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Remembrance- Reflections on Lent

Tears streamed down my face and a cry came from my own voice as I heard shouts of agony coming from the cross.  Just three years old at the time, the cries I heard from the cross were voiced by my father; a minister in our small town, he had been asked to play the part of Jesus in a reenactment of the crucifixion during ‘Holy Week’ – the week of Easter that remembers the death and resurrection of Jesus.  Of course my father’s shouts were fabricated for the enactment, but to my three-year-old heart it was all too real as the pounds of a hammer boomed into the crowd and my father’s screams indicated the pain of being nailed to a cross.

Years later I may have forgotten those exact moments when the reality of suffering became real to my tender heart, but the impact of facing the pain of someone who I loved more than anyone in the world remained with me. 

How can there be so much pain?

Why does pain affect those I love?

Would someone really choose agony in order to protect me?

Every year after that pivotal moment of my childhood, when it came time for church gatherings and events that recognized the death of Jesus, my heart would be gripped with grief and emotion that challenged me to reckon with suffering – not only that of my father, or even that of the world, but that of the very One who created me and formed my innermost being.  The One whose comforting presence I sensed in the darkest nights; the One whom I loved more than anyone in the world. 

How could I, year after year, choose to remember?

Remember the pain. 

Remember the agony. 

Remember His choice. 

For a while I chose to forget.  Not able and not willing to come to grips with the fact that my beloved’s love for me would cause the greatest suffering, I tried to hide.  I looked for ways to deny myself in order to feel like I was worthy.  To feel like I could make up for something horrible. 

Until I had nothing left. 

Until the reality of my fragile, meaningless efforts became stark enough to make me realize the darkness of the tomb I had buried myself in.

Until the eyes of my fragile heart finally met the kindness of His gaze, and the brightness of it resurrected life into every area of my darkened existence. 

Until remembrance finally brought freedom. 

Galatians 2:20-21

My old identity has been co-crucified with Messiah and no longer lives; for the nails of his cross crucified me with him.  And now the essence of this new life is no longer mine, for the Anointed One lives his life through me – we live in union as one! My new life is empowered by the faith of the Son of God who loves me so much that he gave himself to me, and dispenses his life into mine!

So that is why I don’t view God’s grace as something minor or peripheral. For if keeping the law could release God’s righteousness to us, the Anointed One would have died for nothing. 


- Emily Elling, Staff 2019

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Worship and Art

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Art and worship go hand in hand. When we worship God we want to give him something of ourselves. The goal is to give him everything, every last part of our being, since that's what he gave for us. But it's hard to give yourself when you don't fully know who you are.

That's where art comes in. Art, in essence, is the expression of a part of the being of the artist. Any piece of art that a person makes is really a part of themselves reflected onto another object or media.

So when we want to dedicate specific time to worshiping and honoring God it is very fitting to create a piece of art. The art doesn't have to be 'spiritual' per se. Nor does is need to do specifically with an aspect of God's character as revealed in scripture, the cross, etc. It just has to reflect a part of who you are. Which it will, because you made it.

Maybe it's not even happy or particularly pretty. Maybe it's just an honest expression of your feelings at the moment or the way you see your life in your current situation. Just the act of creating something that is in it's very essence a part of who you are is what brings glory to God and joy to his heart. Maybe you don't know completely who you are and have a hard time knowing how to give yourself to God. But when you are honest and real with God and you submit in your heart those things to him (your thoughts, feelings, or circumstances), then he is able to 1) delight in the beauty that is your being and this small reflection of your essence, and 2) show you the way that he sees you, your feelings, and even your current situation.

So go ahead, art on. Pick a media you feel you can express yourself in and get creating. It's art, your media can be literally anything. As you express yourself you start to get a better idea of what is going on inside of you. And as you better get to know yourself, you can be more equipped to give of yourself, all of yourself, to the creator God who gave himself for you.

