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LARGE PARTS OF THIS TEACHING SERIES ARE EXTRACTED FROM THE BOOK:
How To Hear The Voice Of God In A Noisy World, by Teresa Seputis ISBN 0-88419-7557,
published by Charisma House Publishers, 1-800-451-4598
God tends to show up and speak to us from our everyday life experiences. We are simply going about our daily routine and suddenly He breaks in and gives us a revelation from them. These can be fairly simple or they can be incredibly deep. They can be an understanding of God's nature, or they can be directive. (When I share examples, they will sound similar to object lessons. However, an object lesson is a quick event or realization. When God speaks to us through everyday life experiences, these are things we "live" for a more extended period and suddenly the understanding breaks forth.)
Let me share an example from my own life. I will need to give you a little bit of background. I work at a relatively small company of about 50 people. Our offices take three floors in a skyscraper. We started with just one kitchen on the top floor, and we used to all take turns stocking the refrigerator from the company supply room, having a rotation list to assign who's turn it was. But when we added a second kitchen to our bottom floor, the entire "kitchen duty" rotation list got abandoned. For about six months it was chaos. There were always a lot of wonderful things to drink in the supply room, sodas, fruit juices, sparkling waters, etc. But no one ever managed to get them from the supply room into the bottom floor refrigerator so they were cold and accessible. Every time I wanted a diet soda and went to the refrigerator, there was never any in there. In fact there was never much of anything in there.
One day I decided to stock the refrigerator. I went to the supply room and got out about five or six of each type of drink and stacked them neatly in the refrigerator. There were so many types of sodas, iced tea drinks, fruit juices, mineral waters, etc., that it took me two hours to do it and it filled the entire refrigerator. There were even some varieties of drinks I had never heard of. I noticed that the drinks, once available in the refrigerator, tended to go fast and I got into the habit of restocking it twice a day, taking 15 to 20 minutes each time I'd restock. I intended to do it for only a week, but no one else was willing to take it over. So I just sort of kept on doing it. My co-workers appreciated my efforts and frequently said thanks or made other grateful comments. Soon I became the "refrigerator lady." And I began to learn what various people's favorite drinks were and went out of my way to keep them stocked in the fridge.
One week I was sick and I missed two days of work. When I got back the refrigerator was almost empty and many people commented on how much they missed me. I restocked it, but I wondered why no one else chipped in to help out. One day as I was stocking it realized I had not put any grape juice in for a very long time, and that was Andrew's favorite. I added six bottles of grape juice to the refrigerator and they disappeared almost immediately. Then I realized that people took what they wanted out of the refrigerator any time they wanted something. But I was the person who controlled their choices, because they could choose only from the things that I put into the refrigerator.
Suddenly I had a realization of a spiritual truth. Just like I controlled what people's choices were by what I put in the refrigerator, likewise the pastors and teachers at our churches control what our choices are in God. As they make teachings and spiritual truths available to us, we can choose to take them in to our repertoire and incorporate the spiritual principles they give us into our lives. We can pretty much take them if we want them like my co-workers could open the refrigerator and take out a soda. But when they don't make certain teachings or spiritual truths available to us, then we can't "reach in and grab them." I began to realize how important it is, in our local churches, to have a well-rounded and balanced set of teaching and training available. For instance, if we never teach people about tithing (we all hate talking about money, right?) then we deny them knowing about an important aspect of their Christian walk. The same is true of holiness, worship, inner healing, prayer, etc. Those of us in leadership need to ensure that our church's spiritual refrigerator is fully stocked so that the teachings and understandings people need to be successful in their Christian walk are available to them.
God had spoken to me from the midst of my own experience and day-to-day routine to understand a spiritual truth.
Likewise, God will use your everyday life experiences to communicate to you. Perhaps you go into a spring cleaning phase. Maybe you are getting into your closets and cleaning them out, getting rid of the old stuff you don't need any more. Maybe you work on this for a few weeks. And then the Lord begins to speak to you about a spiritual house cleaning. He begins to convict you about getting rid of things (attitudes, practices, etc) you have been hanging onto that hold you back in your walk with Him. He uses a natural day-to-day life experience to launch into spiritual issues.
Or perhaps you have an unappreciative teenager. You make time and are faithful to them, supporting them even when they ignore you or let you down. You make yourself be available for them, but they don't seem to want you there. The more you reach out to them, the more your child seems to take you for granted. It hurts, yet you do not love your son or daughter any less. And perhaps in the midst of this difficult and ongoing situation God gives you a revelation of His faithfulness. You realize He is also faithful to those who take Him for granted and who won't receive the help He tries to give them. You have an understanding of the pain it must cause God's heart, and yet of His ability to keep on loving them. God has spoken to you in your life experiences, enabling you to understand one aspect of His nature better.
Some friends of mine recently had this type of experience. Their teenage son just had his 18nth birthday. They both took the evening off work, cleared their schedules to make it a special day for their teen. Their son's favorite food was buffalo wings, so they went to the store and got some buffalo wings for him. The mother baked him a birthday cake. But when he got home he just wanted to be left alone. He refused to even spend 15 minutes with his folks or eat any of the buffalo wings or cake. There was a marathon of his favorite type of movies on TV, and all he wanted to do was go to his room and watch them. When his parents tried to explain how they'd gone out of their way to make his birthday special, he ignored them. He said, "It's my birthday, so I should be allowed to spend it however I want to. I want to be left alone to watch my movies!" It hurt them so deeply. They had gone way out of their way to make their son's birthday special, and he wanted nothing to do with them. Their dad said to me, "Now I know how God must have felt all those times He invited me to spend intimate time with Him, but I was too busy doing my own thing!"
Jesus frequently taught from everyday experiences. Many of His stories with truths were stories from people's everyday lives. For instance, He talked about the father who had two sons in Matt 21:28-31, One son said he'd do what the father asked, but did not do it, The other son said "no" to his father, but then changed his mind and obeyed him. Just about everyone listening to Jesus could identify with this example because they'd experienced it in their own families at some point. It was out of that everyday life type of experience that He was able to explain His heavenly father's perspective on obeying and honoring God.
God loves to speak to us from our everyday life. He wants to be a part of every aspect of our lives, not just the "big stuff." He delights in being invited into our daily routine and He enjoys speaking to us or revealing things to us as we go about our day.