found in Psalm 46:10, “Be still and know that I am God.” Such a simple verse, easily memorized, yet packed with extraordinary theology and practical application.

Implicit in those eight words are the ideas of rest, trust, reflection, and surrender – all essential elements of the abundant life Christ desires for each of us (John 10:10). But in these troubling times they take on even greater significance.

In my writing and teaching, I often stress the importance of spiritual disciplines, such as prayer, Bible Study, worship, and service in the Body of Christ. But another discipline that is often overlooked is that of listening to God. In fact, in my experience, it may be the most important spiritual discipline.

And no verse of Scripture better sets the stage for listening to God than “Be still, and know that I am God.” Voicing those words in my mind several times a day has a way of quieting my spirit so that I am better able to hear his still, small, but unmistakable voice. They so effectively convey the promise of God’s continued presence and intervention in our lives for good. (Romans 8:28)

No matter what circumstances you are facing in your life today, I promise you Psalm 46:10 will minister to your heart.

  • Grieving over the loss of a loved one? … Be still, and know that he is God.
  • Wrestling with a life-changing decision? … Be still, and know that he is God.
  • Out of work or considering a job change? … Be still, and know that he is God.
  • Considering a move to a new home? … Be still, and know that he is God.
  • Dealing with a financial hardship? … Be still, and know that he is God.
  • Stricken with a life-threatening illness? … Be still, and know that he is God.
  • Perplexed by the endless mysteries of life? … Be still, and know that he is God.
  • Or paralyzed with fear over the threat of a global pandemic? … Be still, and know that he is God. (But also be prudent and maintain social distancing!)

Bottom line – there is no situation or circumstance you may face this day or for the rest of your life for which Psalm 46:10 will not comfort you, encourage you, and give you a clear sense of direction. I challenge you to stop several times each day, quiet your mind, and let God minister to your heart as you rest in the truth conveyed in those eight powerful words, “Be still, and know that I am God.”

I guarantee you it will be time well spent.

“Thou will keep him in perfect peace, whose mind is stayed on thee; because he trusteth in thee.” (Isaiah 26:3 KJV)

Love That Shows

“Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It is not rude, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres. Love never fails.” (1 Cor. 13: 4-8 NIV)

In John 11:35, Jesus said that the defining characteristic of his followers should be our love for one another. People can only see that love in us through our actions. That old adage that actions speak louder than words should be especially true of us, considering who we are representing- the God who is love. 1 John 3:18 (ESV) tells us, “Little children, let us not love in word or talk but in deed and in truth.”

And yet, sadly, too often our actions (starting with me) look more aligned with those outside the faith rather than the standards so well articulated by Paul in those opening words from 1 Corinthians 13. Perhaps the answer as to why the church seems to be waning in its influence on the world might be found in that observation.

“If we have got the true love of God shed abroad in our hearts, we will show it in our lives. We will not have to go up and down the earth proclaiming it. We will show it in everything we say or do.” – Dwight L. Moody

Clothed With Compassion

Therefore, as God’s chosen people, holy and dearly loved, clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness, and patience.” (Colossians 3:12 NIV)

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Kindness, compassion, humility, gentleness, and patience seem to be in short supply these days. The society around us is looking more and more like the days Paul described in 2 Timothy 3:2-4 where so many have become “lovers of themselves, lovers of money, boastful, proud, abusive, disobedient to their parents, ungrateful, unholy, without love, unforgiving, slanderous, without self-control, brutal, treacherous, rash, conceited, lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God.”

May our lives as Christians stand in such stark contrast to those trends that it demands an explanation. May we always be quick to explain that the hope, kindness, compassion, humility, gentleness, and patience others see in us is rooted in a relationship with the Lord Jesus Christ. And may we always be prepared to introduce them to the Savior who “bore our sins in his body on the tree, that we might die to sin and live to righteousness.” (1 Peter 2:24 ESV)

“If you could only sense how important you are to the lives of those you meet; how important you can be to the people you may never even dream of. There is something of yourself that you leave at every meeting with another person.” – Fred Rogers