Christ, our Passover lamb, has been sacrificed. Therefore let us keep the Festival, not with the old bread leavened with malice and wickedness, but with the unleavened bread of sincerity and truth.
1 Corinthians 5:7-8, NIV
How fitting that this year, Passover begins at sundown on Good Friday. The biblical feast that celebrates our deliverance from bondage in Egypt is forever entwined with the death and resurrection of Christ, our sacrificial lamb! Hallelujah!
I am so glad that God brought us together as one family, bound by the love of our Savior and elder brother, Jesus Christ. There is no greater family and no better blessing!
Whether you are celebrating a Seder or an Easter dinner this week, I pray that you will focus on the wonderful truth of who Jesus is. Because Christ became the Passover Lamb, He has brought us deliverance from every curse and every affliction known to man. We may not see the full manifestation of our deliverance yet, but we are being changed daily into His image each time we encounter the Risen Christ!
I am praying for every reader of our His Inscriptions community, that you will be full of joy and aware of Christ's abiding presence in your heart this week. You are loved by Jesus and by me!
P.S. - Want to meditate more deeply on the significance of Christ's sacrifice? Read Charles Spurgeon's powerful sermon, "Christ our Passover," here.
© Deborah Perkins / www.HisInscriptions.com
There are some Bible stories that are so powerful, they have the ability to change your entire perception of who God is and how He feels about you. For me, one such story is found in Luke 24.
In the midst of great grief, turmoil, and confusion, two disciples encountered the Wonderful Counselor and were forever changed. In places of pain and confusion myself, I reread this story and see such beauty in it. Take a walk with me along the Emmaus Road to see how brokenness is turned to beauty.
As I spontaneously worshiped the Lord this morning I noticed that every song that came to mind seemed to center on the Name of Jesus. I simply couldn't stop singing about His Name! It was as if the Holy Spirit were gently reminding me: It's the Name that frees you. It's the Name that delivers you. It's the Name that heals you. It's the Name that sustains you. Every time you call on My Name, I answer!
“Very early in the morning, while it was still dark, Jesus got up, left the house and went off to a solitary place, where he prayed. ~Mark 1:35
In a world where there are so many different kinds of prayer and meditation, what is the right way to pray? Should we pray the Lord’s Prayer? Do we pray alone, or with a priest? Do we need rosary beads, or a tallit? Can we pray effectively at home, or does prayer work better in church?
What does the Bible really say about prayer? And how can we be sure that our prayers will be answered? Read Deborah's newest post, published by LivingBetter50 magazine, right here.
"Sharing or exchanging intimate thoughts and feelings, especially on a mental or spiritual level."
The above dictionary definition could easily describe the life of prayer. After all, prayer is the place where we develop "Life-Giving Communication with God" (our His Inscriptions mission), sharing our thoughts and listening to God's heart.
Actually, the definition above is not for prayer, but for communion! Far from just a sacred sacrament, communion is one of the most powerful ways to connect with God in prayer.
I often take communion as part of my personal prayer time. It is a way of remembering the Lord's sacrificial death and renewing my commitment to the New Covenant. As I meditated on His death once again this week, the Holy Spirit highlighted these words: "The Lord Jesus, on the same night He was betrayed, took bread..."
At the beginning of September, Jewish New Year 5779, I heard the Lord give a warning. The enemy, it seems, is bent more than ever on undermining believers in this hour. (One glance at the Kavanaugh hearings is enough to convince me of that!) This is the year, the Lord emphasized, to go deep in Him. To hold on to the Word of Truth as never before, to guard against deception, to seek Him for greater revelation. We will need it!
There are two great choices every Christian must make. The first is a choice to be free; the second is a choice to surrender that freedom.
I am eager to share a very powerful vision with you today, one that isn’t mine, but comes from a father in the faith during the "Latter Rain" movement who has now gone home to Jesus. Before I do, let me retell a story.
Some of you might remember the 1998 movie entitled “The Horse Whisperer.” In it, a very young Scarlett Johansson (think: Avengers star and now the world’s highest-paid actress) plays the role of Grace, a horse-loving 12-year-old. A traumatic winter accident injures Grace and her horse, and kills her childhood girlfriend. After this, Grace and “Pilgrim” (her horse) seem broken beyond repair.