- Alyssa Swanson

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Rejoice in the Truth

Kallie Larson is live-in staff at YWAM Minneapolis’ Maternity home called The Nest, where she has been serving for just over three years. Here, she relates what God was speaking to her through worship to her experience working in the home. 


“And God separated the light from the darkness…” (Genesis 1)
Matthew 25:34-40
“Then the King will say to those on His right, “Come, you who are blessed by my Father, inherit the Kingdom prepared for you from the creation of the world. For I was hungry, and you fed me. I was thirsty, and you gave me a drink. I was a stranger, and you invited me into your home. I was naked, and you gave me clothing. I was sick, and you cared for me. I was in prison, and you visited me.”
“Then these righteous ones will reply, ‘Lord, when did we ever see you hungry and feed you? Or thirsty and give you something to drink? Or a stranger and show you hospitality? Or naked and give you clothing? When did we ever see you sick or in prison and visit you?”
“And the King will say, ‘I tell you the truth, when you did it to one of the least of these my brothers and sisters, you were doing it to me!’”
Matthew 11:28-30
“Then Jesus said, “Come to me, all of you who are weary and carry heavy burdens, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you. Let me teach you, because I am humble and gentle at heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy to bear, and the burden I give you is light.”
Sometimes living and working in what YWAM would call a Mercy Ministry begins to feel like carrying a huge burden. It is easy to be consumed with the need all around, and choose to succumb to feelings of guilt, helplessness and fear. 
At this week’s corporate time of worship, we sang Jon Thurlow’s “Eyes of Mercy”, in which the chorus sings:
“I take up your yoke, I know that it’s so easy, I take up your burden, it’s light.”
Now, for the last few days I have been pondering this thought;
Why, Lord, do I often feel like I am carrying something so heavy, when you say that the burden you give me is light?
The Lord has been good to me in sharing His heart for me. When I asked Him, I immediately heard the still soft voice of the Holy Spirit speak to me, “Rejoice in the truth.” 
If I truly rejoiced in the truth that God shares through His Spirit and word, I wouldn’t cringe in conflict, but would stand firm with a heart of love and joy.
If I truly rejoiced in the truth, my heart would be glad for those hearing and experiencing the gospel, rather than fearful of what they might think.
Rejoicing in the truth could change everything.
If we do not rejoice in the truth, if we do not love it, crave it, live for it, then it WILL become a burden that’s too heavy for us to bear.
What I hear in my spirit is, “you do not need to martyr yourself for what I already paid the price for.” 
Jesus carried the heavy burden of injustice - it was put fully upon His shoulders on the cross at Calvary. 
Then He rose, and He invites us to be yoked to Him, because He invites us to share in His Kingdom work. 
He does not call us to be yoked to those we are helping and mentoring. He does not call us to be yoked to despair or the belief that even if we gave everything we had, it would still not be enough. 
He asks us to yoke ourselves to Him, and He will share the burden with us, He will make our portion light if we simply trust in Him and walk in obedience REJOICING in the truth. 
A light burden does not mean light-hearted, laughable or shallow. To carry a light burden is to remember who carries the brunt of the weight. 
Sometimes I need the reminder that it’s OK to rejoice, it’s OK to be glad, joyful, child-like. Heaviness may surround us, but God separated the light from the darkness and saw that the light was good (Genesis 1). Jesus asks us to step into the lives of those living in darkness and be the city on the hill, the salt of the earth, the Good Samaritan. We are not to lose our saltiness, not to let our light out, or to carry the burdens of others without any of our own boundaries in place. 
The Lord has been impressing upon me the idea of keeping my gaze upon Him, and turning away from looking to others for praise or approval. How is Jesus served through my actions towards others, in my volunteering, serving and daily life?
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Gifted Brokenness

Gifted brokenness.
His greatest gift was gifted brokenness.
Allowing himself to be broken. To be in pain, and yet to be seen.
His brokenness, his humanity was his gift to us because it was symbolic of His deep, unending, sacrificial, abiding love for us. Teaching us by example of how we should live. How to love so deeply that it hurts.

