I have shared with readers the idea of dialogue with God as opposed to our usual monologue.The latter is typically practised in the form of group intercessory prayers and other means of prepared and rehearsed rituals, etc,. In a public setting it would be impractical to ask each individual exactly what they heard God say, or not say, in response to their particular prayers or needs. And, if we reduce our religious life to church attendance only it might explain why we find it hard to believe that God will speak to us directly.
The idea of dialoging directly with to God, Jesus, Holy Spirit, Abba Father, Creator or whatever name we are comfortable with, can be quite a scary experience for many of us. It becomes even more daunting when we decide to share that experience with other people (warning:be discerning). Strangers could say we were crazy, and some professionals might even recommend psychiatric treatment. And all this gets even more absurd when we hear of extremist and cultist claiming it was God who demanded their violent actions.
But God did invite us to listen to him and revealed himself to many individuals especially in the Old Testament. However in the New Testament God's message becomes more universal. For example John (14:26) tells us "The Holy Spirit will be your teacher and will bring to your mind all I have said to you"? At the same time God frequently speaks to us through other people, nature and other forms off His creation.
One of my most frequently visited blogs ‘Will Everyone Go To Heaven?’ raises the question why so many people seem so concerned about getting to heaven and haven't gotten a convincing answer from the religious institution or anywhere else. A quick scan of the web reveals that an awful lot of people want to know the answer to that question. Here are some of their questions:
Do we go to heaven when we die?
Do homosexuals go to heaven?
Do good people go to heaven?
Do handicapped people go to heaven?
Do pets go to heaven?
Do Muslims go to heaven?
What happens to infants and children who die?
Do people who commit suicide go to heaven?
Do all nice people to heaven?
Do Christians go straight to heaven?
Where do we go when we die?
What must I do to get to heaven?
Do mentally ill people go to heaven?
Will all the righteous people go to heaven?
Will those who have never heard go to heaven?
Will rich people go to heaven?
Believe it or not the questions about heaven today produced not less than 165 Million hits on Google!
These are obviously serious concerns for a lot of people. And it shows that our religious institutions are not doing a particularly good job at helping people to provide them with the answer to one of the most basic questions on their minds. Even more disturbing is the fact to I found more than double that amount (376 Million hits) on Google dealing with questions (in some cases offerubg directions to) about hell.
Now I am sure that there are a variety of answers provided to these questions emanating from our religious institutions and others. Some can be helpful, but many (actually most) are simply outrageous by providing more fear than assurance. But what if you could hear it directly from your Creator (that is how you got here) would that not ultimately satisfy your mind and heart? Now I am not recommending that you sit down right now and present your question to God without some necessary preparation. On the other hand taking out time by yourself on a deserted beach, park bench, or any place where you are likely to be uninterrupted, could be of help to begin listening to God. For me Journaling has proven to be the most direct way to hear God. Secondly being observant of the synchronicities in my life has revealed how God directs his inclusive plan for you and I in so many surprising ways. Be assured that everone will finally hear God's voice in a manner that is congruent to their particular nature and makeup. It is the voice that resonates deep within your heart.
There is a place (as I have discovered) where we often give up our resistance to hearing God speak to us directly. Unfortunately it is a place that most of us would rather avoid. This place is usually found when we are confronted with persistant fear, pain or a sudden life changing/threatening condition . Here, the voice if we dare to allow it, becomes so clear it instills us with an awe we probably have never experienced before. It is here that we encounter the burning bush of God’s unconditional love and presence. As I stated in my previous blog, it is here that God revealed that our life is not about us, but about God experiencing himself through us -experiencing all our pain, fear and suffering! Fear and pain are a hell of place to be but we have been assured that Jesus both descends to and will rescues us from, that hell to bring us back to a life that is meant to be lived to the full. And it is here that we can safely release our concerns about heaven and hell.