Enter the Horse Whisperer. (Played by Robert Redford).
God has issued a Divine Invitation!
It’s not just an invitation to salvation, although believers begin there.
It’s not just an invitation to experience healing or deliverance, although those are benefits of belonging to the Kingdom.
It’s an invitation to come up higher spiritually, to experience the supernatural dimensions of the Kingdom of God.
Why would we need this? Francis Frangipane says it best: “A Christian is not just a person going to heaven. Shouldn’t a Christian also be a person coming from heaven, with the goods, power and virtues of heaven?”
Christianity isn’t meant to be a just a security blanket, providing comfort when we contemplate death. It’s meant to be a dynamic relationship involving supernatural power here and now. The beloved disciple, John, understood this and gives us a glimpse into God’s multi-faceted invitation.
If you spent any time in Sunday School as a child, you know that God is love. You know the Christmas story and the Easter story, and you know that Jesus died for you. But when the harsh realities of life kick in, sometimes these stories can seem like fairy tales.
When you feel disconnected from the Lord, or you feel like God doesn’t love you, what will help restore your trust in His goodness? What do you really need to know about Jesus that will keep you “on track” spiritually?
Here are "5 Essential Things" you to know about Jesus, things that will get you through the tougher times in life. They are not EVERYTHING there is to know about Jesus, they're just some essential things I believe will help you hang on when the going gets tough.
If you’ve been a Christian for even a short time, you’ve already realized that despite God’s promises of both eternal and internal peace, you’re constantly confronted with the enemy’s plans for chaos and suffering!
As soon as you begin to get serious about prayer, the enemy gets equally serious about keeping you out of your “secret place” in a bid to rob you of your peace. He knows, as you do, that prayer is the difference between a defeated warrior and a powerful victor. This is one compelling reason why we pray: because we have a supernatural enemy.
On 2-9-18, I had a prophetic vision of a stairway connecting earth to heaven. In the vision, I encountered the Lord, who gave me wisdom concerning what this staircase represents for every believer. Keep reading to discover a unique way of understanding your quiet times, and what happens within them!
This week's blog also contains a link to an in-depth interview I did on Pray.Network, with Phil Miglioratti. Click here to listen in as Phil and I talk about Life-Giving Prayer in greater detail.
One of the secrets about communion is that you don't need to be in church to partake of it! As I've taken communion more frequently in my own personal devotional times, I have discovered that it is a powerful way of knowing Jesus better. Today's post is a YouTube recording of a sermon I preached in a local church on "Knowing Jesus through Holy Communion." I pray it will bless you and open your spiritual eyes so that you, too, know Him better.
“The fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace…” Galatians 5:22, NJKV
Jesus came to earth looking for a Bride. He is as interested today in a pure, spotless Bride as He was when He walked the earth. As any marriage counselor will tell you, the preparation of a bride’s heart is far more important to the marriage relationship than her preparations for an elaborate wedding ceremony.
Spiritually, our wedding with Christ has yet to take place. (See Revelation 21.) The central question for us during this time of “engagement” is: Are we busier with our religious activities than with preparing our hearts for Him? Are we focusing on religious ceremonies, but neglecting the Kingdom of God within us? Are we living a life of peace and joy, rooted in intimacy with the Bridegroom?
My father used to have a “personal proverb” he lived by, a saying I heard him repeat many times when I was young. He said: “Keep your expectations low. Don’t trust anybody, and you’ll never be disappointed.”
To my little ears, this seemed like a pretty good formula for success; after all, who has not been betrayed or disappointed at some point in their life? His proverb, while it reeked of self-protection, seemed a sure guarantee for a pain-free life.
God speaks in the most unusual and unexpected ways! Sometimes we dream, and a person in our dream imparts wisdom to us. We don’t realize until we wake that it was Jesus, and we wish we had known it was Him at the time!
Sometimes, He shows up in human form, in a conversation that leaves a mark on our minds and causes us to realize something deeper or receive something we need.
And sometimes, He speaks from the mouths of babes…
Studies show that only 1 in 5 Americans reads their Bible on a regular basis, even though 88% own a Bible.* If you're like most people, you want to connect with God - and even have what you need to do so - but life gets in the way. Distractions, necessities, and even emergencies pull you away from your scheduled time with God, and by the end of the day you feel frazzled, empty, and guilty. There's got to be a better way!
