Last weekend I preached at a church in Colorado Springs and the individual who introduced me said he was curious how Oceans Ministries came to be located in Colorado? I had to laugh and welcomed the opportunity to share how several years ago while pastoring in California and praying at the Pacific Ocean the Spirit impressed on my heart Habakkuk 2:14:
For the earth will be filled with the knowledge of the glory of the LORD, as the waters cover the sea.
I often page back to the journal entry where I wrote, “one day I would be apart of a ministry called Oceans that would share the love of the Father all over the world.”
What exactly all that meant at the time-I really had no idea. But the ocean was not the only place I heard the still small voice of the Lord. The mountains were also a part of this journey as I spent time praying at a retreat center located nearby the very church I was at. There in the majesty of the mountains, I heard the Father’s voice prompting me that the time had come to start Oceans Ministries. This decision radically changed the course of life for each member of my family and although not an easy decision- I wholeheartedly believe that this was God’s will. But how did I really know it was HIS voice and HIS will?
These six key words assisted me and I hope they will also help you discern God’s will for your life.
- Presence-Take time to immerse yourself in God’s presence. Get away from the busyness of life and gaze upon the glory of the LORD. When I went to the retreat center in Colorado Springs it was just to be with Him. He was my agenda and I had no idea what was coming from that encounter.
- Partnering with the Spirit and the Word–Listen to these wise words from George Mueller: “I seek the will of the Spirit of God through, or in connection with, the Word of God. The Spirit and the Word must be combined. I if look to the Spirit alone without the Word I lay myself open to great delusions also. If the Holy Ghost guides us at all, He will do it according to the Scriptures and never contrary to them,” (George Mueller, Man of Faith, p. 46). That weekend in the Colorado Springs God continued to bring me to various Scriptures like Habakkuk 2:14.
- Providential Circumstances–There were many circumstances going on at the time that God was using, but one that stood out was a song from Hillsong called Oceans. I listened to it numerous times during the retreat and found myself in tears-as I felt Abba Father saying step out on the water in faith.
- Prayer-For 3 days I prayed while hiking. I prayed in my room. I prayed in the retreat gardens. In each prayer I pleaded with God to show me His will.
- People-While at the retreat I met with a Spiritual Director. God used her in an amazing way to help me discern the promptings I felt deep within my soul. My wife Patty also has a discerning spirit and I knew that if this were of God she would affirm it. I will never forget her response when I shared with her my impressions she simply said, “What are you waiting for?”
- Peace–Hear the words of George Mueller: “Thus through prayer to God, the study of the Word, and reflection, I come to a deliberate judgment according to the best of my ability and knowledge, and if my mind is thus at peace, and continues so after two or three more petitions I proceed accordingly. (p. 47). Peace is a powerful indicator that you are walking into the will of God as Mueller states. I remember getting on the plane back to CA flooded with peace believing I was stepping into His will.
Each and every day we face situations where we need to discern God’s will for our lives. I pray that these 6 points will be helpful for you as they have been for me when we seek to discern the voice of The Father.