During his life on earth, He showed us how we should live. Teaching us the importance of honesty, transparency and vulnerable. Embracing relationships and community. He taught truth and only truth. His life was our example. His life was our gift and we are his.

There's a hidden strength that is found in the feeling of weakness. A strength that often has to be learned and isn't easily achieve. A strength to be seen and known. To kneel instead of stand. To be held. It's a humbling of your soul and your pride.

 Our pride in our humanity often keeps us from the greater gift found in humility.

This mentality, this lie that we can do it by ourselves must cease to exist. Because we can't. We deceive ourselves and end up shaming ourselves over our weaknesses, failures and mistakes. This was not the way it was meant to be.

He created us with a desire and a need to live in coexistence. To do life together and not alone. Yet, today, so many of us strive to do it alone as if it is an accomplishment and something to be celebrated. And it's not.

It feels like a sin to admit a weakness. We strive for excellence and hide the mistakes, and pitfalls in ourselves. The places we know exist but pretend to ignore.

We pride ourselves in the "I can do it." independent human mentality. But what if, for just once, we humbled ourselves for a mere moment to share in the brokenness of another. To share. To allow yourself to share with them the brokenness of their lives but also of yours. What a gift.

To humble your humanity and share in His gifted brokenness that He has for each of us. Gifted brokenness. Yes. This is a good thing. He knows us.

We were not meant to be alone. Created for perfection but so missing the mark that we set too high and can never attain. He comes down to us. Embracing us for who we are. Sharing in our brokenness. Healing our broken hearts. He comes down. He calls us His.

He humbled himself and lifts us up.

He calls us to more. So much more. What a gift He gives and what a gift it is to share in His gift of gifted brokenness.

You were not meant to be alone. Share with Him and with others in your  brokenness. Share with other's in theirs. Encourage one another and let someone know that they're not alone.

Share in His gifted brokenness.

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Your hidden glory in all creation

Walking around the lake in the early evening, my heart yearned to reflect clearly the heart of God even as the lake reflected the heavenly masterpiece of white clouds, sunshine, and colors of dusk above. 

“How do I walk in a way worthy of Your gospel?”

This is the question I asked my Lord as I walked. The path in front of me curved and bended winsomely in different directions, but always stayed inside the boundaries true to itself. Its width never changed even as it lead me sometimes in unexpected directions. Without seeing it with my eyes, but somehow knowing it in my heart, I knew the Lord responded to my question with a gentle, kind, and just a bit rueful smile as I walked upon this winding path. He knows me so much better than I know myself, and sometimes chooses to lead me on adventures that challenge me to leave behind boxes or safety nets, ways of thinking about Him that leave me comfortable but truly knowing and experiencing His almighty goodness. He doesn’t frighten me with these adventures, because His way may take many turns but its boundaries don’t change. The way of truth is a narrow way with a broad path to my feet.

Bringing my ponderings back into focus of the present moment, I chose to simply be aware of the Lord’s presence, His closeness with me, as I waited to understand what it was He had for me to do. Soon I came upon a group of partiers taking advantage of a hot Friday night by the lake. I continued past them, but stopped at a small, vacant gazebo several yards off. The only specific action I sensed the Lord give me was to worship. To dance with Him, just like I love to do. So I turned on worship music from my phone and began to dance, expressing to God the highest magnitude possible of my gratitude to Him, my faith in Him, my love for Him. For me, time stands still in these kinds of moments. However, reality soon sped up, and each of those precious moments of exchange - expressing love to Him and receiving more and more of Love’s expression - became invaluable to prepare for the next moment’s encounter.

A scantily clad young woman from the partiers’ group ran up and began dancing beside me, but not with the intention of worship. She was booty dancing and seeking the attention of the group, receiving cat calls and laughter as a response. As she started dancing I stopped and, quite honestly, took a moment to give a rueful glance back to the Lord as I asked Him about the best way to respond! What I received from the Holy Spirit in that moment was wisdom as to the spiritual atmosphere. I realized that Satan wanted to place the attention on himself and take it away from the Lord, but the Lord would use the opportunity to take what was exposed as darkness and expel it with light.