That's why His Inscriptions exists.
The crucifixion of Christ is a reminder that all of us have to deal with times of death in our lives. We may have to face the death of a loved one, or the death of a dream, or the death of a hope we hold dear. At some point, we all come to our tombs, as Mary did in the resurrection story, and we have to confront the harsh realities of our mortality.
'Tis the season for "peace on earth, goodwill toward men." A green wreath graces my front door, and the sweet smell of cookies fills my home, even this early in December. My kids have located the station that plays continuous Christmas music, so there are carols streaming from our radio in the background. I love the warmth and joy the holiday season brings. It feels peaceful and comforting, like a favorite blanket.
I have been a missionary both at home and abroad. I have traveled to dangerous inner-city ghettos and dusty, dirty African compounds. I have sung songs with poor children in the streets of Mexico and built houses for the homeless in the streets of New Haven. In all my travels, I found that there was only one thing I needed.
I was talking with a friend the other day about prayer, and she shared a great idea, one that got me thinking about harnessing technology for Christ. Faced with a negative diagnosis from a doctor, she decided to take time each day to pray for healing. Because she is on the go most of the time, she decided set an alert on her phone that would remind her to pray daily and confess some healing scriptures over her physical body. Once she prays, she turns off the alert until the next day. She plans to do this until she is healed.
What a great use of her phone, I thought. She is making technology work for her, not against her. In a time where we are never out of reach of our phones and tech, I wondered, how else can we harness the power of technology to work for us, not against us?
One of the main goals of technology is to increase productivity. A worthy goal, to be sure. A secondary goal - one that is often marketed to consumers - is to make our lives easier.
The great irony of technology, however, is that what promises to simplify life or bring us peace can actually end up making us feel overwhelmed. Many of the apps I download to my phone require more maintenance than I care to give! Constant global connectivity, while beneficial in many ways, also takes a toll on us as finite human beings, one that we are not as quick to notice because we are so caught up in it. For the believer, "constant connection" to anything other than Christ is not a good goal.
For example, my husband had trouble connecting to the internet this week on his phone. It had worked before, but he just couldn't connect now. A quick trip to the Sprint store revealed that his profile and several other settings had not updated properly. Ten minutes with a manager fixed the problem. Suddenly, his once-quiet phone began dinging, ringing, and making a ridiculous amount of noise - which after several hours I asked him to please turn off!
Biblical productivity is tied to one thing alone, and that is abiding in Christ. Jesus says: "He who abides in Me, and I in him, bears much fruit; for without Me you can do nothing." (John 15:5, emphasis mine). I may carry the latest and greatest technology in my pocket, but if I am not connecting to Jesus, I am not going to produce at maximum output. Anything that keeps me from abiding in Him is bound to be counter-productive.
The Way of Peace
"The world's energy," says a pastor friend of mine, "is directed at moving us out of our place of stillness and rest in God." I believe we can take this a step farther and say that the noise of the world regularly stirs our souls to a near state of emergency which we are not designed to maintain. I want to be stirred up in faith, not in fear or crisis. (See 2 Timothy 1:6).
The nightly news tends to stir up anxiety and stress about things over which I have no control. It is not wrong to be informed, but when that information is stealing your joy and peace, it's time to limit what you are watching.
One of Jesus' commands to us in John 14 is "Let not your heart be troubled or afraid." (John 14:2). As technology advances, how can we preserve the peace Christ has promised us? As the noise of our lives increases, how can we stay in the place of stillness?
Years ago, the Lord impressed on me the importance of observing a weekly Sabbath - a rest from life's busyness. The day is not important - it can be a Saturday or a Thursday - but what is important is that I pull away from the things that tend to distract me or add to my stress, and draw closer to a place of rest and peace in Him.
I have noticed, over time, that three things in particular that steal my peace: my work, which piles up quickly; people's demands for my time and energy; and technology, especially my phone and computer. I am learning to disconnect from these three things more intentionally in order to connect with and abide in Christ.
Christ came to give us peace. There is a wonderful scripture in the gospel of Luke that prophesies Christ as the One who will "guide our feet into the way of peace." (See Luke 1:19). In fact, in the Kingdom of God, there is to be "no end" to the increase of Christ's government and His peace. I want to be acquainted enough with the way of peace that I can also lead others to find it.
