Oliver Davis is a six-year-old Kansas boy with an important message for driving in winter weather: “Slow down! That’s it, that’s all you need to do!” He adds this advice: “You can avoid a cranky trooper by slowing down.” His video has now gone viral.
Meanwhile, media experts are highlighting Billy Graham’s pioneering use of radio, television, satellites, and the Internet to spread the gospel. On a more secular note, Warren Buffett praised Apple in an interview yesterday and the company’s shares rose to a near-record high.
What do Oliver Davis, Billy Graham, and Warren Buffett have in common? They illustrate the fact that a single voice can touch the world. But before you and I seek to follow their example, there’s a voice we need to hear.
The seven “love languages” of God
A dear friend met with me recently for lunch. Beforehand, he asked the Lord if there was something he should do for me. The Father directed him to give me the latest book by pastor and best-selling author Mark Batterson. Ironically, its title is Whisper: How to Hear the Voice of God.
In reading the book, I have become more attuned to my Father’s voice. And more grateful for people like my friend who listen to his voice and bless the rest of us as a result.
A disclaimer: I have never been very good at being intuitive. Philosophers say that we know everything we know in one of three ways: the rational, the practical, and the intuitive. We do math rationally; we start a car practically (unless you’re an automotive mechanic, in which case you probably start your car rationally); and we like someone intuitively.
We all do all three, but one tends to dominate our personality. For me, it’s the rational. So much so that if something makes sense to me, that’s usually (and sometimes erroneously) all I need to know. As a result, I can miss other ways God wants to speak to me each day.
Batterson points to Scripture, desires, doors, dreams, people, promptings, and pain as the seven “love languages” of God. Throughout the Bible, we find the Lord speaking to us in all seven ways. As Batterson makes clear, the other six should always be judged in light of God’s word, but all seven can be authentic channels of communication with our Lord.
He notes that listening to God is vital to changing our culture: “The best way to get people to listen to us is for us to listen to God. Why? Because then we’ll have something to say that is worth hearing.” And he reminds us that listening to our Father is essential to experiencing his power: “Prayer is the difference between the best we can do and the best God can do.”
To me, the most profound statement in the book begins as a question: “Is God’s voice the loudest voice in your life? That’s the question. If the answer is no, that’s the problem.”
Two ways to hear the voice of God
What’s your plan for listening more fully, more deeply, and more intentionally to God? I have a recommendation to make this morning. Two, actually.
First: Make time every morning to listen to the Lord. He will speak to you from Scripture, worship, prayer, your environment, and the insights of others. But you must make time to hear his voice.
The pattern of God’s word is clear:
” Jesus’ example: “Rising very early in the morning, while it was still dark, he departed and went out to a desolate place, and there he prayed” (Mark 1:35).
” Moses prayed: “Satisfy us in the morning with your steadfast love, that we may rejoice and be glad all our days” (Psalm 90:14).
” Job “would rise early in the morning” to pray for his family (Job 1:5).
” Even when Saul was hunting him, David prayed, “I will sing aloud of your steadfast love in the morning” (Psalm 59:16).
President Reagan once asked an Air Force One pilot why he always tried to land as close to the beginning of the runway as possible. The pilot’s explanation: “Mr. President, all pilots know you can’t use the runway that’s behind you.”
Two: Get help. The Holy Spirit has inspired some powerful resources for connecting us with our Lord. For instance, I have been reading Oswald Chambers’ My Utmost for His Highest since it was given to me in 1993 and continue to profit daily from its insights. I read each morning from C. S. Lewis and Charles Spurgeon as well.
But I must tell you that the most transforming resource I have discovered for encountering God is First15, a daily devotional written by my son, Craig Denison. You might assume that I’m biased (for obvious reasons!). But I can honestly tell you that First15 leads me into the presence of God every morning in ways I have not experienced before.
Craig begins with a worship video, followed by his brief devotional and a time of guided prayer. The experience is intended to require fifteen minutes or so. From the testimonies of Christians and churches across the nation and beyond, the Holy Spirit is clearly and obviously using First15 to spark spiritual renewal in thousands of lives.
A prayer to begin your day
I hope you’ll resolve with me to listen more carefully to your Father’s voice than ever before. I hope you’ll choose (or continue) to schedule an appointment each morning with your Lord. And I hope you’ll consider First15 as you look for resources that can help you connect more deeply with Jesus.
Let’s close by making David’s prayer ours: “Let me hear in the morning of your steadfast love, for in you I trust. Make me know the way I should go, for to you I lift up my soul” (Psalm 143:8).