After several moments of the raucous dancing, the young woman stopped and looked at me. I looked at her, and waited for what she wanted to say.

“What are you doing?” she asked me. “I saw you dancing. It was a really interesting kind of dance. Were you doing ballet or something? What were you doing?”

Meekly yet straightforwardly I replied, “I am worshipping Jesus.”

“Oh...” was her initial response. I could see in her face she wasn’t sure what she should think about this, and she was nervous about what I thought of her.

“Sorry if what I was doing offended you,” she said.

I shook my head to indicate she had nothing to worry about, and quickly stuck out my hand for a handshake before she could run back to the partiers’ group. “What’s your name?”

She told me her name, and I told her it was beautiful. She took another look at me. Then she asked me a question I wasn’t expecting.

“Will you teach me to do that?”

“What?” I replied.

“Will you teach me to do that kind of dance you were doing? It’s beautiful; I want to try.”

This was one of those twists on the path of this adventure, but I knew the Lord was holding me safe within the boundaries of His love, so I said, “Yes, sure I’ll teach you!”

I turned my worship music back on, and took her hand as we did simple pliés together standing under the gazebo. Soon another woman from the group came over and asked what we were doing. “She’s worshipping Jesus, and teaching me to dance!” my new friend explained. I thought to myself that I was grateful that if nothing else, by the end of this encounter this precious young woman would have a new perspective on dancing!

There we were, three of us hand-in-hand under a gazebo on a hot Friday evening, practicing pliés and relevés and tendus to the rhythm of “You were the Word at the beginning, one with God the LORD Most High! Your hidden glory in creation, to revealed in You our Christ! What a beautiful name...” (Hillsong “What a Beautiful Name”)

My new friends later walked back to their group and had a few more sips of beer and some more raucous laughs. But I know that through even a moment experiencing the glory and presence of God something was changed in their hearts. It will be their choice whether or not they choose to seek Him out more, and with that unknown I simply entrust it to the Lord. I know He will never stop pursuing them, even as I remember back to His relentless pursuit of my own heart. I pray for them. I have faith for their salvation.

And as for me, I continue to stand in awe of His brilliance, and with humble delight reflect His glory even as the heavens glisten their reflection off of the still water.


- Emily Elling

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Dear Aby #3- The existence of God

Dear Aby,

Here are some great comments from Greg Koukl (Founder of Stand To Reason) on the four big questions:

All the big questions, —issues of origin, meaning, morality, and destiny—and all the secondary concerns, too—issues of sex, gender, liberty, equality, bodily rights, etc.—eventually come down to one. Are we our own, or do we belong to Someone else? If there is a God, then, to borrow from C.S. Lewis, we are the tenants and He is the Landlord. If there is no God, then all is clay and nothing but clay.

Thus, the God question is the first question whose answer lays the foundation for answers to all the others. That foundational question comes in two steps for modern people: Does God exist? If so, is He good? For Christianity to make sense in the face of the social pushback and the spirit of this age, both issues need to be addressed.
Let me offer you, in a nutshell, what I think is the easiest, most powerful way, strategically, to make your case for God. I have been using it a long time in a variety of ways, though it really came together for me quite by accident when my eldest daughter, then about eight years old, asked me an important question.

“Papa,” Annabeth asked, “how do we know God is true?” She was already a Christian, baptized at six, but was now trying to connect the dots, not regarding the “What?” but regarding the “Why?” “Why God?” was her question.

What do you say to a youngster who already believes in God but is not sure why belief in God is defensible? That was my challenge. And nothing technical would do, not at her age.

I thought for a moment how I could say something meaningful in a simple way. Then an idea crystallized in my mind. “Annabeth,” I said, “the reason we believe God is true is that God is the best explanation for the way things are.” The minute I said it I realized I had summed up in a single sentence a major thrust of how I had approached defending Christianity for decades.