Practical Plans for Peace
Like my friend with her prayer alerts, I need to find practical ways to keep peace in my daily life. Here are some things that have worked for me:
- Turn off non-essential notifications on your phone. It's amazing how much peace I have gained by taking this one practical step! Choose one or two set times each day to check and respond to your emails, and turn off all the noisy notifications. This is a classic time management skill, but it also minimizes the amount of stress that accumulates throughout your day. The only notifications I "urgently" need are texts from my family. Everything else can wait.
-Set positive, intentional phone alerts (like my friend) to remind yourself to pray, worship, or get into the Presence of God. Make a quality decision to start your day abiding in Christ. He is the source of our greatest productivity!
-Turn off the TV. Instead of listening to another negative newscast, enjoy dinner with your family and talk about your day. Our family has one day a week we call "family day." If we don't have plans to go out, we typically rent a movie we all would enjoy - commercial free - and share a meal and dessert together. By being deliberate about what we are watching, we avoid the "information overload" that is typical when families spend too much time in front of the tube. Most nights, you'll find us reading, talking, or -*gasp!*- even praying; activities that allow time to process what we are learning.
-Set aside a day of rest for yourself. Ideally, make it a tech-free day. Use the time to study, read, worship, nap, or pursue a hobby that you otherwise would not have time for. If, like me, you have a hard time sitting in the house when there's work to be done, get outside into nature and slow down to a more sustainable pace, or find a quiet place to do a mini-retreat.
-In social settings, put away your phone or tablet. If we want to win souls for Christ, we need to take the time to actually connect with them, without interruptions. Constantly checking your device during a conversation increases your stress and makes the other person feel devalued. I sincerely doubt that any Secretary of State would whip out his cell phone in the midst of a Middle-East peace negotiation! We, likewise, are ambassadors for Christ, negotiating peace daily with the people around us. If we can't even make sustained eye contact, we don't stand a chance as evangelists.
-What ideas do YOU have for taking back technology for Christ? I'd love to hear what works for you. If you're reading this and have a good idea, send it to me here. I may publish these ideas in a later post so we can all benefit from what you've learned.
One Final Question...
John Wesley, the famed co-founder of the Methodist church, belonged to a group called the "Holy Club." He and the others asked themselves 22 questions as part of their daily devotions. One of them was: "Am I a slave to dress, friends, work, or habits?" When technology is enslaving us, it is time to take back control. Let Christ be the source of your productivity, the center of your peace. He is the only unbroken connection you'll ever really need.
c. Deborah Perkins / His Inscriptions. All Biblical references NKJV unless noted.
You have just been issued a summons. You must appear in court immediately, and not as a juror. You have been called by the prosecution to take the stand as a defendant in a case with a high dollar value. If you lose, your sentence could include a lifetime in prison. What’s worse: you have been wrongly accused.
If it sounds like I am being dramatic, rest assured, I am not. The first paragraph is entirely true. As a Christian, you are – this very moment – being called by the devil (the prosecution) to take a defensive stand against his false accusations. He is, unfortunately, a very good lawyer, having practiced his craft since time began. Nevertheless, you have an excellent lawyer as well: your advocate, Jesus.
Now, I know you’re on the right side of the law, and you know you’re on the right side, but the prosecution wants to prove otherwise. If he succeeds, he gains access to your money, your mental and physical health, your family, or even your life. His goal is to lock you up for a lifetime.
Having a good lawyer will help, of course, but in this heavenly courtroom what matters most is your testimony. You are about to be tested on the facts, and whether your actions are legal. If you don’t know your rights as a citizen of heaven, or if the enemy can find a weakness in your argument, you lose.
As in any trial, you must have two weapons. The first is an excellent lawyer who is familiar with your case. If you’re a Christian, you already have a good relationship with the best attorney there is in spiritual matters: Jesus Christ. In Him you are on the right side of the law, no matter what you have done. He has also never lost a case. As long as you choose Him as your Advocate, you stand a pretty good chance of winning.
