Last week a teacher at a local junior high school asked me how I know it when God is speaking to me. I proceeded to share two stories when I felt God had specifically spoken through somewhat amazing (to me, anyway) circumstances.
Far more often, however, I find God speaks when I stumble across the same biblical truth – whether arcane or obvious -- “coincidentally” placed in two or three seemingly unrelated environments. For example, once a few years back a pastor friend first heard me and then two other people who don’t even know each other all share from the same rarely heard passage in the book of Ezekiel, all within a couple weeks of each other. Do you think God might have been trying to communicate something through that passage?
Being dull-witted, I have to be lovingly batted over the head like this sometimes in order for God to get my attention as well. Anyway, earlier this week He did. This past Sunday I visited a local church in which the pastor’s wife spoke about the glory of God. When the bible says “all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God” what is meant by the glory of God? As God’s children progress down the road of sanctification, dealing with the root sin issues in our lives, we give more and more glory to Him. We reflect the character and glory of the Father as we grow in intimacy with Him.
How do we succeed in this journey? The key, according to the speaker that day, is remaining in the love of the Father, going back always and repeatedly every day throughout the day to the love which the Father has for us. One practical way the speaker said we should do this is by addressing our prayers not to “God” (general term 神), but always and only to “Abba Father”.
I mentioned this last point about praying exclusively to “Abba Father” the next day to a coworker, who without knowing the context strongly objected.
Amazing! Later that same day as I was passing time on the train, I tuned in randomly to one of many downloaded sermon podcasts stored in my mp3 player. Ten minutes into his message, the speaker said the only time he recalled Jesus praying to “God” was in the moment of His greatest separation from Abba Father as He hung dying for us on the cross: “My God, my God, why have you forsaken me? (Matt 27:46, Mark 15:34, see also Psalm 22:1). You can listen to that powerful segment below or the entire message here.
How did Jesus instruct us to pray in the first line of the Lord’s prayer? Anyway, that’s one way Abba Father has spoken to me so far this week.