You might call the principle the explanatory power of Christian theism; that is, the important details of the Christian worldview make good sense of what we actually discover the world to be like. It turns out that the picture of reality the Bible presents fits the world as we discover it and resonates with our deepest intuitions about origin, meaning, morality, and destiny.

Note the advantage to this “best explanation” strategy. There’s no need to dismissively deny the possibility of other options. We can give fair consideration to the alternatives. We’re not offering the only explanation, just the best one, all things considered.

Our confidence is based on a point I have made before: Reality is on our side. My point with Annabeth was that Christianity explains reality best, that the existence of God makes sense of features of the world that, without Him, would be unlikely in the extreme. Other worldview stories do not fare well by this standard because certain obvious features of the world simply do not fit into their narrative, putting them on a collision course with reality. So fix this fact first in your mind: God is the best explanation for the way things are.

Grandpa Larry

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Dear Aby #2

Hi Aby,

The Question of Origin asks, “How did life begin?” and “How did the universe and mankind come into existence?  The Christian worldview holds the belief that every existing thing, including humans, is the result of a personal God and Creator.  

A secular humanistic worldview rejects any thought of God and denies His existence. It says we are the product of random acts of nature with no real purpose.  

A Christian worldview, on the other hand says, we are God’s creation, designed to govern the world and fellowship with Him. ( Genesis 1:27-282:15)

The issue of origin affects how a person understands identity and human value. The question of identity seeks to answer, “What does it mean to be human?” and “Are humans more important than animals?" 

The Christian worldview holds the belief that mankind is a special creation of God who has created the human race above the animal kingdom with the responsibility of ruling over the animals and taking care of them. In contrast, the Secular Humanism worldview does not consider humans greater in value than animals because they are viewed to come from the same species. Their belief is that only through evolution have humans become more sophisticated animals.

Secular Humanists believe that there is no God, that science and the scientific process have made God obsolete. Humanists believe that only matter – things we can touch, feel, prove, or study – exists and has always existed. A human being is only matter (no soul or spirit). No supernatural explanation is needed for the existence of this matter.

The Christian worldview affirms of the existence of an intelligent, powerful, loving, just, and awesome God who exists in the Trinity of Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. From the Christian perspective, “In the beginning God” (Genesis 1:2) is the foundation for all meaning.

The Christian worldview sees every human being as intrinsically valuable because each person has been created in the likeness and image of God. Each person has been formed by God and is a unique, priceless "masterpiece."  God "breathed" into the first human the breath of life and created humans with a soul and spirit. Thus, as opposed to animals, humans have the capacity to have a relationship with God.

There is obviously much more that can be said about the question of origin, but I want to keep my message short, so that's it for now.

Love you,  Grandpa

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The "Dear Aby" letter #1

A few weeks ago the Lord stirred my heart to begin writing to my granddaughter, Aby, in order to prepare her for the mindsets she may encounter as she goes to college.  I spent many hours researching these topics, knowing that my granddaughter would probably not take the time to do all this research, however, she will read these short e-mails from her grandpa. - Larry (Aby's Grandpa)

Hi Aby,

It was nice to see you at the Basketball game on Saturday and to visit briefly. As I said, I have been thinking about you recently as I have been listening to several lectures on apologetics. (Apologetics simply means giving a defense, or a reasonable argument, for your faith.). 

One of the speakers mentioned that 7 out of 10 young people walk away from their faith when they go to college. To which you replied that you plan to be one of the three that doesn't!!! Good for you. ☺

I want to support you in that commitment by sending you some information that could prepare you to deal with questions and issues that may come your way in a university setting. You may be challenged by professors and fellow students about your faith in ways you haven't been during your high school years.

1 Peter 3:15 tells us that we are always to be prepared “to give an answer (make a defense) to everyone who asks you to give the reason for the hope that is in you.”  