The second weapon is a detailed knowledge of the law, which in this case represents your covenant with God. This is where the prosecution often gains the upper hand, since you do not know the law as well as he does, nor are you used to defending yourself against such deceptive, unfair arguments. You will find that the prosecution has accessed information about your life that you did not wish to be made public. You will be horrified to hear that he can call to the witness stand, one by one, people who willingly testify against you, dragging past sins to the surface and making you look like a heartless criminal.
In the final analysis, it will be very important that what you do and say lines up with the law. Satan’s legal strategy from the beginning has been to cast doubt on our words: “Did God really say…?” (Genesis 3:1-3). Your best defense is going to be to stick to the words your attorney, Jesus, gives you to say, and avoid adding too much of your own.
“Isn’t that deceptive,” you might ask? After all, I really am guilty of a lot of things, and I don’t always do what I should. What that witness said about me was true: I really didn’t like the guy, and I treated him badly because I couldn’t forgive him. I deserve punishment.”
The question is, do you? You might have opened the door to some legal “loopholes” the prosecution is now using against you, but the real test is whether you believe and can prove that you are innocent. In a happier moment, it’s easy to believe your mistakes are covered by the blood of Jesus, which ratifies your covenant with God. But when the opposition mounts, can you still stand on that testimony? Do you know which clauses in your contract validate what you have experienced spiritually?
Those who do cite them and win their cases. Those who don’t have a harder time. Fortunately, Jesus knows what it’s like to be a defendant on the courtroom stand. He was challenged twice: in the wilderness (Luke 4) and before His death (Luke 22-23:47). Both times He adhered to God's covenant and responded only with the Words of God. Both times, He won.
Jesus knows what it’s like to be tried as a criminal on the wrong side of the law. Jesus didn’t allow his feelings to contaminate His testimony. Instead, He studied His covenant with God until He knew the law inside and out. He lived a legal, righteous life even when falsely accused. He accepted a death sentence from the enemy only because He knew that God would ultimately give him the keys to get out of that prison. He spoke only the words of the covenant and He fulfilled the law perfectly in His life on earth.
We believers are summoned daily to take the stand- not as those who have lived a perfect life, as Jesus did, but as those who are protected by His knowledge of and adherence to the law. Every time we are summoned, we should arrive at the courtroom with contract in hand. Everything we say in our defense should be based on what Jesus, our attorney, outlines for us. We should stick to our testimony of His goodness like glue. Anything else we say can and will be used against us!
The more certain you are of your innocence in Christ and your rights as a believer, the more likely you are to live a blessed life.
Prayer: Jesus, You are the most successful attorney I could ever have. I am so grateful that You know how to defend me against the trials and accusations the enemy is using against me. I have been falsely accused, Lord! Give me the time I need to sit down with you and review our covenant until I know it inside and out. Convince me of the blessings and freedom You have already won for me, so that my testimony holds up under every cross-examination. I praise You for your victories! I thank you that You have the keys to unlock every jail cell the enemy throws me into! We win!
"And if any man sin, we have an advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous.
And He is the propitiation for our sins; and not for ours only,
but also for the sins of the whole world.
1 John 2:1-2, KJV
Last week I was given a precious gift by a friend in Tennessee, a reader of this blog and one of my strongest supporters. She gave me the gift of time spent with a dear friend relaxing, worshiping, and working together on some projects. What she didn't realize she'd given me was equally important: the gift of perspective.
As a wife and mother, I don't travel nearly as much as I used to. Unlike my husband, I actually love the adventure of travel: visiting new places, interacting with different cultures, and experiencing the "flavors" of life lived in other places! So from the moment my plane began soaring above the clouds, my heart was rejuvenated as well. Here's what I discovered.
Tennessee, as a "Bible Belt" state, is still proclaiming the Word of God. Everywhere we went, from an inner-city high school graduation, to Walmart, to the Christian-owned Hobby Lobby store, what I noticed was the Word of God, expressed in amazing creativity.
The Word is literally "in your face" wherever you turn. Plaques and trendy chalkboard artwork with Bible verses line the shelves of even mainstream stores. A local family whose home I visited makes no effort to hide their faith; it is evident the moment you walk in the door. During a high school ceremony, I heard both ranking Tennessee politicians and local teachers and students pray and cite the Word as they spoke to the graduating class. The choral selection? A rendition of Numbers 6:24, which in case you haven't read lately, is the Aaronic blessing over Israel:
The Lord bless you and keep you;
It was beautiful. After several days of experiencing these constant public proclamations of the Word, I was feeling incredibly encouraged. How refreshing! It reminded me of Moses' instructions in Deuteronomy:
These words which I command you today shall be in your heart.
Comparing Tennessee to my home state, where a simple prayer by a student is outlawed and transgender bathrooms might soon become the norm, I almost didn't want to return home! New England suddenly seemed very dark to me. I had gained some perspective.
A Religious Spirit?
I did, of course, return home to my wonderful family, and know that I am called to New England for ministry purposes. As I shared my news of the trip with a fellow New Englander, however, their reaction was to say: "Oh, all that public display of Christ down South is just a religious spirit. It doesn't mean anything."
Well, apart from knocking the wind out of my sails and quickly deflating any joy I had experienced, this person missed a fundamental truth that Paul brings out in Philippians. Paul writes: "What does it matter? Just this, that Christ is proclaimed in every way, whether out of false motives or true; and in that I rejoice." (Philippians 1:18; see also previous verses).
It is true that some proclaim Christ insincerely or from selfish ambition, while others proclaim Him out of love. It is not our job to decide who is sincere and who is not. Our job, according to Jesus in Matthew 28, is to simply make Him known, and to keep the Word prominent in our lives. The perspective I gained in the South encouraged me to proclaim Him even more loudly in the North.
A Southerner can just as easily say that New England is bound by an intellectual spirit which darkens the light of Christ in us. Rarely do I enter a New England home to find "PDA's" (Public Displays of Affection) for Christ! We are more likely to boast about our impressive array of educational institutions or big-city job opportunities than about our Christianity.
I became motivated to turn up the "dimmer switch" on my faith. Dial it up. Light up the room. Make a greater effort to inspire instead of retire. We sorely need more light here, lest the long, wintry days and spiritual darkness overwhelm us. As a local pastor often quips, "When you love something, it shows!"
The apostle Paul was also confined for a time, far from the sunny green pastures of Tennessee! Yet the letters written from his jail cell impacted more people than he ever dreamed of reaching in his freedom. The darkness of his situation did not hinder him from proclaiming Christ. His limitations became the source of his greatest ministry.
It may be easier to be a Christian down South, where everyone agrees with you. It's certainly sunnier and warmer, and maybe that's why many New Englanders can't wait to go South! The truth is, though, that the light of God already in you is warm enough and sunny enough to radiate a significant amount of heat, no matter where you live. I'm choosing to pursue an assignment to bring His light into what seems like a much darker place at the moment. What will you do?
Instead of being envious of others' situations, ask God to give you perspective on your situation. Are you hiding the light that is in you, for fear of offending someone? Has being "politically correct" become more of the norm for you than being "biblically correct?" Ask God to show you what you can do to put your love for Him on display! Will you be mocked or misinterpreted as "religious?" Maybe. But the wonderful thing is that you might just encourage somebody. I'll be praying for you, that your future shines more brightly than your past.
c. Deborah Perkins, 2015
Sometimes we go through a series of "unfortunate events," as Harry Potter fans would call them, which seem to suck the wind right out of our sails and leave us almost dead in the water. Our beautiful day of smooth sailing suddenly darkens, and we notice ominous storm clouds all around us. The reality of our situation hits us hard: here we are - fools! - in the middle of the sea, without any land in sight, and completely at the mercy of the storm. What were we thinking? How on earth are we going to get out of this?
Sound - the very idea of it - has always fascinated me. I grew up not knowing there were certain sounds, like the sound of birds, or machines, or the tick-tock of a clock. I heard only in part, because of deafness. Childhood nerve damage to my ears left me hearing only the loudest of noises, or those closest in proximity to me. I did not know that some sounds even existed until, in fourth grade, I was given hearing aids.
The shock of sound alarmed me beyond belief. The moment an audiologist turned up the volume for me, I screamed. Suddenly, there was sound, and a lot of it! An air conditioner outside the window, humming noisily, made me jump out of the chair I was sitting in. I remember thinking it was the hum of an aircraft invasion! Refrigerators make noise - did you know that? And birds, mice, all of God's creation has something to say - if you can hear it.