If you have a test coming up in a course, but you know ahead of time what the questions will be, you will have no problem with the test. You can look up the answers ahead of time and be confident when exam time comes. So, I want to give you some of the questions ahead of time. Hopefully, some of my input will help you think about these issues.  

Maybe you have thought about some of these things already and you are more prepared than I think, If so, then my input will be a good review for you and a confirmation of things you already know. 

Every person has a way in which they interpret and view the world they live in. It is called their Worldview. You have grown up with a Christian Worldview. You interpret your world from the perspective of Christian values and teachings found in the Bible. As you know, many people in our culture no longer have a Christian worldview. They have a secular or humanistic view of the world.

Every worldview seeks to answer four big questions, as I told you on Saturday. They are the question of:

  1. 1. Origin  – Where do we come from?
    2. Meaning – Why are we here?
    3. Morality – What’s right and what’s wrong?
    4. Destiny – Where are we going?

So, lets start with the big questions and then look at some other ones later. How would you answer these four questions and how do you think a secular humanist would answer them? Why do you think your answers are reasonable and why are they superior to a secular worldview? You might want to consider writing out your answers to make them more concrete in your mind.

I will send you my thoughts about these questions in my next message. 


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Worship- Unseen resistance

tpd angel demon art

by Belinda V. Kuhn

As a worship leader, I often extend the invitation to "Come and praise Jesus" and, just

as often, get the reaction of faces staring back at me like animals frozen in my

headlights. What follows next is comparable to waking up a sleepy teenager on

Saturday morning as the music team attempts to stir souls into expressing their


Why is it so difficult to enter into worship? Why it is difficult to voice our praise, give

thanks or even to focus our attention on God? One of those reasons may be that

worship is an old battleground and that there is unseen resistance to our praising God.

Several years ago, on a summer mission outreach in Prague, Czech Republic, this

resistance became very visible…

Our team’s objective was clear: to lift up the name of Jesus in the city. Each

day we asked God to show us how we could exalt His name. So it was that one

afternoon all nineteen of us zigzagged through the city streets, praying and singing


As I led our convoy, flanked by the four young children in our team, I suddenly saw a

very dark character ahead: an artist who painted devil paintings. I was concerned for

our kids and kept my eye on him as we approached. While we were still out of earshot

I suddenly saw a most amazing display - the man looked towards us and then bowed,

covering his eyes and ears until we passed by! What I saw and will never forget was a

visible demonstration of what was taking place in the unseen spiritual realm – the

forces of darkness in his soul were bowing before the presence of Jesus!

Since that day I have sought to gain a greater understanding of the power of our

worship through studying the Scriptures.

In the Bible we can read about the Ark of the Covenant as an visible example of what is

actually taking place in the heavenly realms, or the unseen world (Hebrews 8:5; 9:23,

24). On top of the Ark (Hebrews 9:5), the presence of Almighty God is encircled by

special angels called “cherubim” (Exodus 25:22) whose purpose it was to worship God

and to lead the heavenly host in worship. (Rev.4: 6-11)

One of these cherubim ‘worship leaders’ was Lucifer. (Isa.14:12-14; Ezek 28:12-19).

Being so close to God’s glory night and day, Lucifer made a fateful decision when pride

rose in his heart - he wanted to be worshipped and was able to persuade at least onethird

of the angels into idolatry (Rev.12:4). Consequently, the other two-thirds of all

created angels, led by Michael the archangel, threw Lucifer and his minions out of

heaven (Rev.12:9). Now there were thousands upon thousands of fallen angels exiled

to earth, committed to worship Satan, and Satan planned his revenge.

In the Garden of Eden, Adam and Eve were created to be in loving relationship with

God and to worship Him (Genesis 1:26, 27). God gave them a free will, so they could

freely choose to obey and love Him. This is the prototype of God's design for love –

unconditionally giving your heart to another.

God also delegated some of His authority to Adam & Eve to rule the earth He had

created for them. As long as they lived in right relationship with Him, they remained

under His protection.