Heaven is like this, too. Not to alarm us, of course, but heaven is a noisy place! John gives us amazing descriptions of the sounds of heaven in Revelation. As one deeply intimate with the Lord, John was given access to sights and sounds that most humans will never see or hear. And it all started with sound.
Look at the first Pentecost. The disciples (including John) were gathered in an upper room, waiting for a promised encounter with God. Acts 2 says that "Suddenly, there came a SOUND from heaven, as of a rushing mighty wind, and it filled the whole house where they were sitting." (Acts 2:2). I am certain that the noise of this whirlwind made at least some of the disciples jump out of their seats, as I did when I could first hear! These believers were filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak "as the Spirit gave them utterance." (Acts 2:4) What a powerful initiation to hearing the sounds of heaven!
Sound Begets Speech
From the moment the Holy Spirit opened the ears of the disciples, He also inspired them to speak the gospel. The Holy Spirit, whose job it is to amplify the sounds of heaven in our ears, filled the first believers with language, not just hearing, so that thousands of others heard about God in their own languages and became believers themselves. The amplification of the sounds of heaven brought the multiplication of men into the Kingdom of God.
And so it still is with us today. If you are listening, you will also be speaking. And speaking - telling others the Good News of the Gospel - is the primary call and commission of every believer. (See Matthew 28:18).
But the reverse is also true: if we are NOT listening, we will not be hearing either. If we do not hear the Words of God, we will not be saved. If believers do not listen daily for the sounds of heaven, those specific and personal instructions He wants to give us, we will not be led by the Spirit. And if we don't know where we are supposed to be or what He wants us to be doing, we will not be living and sharing the testimonies He wants to give us, which will lead others to hear more about Him.
How then shall they believe in Him of whom
What does heaven sound like? John's experience with the incredible sounds and sights of heaven began with the sound of a trumpet: "I was in the Spirit on the Lord's Day, and I heard behind me a loud voice, as of a trumpet, saying: I am the Alpha and the Omega...write what you see in a book and send it to the churches..." (Revelation 1:10-11) This would be the first of over 20 times John would hear loud voices, thunderings, earthquakes, music, loud cries of angels, harps, and worship.
In contrast, only once are we told (in Revelation 8) that "there was silence in heaven for about half an hour." (Revelation 8:1). This coincided with the opening of the seventh seal. (Seven is the number biblically connected with rest and sabbaths).
The noises and voices John hears take him successively higher in the heavenly realm, until at last he is able to see the Bride of Christ and the New Jerusalem, the final destiny of all believers. Yet even in his first glimpse of the throne of God, John writes that "...from the throne proceeded lightnings, thunderings and voices." (Rev 4:5) The seven Spirits of God were burning like lamps before the throne. He also sees living creatures and elders worshiping day and night, speaking of the holiness of God. Their praise never ceases; they do not rest.
What can we gain from this? The knowledge that the closer we get to the throne of God, the more constant our speaking will be. The Spirit of God mysteriously abides both within us and near to the throne. What He hears, He speaks to us. What we hear, we then speak, preach, prophesy, and sing. As we draw as near to God as we can, we will be compelled, as these elders are, to speak of Him constantly, to worship Him 24/7, and to yield to the inspiration of the Spirit within us.
Jesus cried aloud when He gave up His Spirit and when He summoned Lazarus from the tomb. Angels cry loudly and trumpet the proclamations of God. Man cries out in his prayers of distress or decree. All are normal responses to the pneuma, or the breath, of the Spirit of God in us. Hearing from God compels us to speak. Sharing what we hear will cause others to hear Him also.
Hearing and speech are intricately linked in both the natural and spiritual realms. Don't let a deaf and dumb spirit silence you. Listen for the loud sounds of heaven, and then speak in such a way that you'll compel others to hear heaven, too.
You who make mention of the Lord, do not keep silent,
and give Him no rest till He establishes and till He makes
Jerusalem a praise in the earth.
~ Isaiah 62:7
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A severe hearing loss from childhood caused Deborah Perkins to develop what she now calls her secret weapon: tuning in to God's voice. A Wellesley College graduate and an award-winning writer, Deborah is now a wife and mother of 3 boys. Deborah has devoted over 25 years to professional and lay Christian ministry in New England and beyond. Her passion is inspiring people to cultivate greater intimacy with God.