Satan’s diabolical plan was to tempt Adam and Eve into disobeying God and in that

way he would obtain a legal right to gain some of their God-given authority and even, if

possible, their allegiance. In Genesis three, we read the tragic story of how Adam and

Eve disobeyed God and came into Satan's clutches. Sin entered the heart of man

and caused a separation in his relationship with God.

Much as we like to think that we could have passed that same test, our daily lives

prove otherwise. The devil is constantly enticing us to choose against God by being

selfish and serving his purposes. We cannot worship both, as the angels found out

long ago. Our choice to love and obey God is at the core of worshipping Him.

Knowing all this, we can clearly see what unseen forces are truly at work when we

intend to express love and praise to God. The enemy is resisting us, trying to silence us

or make us apathetic. Our choice to worship God, to lift up our voice and our hands

and whatever else we need to in expressions of love will defeat Satan's forces in our

lives… and often in the lives of those around us.

Praising God is the act that silences the powers of darkness around us, because we

bow to the truth that Jesus is Lord!

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Knowing Jesus and His voice

by: Jeff Herringshaw2014 2015 DTS THAILAND TEAM 85

The first three of YWAM’s Foundational Values are 1) Know God; 2) Make God Known; 3) Hear God’s Voice. These are truly foundational to any meaningful connection with God. They work together to provide a picture of what it takes to have a living, intimate relationship with our Maker and Savior.

Jesus, whom we are told is the “visible image of the invisible God” (Colossians 1:15) clearly expects those who follow Him to listen for and respond to His voice. Using the metaphor of a shepherd, He says in the Gospel of John, “My sheep listen to my voice; I know them, and they follow me” (John 10:27).

But how is this done? I’ve heard this question often. When I’m praying, how do I know the difference between what are merely my thoughts and what is the actual voice of Jesus? There are lots of “voices” that go through our heads at times – some condemning, some prideful, some self-serving. The answer to the question, however, is similar to the way you distinguish between the voice of your mother or good friend and the voice of a stranger. You just know that voice because it’s so familiar. Yes! It’s because you’ve been listening to them for so long. But that’s only part of recognizing who’s speaking.

You also know the “voice” of your family member or friend according to your experience with his or her character – what that person would or would not say or do that fits with who you know him or her to be. There are some things I am certain would never come from my wife’s mouth, even if others told me that she had said them. I know her that well.

Awhile back, I read a news article that illustrates this.

A young girl was walking home from school one afternoon when a car pulled up beside her and a man rolled down the window. He called her name, telling her that he worked with her mom who had just been in an accident and was being rushed to the hospital. She had asked the man to pick her daughter up from school and bring her to the hospital immediately.

The child was gripped with panic, tears in her eyes as she ran over to the rear door of the car that had been opened for her. Then she stopped. “What is my mother’s name?” she asked with a shaky voice. The man looked at her blankly for a moment, frowned and then hurriedly opened his door to get out of the car. But the girl was already running down the sidewalk back toward the school. The man followed a few steps but quickly returned to his vehicle and drove off.

School officials called the police and the child was soon with her mother who had been at work the entire day and was fine. It was pointed out that the girl had her name written in bold letters across her backpack, easy for someone to talk as if he knew her. But the police were curious to determine what had caused the child to stop and not get in the predator’s vehicle. Her answer was simple: her mom had told her to never get into a car with a stranger. She knew her mother well enough to believe that even in an apparent emergency situation, the woman who loved her would send someone the girl was familiar with to pick her up. The child’s knowledge of her mother’s “voice” had saved her life.

How do we know the voice of Jesus? We start by getting to know His character. What does the Bible reveal about who He is? What does He value? What do His actions that are recorded in scripture tell us about His goodness? His goals? What are some of the things He would never say because such things don’t fit who He is? We can then measure anything we “hear” as we pray against what we have reason to believe to be true about the identity and character of our Good Shepherd, Jesus. This then becomes the foundation for intimately knowing Him and as a result, rightly making Him known.

Jesus is speaking. Do you know Him? Are you listening?

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